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tion from Shuguang Zhang and Jian Chen, eds., Chinese Communist Foreign Policy and the Cold War in Asia, 142.]

Document 26: Telegram, Mao Zedong

to Liu Shaoqi, 12 February 1950

Comrade [Liu] Shaoqi:

Here is an internal party telegram I have just drafted. Please give it some consideration as soon as you receive it and dispatch it quickly[:)

] All central bureaus, bureau branches, and front-line committee:

A new Sino-Soviet treaty and a series of agreements will be signed and published in days. Then, when different regions hold mass rallies, conduct discussions, and offer opinions, it is essential to adhere to the position adopted by the Xinhua News Agency's editorial. No inappropriate opinions should be allowed.

(Source: JGYLMZDWG, 1:260-1; translation from Shuguang Zhang and Jian Chen, eds., Chinese Communist Foreign Policy and the Cold War in Asia, 142-3.)

cil—the Soviet Union, the United States, Great to the Nosaka affair (see above, Mao Zedong tele-
Britain, France, Ecuador, India, Cuba, Egypt, and gram to Hu Qiaomu, 14 January 1950, and corre-
Norway: The Central People's Government of the sponding footnote).
People's Republic of China is of the opinion that

14

This draft was worked out by Zhou Enlai unit is illegal for the representatives of the remnants der Mao's direction. of the reactionary gang of the Chinese National

15

Ho Chi Minh, after walking for seventeen ist Party to remain in the Security Council. It days, arrived on the Chinese-Vietnamese border therefore holds that these representatives must be in late January 1950, and then he was taken to expelled from the Security Council immediately. Beijing to meeting Liu Shaoqi and other CCP I am specially calling your attention to this mat- leaders. He made it clear that his purpose to visit ter by this telegram, and I hope that you will act China was to pursue substantial Chinese military accordingly.”

and other assistance to the Vietminh's struggles 6

In this telegram, Liu Bocheng and Deng against the French. He also expressed the desire Xiaoping reported that they planned to dispatch to visit the Soviet Union. By the arrangement of the 18th Army to Tibet by the summer and fall of the CCP, Ho Chi Minh then travelled to the So1950.

viet Union and met Stalin and Mao and Zhou 7

On 24 January 1950, the CCP Central Com- there. He would come back to China together with mittee formally issued the order to dispatch the Mao and Zhou and to continue discussions with 18th Army to enter Tibet.

Chinese leaders. These discussions resulted in 8 On 6 January 1950, Beijing Municipal Mili- Beijing's (but not Stalin's) commitment to suptary Control Commission ordered the requisition port Ho. For a more detailed discussion, see Chen of former military barracks of the American dip- Jian, “China and the First Indo-China War, 1950lomatic compound in Beijing, which had long 1954," The China Quarterly 132 (March 1993), been transformed into regular offices. Mao 85-110. Zedong is here referring to this matter.

16

This refers to Su Yu's plan to attack the GMD9 On 6 January 1950, the Cominform Bulletin controlled Zhoushan islands. published an article criticizing Nosaka Sanzo, a

17

The phrases to which Mao refers here are as member of the Japanese Communist Party's Po- follows: "The Government of the Soviet Union litburo, for his alleged “mistake” of putting too agrees to satisfy the request of the Central much emphasis on the peaceful path to power in People's Government of the People's Republic Japan and his "wrong understandings” of the ex- of China for a loan that is to be used in payment istence of U.S. influence in Japan. Although for the machines, facilities, and other material that Nosaka had long been known as a faithful sup- the Soviet Union has agreed to provide China." port of the CCP (he spent the war years in Yanan

18

This editorial, entitled “The New Era of Sinoand attended the CCP's Seventh Congress), the Soviet Friendship and Cooperation,” was pubCCP leadership still decided to maintain as iden- lished by the Xinhua News Agency on 14 Februtical stand with the Cominform in criticizing Nosaka. For a more detailed description of the "Nosaka affair," see John Gittings, The World and FUTURE BULLETIN ISSUES China, 1922-1972 (New York: Harper and Row, 1974), 160-162.

Future issues of the CWIHP Bulletin are 10

On 19 January 1950, Renmin ribao (People's already being compiled, and you are invited Daily, the CCP Central Committee's official

to contribute! Among the themes currently mouthpiece), published a statement by the Chi

projected for upcoming issues are: New

Evidence on the End of the Cold War (in nese government which formally recognized the

both East-Central Europe and the USSR); Democratic Republic of Vietnam, announcing that

New Evidence on the Indochina/Vietnam the PRC would be willing to establish diplomatic Wars; New Evidence the Cold War in the relations with DRV.

Balkans; Stalin and the Cold War; and the 11 The Soviet Union and other East European Intelligence Services and the Cold War. countries quickly established diplomatic relations On these and other topics relevant to with the DRV.

Cold War history, the Bulletin welcomes 12 As a response to Acheson's speech made at

submission of important new East-bloc evi

dence (particularly archival documents), as the National Press Club on 12 January 1950, this

well as reports on research conditions in article particularly criticized Acheson's comments

former (or present) communist countries and on Sino-American relations. For the text of the

on research projects and activites.
article, see Renmin ribao, 21 January 1950.
13

This article was the CCP leadership's response

ary 1950.

1

After leaving Beijing by train on 6 December 1949, Mao Zedong arrived in Moscow on 16 December and stayed in the Soviet Union until 17 February 1950. Liu Shaoqi was put in charge during Mao's absence. When Mao was in Moscow, he maintained daily telegraphic communications with his colleagues in Beijing, and all important affairs were reported to and decided by him. 2

After the Burmese government had cut off all formal relations with the GMD government in Taiwan, the PRC and Burma established diplomatic relations on 8 June 1950. 3 During the first two to three weeks of Mao Zedong's visit in Moscow, little progress had been achieved in working out a new Sino-Soviet treaty that would replace the 1945 Sino-Soviet treaty. This telegram recorded the first major breakthrough during Mao's visit to the Soviet Union. 4 China's minister of trade at that time was Ye Jizhuang 5 The full text of Zhou Enlai's telegram to the United Nations, which was dispatched on 8 January 1950, was as follows: "Lake Success, to Mr. Carlos Romulo, President of the United Nations General Assembly; to Mr. Trygve Li, Secretary General of the United Nations; also to the member states of the United Nations Security Coun

THE DISCREPANCY BETWEEN Kong University. In this article, spe- Stalin and Mao Zedong, requesting diTHE RUSSIAN AND CHINESE cially prepared for the Bulletin, a par- rect Soviet and Chinese military supVERSIONS OF MAO'S ticipant in that conference

, Chinese his- port.2 Stalin immediately kicked the 2 OCTOBER 1950 MESSAGE TO torian Shen Zhihua, presents the results ball to the Chinese. In a telegram to Mao STALIN ON CHINESE ENTRY of his investigation in Beijing concern- Zedong on October 1, Stalin urged the

INTO THE KOREAN WAR: ing the Chinese version of Mao's tele- Chinese to “move at least five to six A CHINESE SCHOLAR'S REPLY gram and addresses Mansourov's ques- divisions toward the 38th parallel at

tion. An earlier version appeared in once,” without mentioning what Mosby SHEN Zhihua

spring 1996 in the Beijing publication cow would do to support the North translated by CHEN Jian* Dangshi yanjiu ziliao (Party History Koreans. At the most crucial moment Research Materials.--C.J.]

of the Korean War, Mao and his com[Translator's Note: The Chinese

rades in Beijing had to decide if they Communist Party leadership made the As I have argued elsewhere, would take on the main responsibility decision to enter the Korean War in China's decision to enter the Korean and burden for rescuing North Korea.

. October 1950. For several years, schol- War was based primarily on crucial na- How did the Chinese leaders rears have relied upon Chinese docu- tional security (as opposed to ideologi- spond to Stalin's and Kim Il-song's rements available since the late 1980s to cal) considerations. After conflict on the quests to dispatch Chinese troops to discuss the process by which Beijing peninsula broke out into large-scale war Korea? Because of the recent emermade that decision. Among these docu- in June 1950, and especially when the gence of two sharply different versions ments, one of the most crucial was a military situation turned from North of Mao Zedong's telegram to Stalin telegram Mao Zedong purportedly sent Korea's favor to disfavor that autumn, dated 2 October 1950, this has become to Stalin on 2 October 1950, in which the attitudes of China and the Soviet an issue under serious debate among the CCP chairman informed the Soviet Union toward the Korean situation ex- Chinese and foreign scholars. leader that Beijing had decided to send perienced profound changes, leading to In 1987, the first volume of a portion of our troops, under the name divergent directions in policy. While the

divergent directions in policy. While the Jianguo yilai Mao Zedong wengao of Volunteers, to Korea, assisting the Soviet Union became increasingly cau- (Mao Zedong's Manuscripts since the Korean comrades to fight the troops of tious about engaging itself in Korea (at Founding of the People's Republic) was the United States and its running dog one point, Moscow even considered published under the neibu category Syngman Rhee."

abandoning the North Korean commu- (meaning "for internally circulation With the opening of Russian ar- nist regime to defeat), China began to only”). It included the main part of what chives in recent years, however, a adopt a strategy of positive defense, a was identified as a telegram by Mao sharply different version of Mao's 2 strategy which would eventually lead

strategy which would eventually lead Zedong to Stalin on 2 October 1950, October 1950 message to Stalin has to its entry into the War. The Chinese reading as follows: emerged, according to which Mao re- leaders' primary concern was how to lated that because dispatching Chinese guarantee stable development for the (1) We have decided to send a portion troops to Korea "may entail extremely People's Republic of China, which had of our troops, under the name of (Chinese serious consequences," many CCP only come into existence the previous People's] Volunteers, to Korea, assisting the leaders believed China should "show fall after an exhausting civil war. How- Korean comrades in fighting the troops of caution" about entering the conflict, ever, if necessary, the Chinese leaders the United States and its running dog and consequently Beijing had tenta- did not fear entering a direct military Syngman Rhee. We regarded the mission tively decided against entering the war. confrontation with the United States, the as necessary. If Korea were completely oc

How did such a sharp discrepancy number one power in the world, under cupied by the Americans and the Korean between the Chinese and Soviet ver- the banner of "resisting America and as- revolutionary forces were substantially desions of this communication occur?sisting Korea, defending our home and stroyed, the American invaders would be Which (if either) is correct? What re- our nation.”

more rampant, and such a situation would ally happened in Beijing and between As it is by now well known, be very unfavorable to the whole East. Beijing and Moscow in October 1950? China's final decision to enter the war (2) We realize that since we have deIn the previous issue of the CWIHP Bul- was reached in the first three weeks of cided to send Chinese troops to Korea to letin (Winter 1995/1996), which first October 1950, after the successful U.S.- fight the Americans, we must first be able published the Russian version of the dis- U.N. landing at Inchon put the North to solve the problem, that is, that we are preputed telegram, Russian scholar Korean regime in danger of imminent pared to annihilate the invaders from the Alexandre Mansourov questioned the collapse. On 28 September 1950, the United States and from other countries, and accuracy and even authenticity of the (North) Korean Labor Party politburo to drive them out (of Korea); second, since Chinese version. Debate continued in decided to solicit direct Soviet and Chi- Chinese troops will fight American troops January 1996 at a conference on "New nese military support. On September 29 in Korea (although we will use the name Evidence on the Cold War in Asia" or- and 30, Kim Il-song and Pak Hon-yong the Chinese Volunteers), we must be preganized by CWIHP and hosted by Hong sent two urgent letters to, respectively, pared for an American declaration of war on China. We must be prepared for the possible bombardments by American air forces of many Chinese cities and industrial bases, and for attacks by American naval forces on China's coastal areas.

(3) Of the two issues, the first one is whether the Chinese troops would be able to defeat American troops in Korea, thus effectively resolving the Korean problem. If our troops could annihilate American troops in Korea, especially the Eighth Army (a competent veteran U.S. army), the whole situation would become favorable to the revolutionary front and China, even though the second question ([the possibility) that the United States would declare war on China) would still remain as a serious issue. In other words, the Korean problem will end in fact with the defeat of American troops (although the war might not end in name, because the United States would not recognize the victory of (North) Korea for a long period). If this occurs, even though the United States had declared war on China, the ongoing confrontation would not be on a large-scale, nor would it last very long. We consider that the most unfavorable situation would be that the Chinese forces fail to destroy American troops in large numbers in Korea, thus resulting in a stalemate, and that, at the same time, the United States openly declares war on China, which would be detrimental to China's economic reconstruction already under way, and would cause dissatisfaction among the national bourgeoisie and some other sectors of the people (who are absolutely afraid of war).

(4) Under the current situation, we have decided, starting on October 15, to move the twelve divisions, which have been earlier transferred to southern Manchuria, into suitable areas in North Korea (not necessarily close to the 38th parallel); these troops will only fight the enemy that venture to attack areas north of the 38th parallel; our troops will employ defensive tactics, while engaging small groups of enemies and learning about the situation in every respect. Meanwhile, our troops will be awaiting the arrival of Soviet weapons and being equipped with those weapons. Only then will our troops, in cooperation with the Korean comrades, launch a counter-offensive to destroy the invading American forces.

(5) According to our information, every U.S. army (two infantry divisions and one mechanized division) is armed with

1500 pieces of artillery of various caliber I received your telegram of 1 October
ranging from 70mm to 240mm, including 1950. We originally planned to move sev-
tank guns and anti-aircraft guns, while each eral volunteer division to North Korea to
of our armies (three divisions) is equipped render assistance to the Korean comrades
with only 36 pieces of artillery. The enemy when the enemy advanced north of the 38th
would control the air while our air force, parallel.
which has just started its training, will not However, having thought this over
be able to enter the war with some 300 thoroughly, we now consider that such ac-
planes until February 1951. Therefore, at tions may entail extremely serious conse-
present, we are not assured that our troops

quences.
will be able to annihilate an entire U. S. army In the first place, it is very difficult to
once and for all. But since we have decided resolve the Korean question with a few di-
to go into the war against the Americans, visions (our troops are extremely poorly
we should be prepared that, when the U.S. equipped, there is no confidence in the suc-
high command musters up one complete cess of military operations against Ameri-
army to fight us in a campaign, we should can troops), the enemy can force us to re-
be able to concentrate our forces four times treat.
greater than those of the enemy (that is, to In the second place, it is most likely
use four of our armies to fight against one that this will provoke an open conflict be-
enemy army) and to marshal firing power tween the USA and China, as a consequence
one and a half to two times stronger than of which the Soviet Union can also be
that of the enemy (that is, to use 2200 to dragged into war, and the question would
3000 pieces of artillery of 70mm caliber and thus become extremely large.
upward to deal with the enemy's 1500 pieces Many comrades in the CC CPC judge
of artilleries of the same caliber), so that we that it is necessary to show caution here.
can guarantee a complete and thorough de- Of course, not to send our troops to
struction of one enemy army.

render assistance is very bad for the Korean (6) In addition to the above-mentioned comrades, who are presently in such diffitwelve divisions, we are transferring another culty, and we ourselves feel this keenly; but twenty-four divisions, as the second and if we advance several divisions and the enthird echelons to assist Korea, from south emy forces us to retreat; and this moreover of the Yangzi River and the Shaanxi-Gansu provokes an open conflict between the USA areas to the Long-hai, Tianjin-Pukou, and and China, then our entire plan for peaceful Beijing-Southern Manchuria railways; we construction will be completely ruined, and expect to gradually employ these divisions many people in the country will be dissatisnext spring and summer in accordance with fied (the wounds inflicted on the people by the situation at the time. 4

the war have not yet healed, we need peace).

Therefore it is better to show patience Although the message was not pub- now, refrain from advancing troops, [and] lished in its entirety,5 the above text has actively prepare our forces, which will be made its importance self-evident. Since more advantageous at the time of war with the late 1980s, Korean War historians the

enemy. have widely cited this telegram as main Korea, while temporarily suffering evidence to support the notion that by defeat, will change the form of the struggle early October 1950, the Chinese lead- to partisan war. We will convene a meeting ership, Mao Zedong in particular, had of the CC, at which will be present the main made the decision to send Chinese comrades of various bureaus of the CC. A troops to Korea 6

final decision has not been taken on this However, the opening of Russian question. This is our preliminary telegram, archives in recent years indicated that we wish to consult with you. If you agree, Mao, via Soviet ambassador to China then we are ready immediately to send by N. V. Roshchin, had sent a message to plane Comrades ZHOU ENLAI and LIN Stalin on 2 October 1950 that drastically BIAO to your vacation place to talk over differs from the above-cited Chinese this matter with you and to report the situaversion. The Russian version reads as tion in China and Korea. follows:

We await your reply.

,7

The obvious contradictions be- is kept there (this author was provided Mao draft one telegram (the Chinese tween these two versions of Mao access to it). The telegram was in Mao's version) but deliver another message Zedong's 2 October 1950 telegram to own handwriting and was longer than (the Russian version) to Stalin via the Stalin have inevitably raised serious the version that was published in Soviet ambassador? questions concerning what really hap- Jianguo yilai Mao Zedong wengao (the If we put this issue into the context pened in Beijing and between Beijing published version did not include the of the tortuous processes through which and Moscow in October 1950. At a sections about China's requests for So- the CCP leadership reached the decision seminar held at the Woodrow Wilson viet ammunition and military equip- to send troops to Korea, we may find International Center for Scholars in ment). However, the format of this tele- that a major reason for Mao not to disWashington, D.C. on 13 December gram differed from that of many of patch the draft telegram to Stalin could 1995, and in his article in the Winter Mao's other telegrams: while other tele- lie in the fact that the Chinese leader1995/1996 issue of the Cold War Inter- grams usually (but not always) carried ship had not yet reached a consensus national History Project Bulletin, 8 the Mao's office staff's signature indicat- on this issue. Since the outbreak of the Russian scholar Alexandre Y. ing how and when the telegram was Korean War, Mao Zedong had been Mansourov cited the Russian version of dispatched, this telegram does not. 11 carefully considering the question of Mao's telegram to argue that the Chi- So, while it is certain that the Chinese sending troops to Korea. After the nese leaders were reluctant to send version of Mao's telegram is a genuine Inchon landing in mid-September, he troops to Korea, and that they might document, there exist reasonable seemed to have been determined to do have completely backed away from grounds on which to believe that it so. However, according to the materitheir original intention to send troops might not have been dispatched. als now available, the Chinese leaders to Korea early in October 1950. Fur- At the same time, the party archi- did not formally meet to discuss disther, Mansourov questioned the authen- vists in Beijing could not find the Rus- patching troops to Korea until after 1 ticity of Mao's telegram published in sian version of the 2 October 1950 tele- October 1950. The reality was that Jianguo yilai Mao Zedong wengao. gram in Mao's files at CCP Central Ar- many Chinese leaders had different Comparing the styles and contents of chives. This, however, does not mean views on this issue. We now know that the two versions, he pointed out that that the Russian version is not a genu- after receiving Stalin's October 1 telesince the Russian version is a copy of ine document. One explanation of its gram, Mao summoned a Central Secan actual document kept at the Presi- absence in Mao's files might be found retariat meeting the same night. Attenddential Archive in Moscow, it should be in the format of the document: It is not ing the meeting were Mao, Zhu De, Liu regarded as more reliable than the pub- a telegram Mao Zedong directly sent to Shaoqi, and Zhou Enlai. Unable to atlished Chinese version, which, he Stalin, but is a message included in tain a consensus on sending troops to gued, could be "unreliable, inaccurate, Roshchin's telegram to the Soviet Korea, the group decided to continue unsent, or perhaps misdated.”9 He even leader. Therefore, it is quite possible that to discuss the issue the next day at an stated that one cannot “exclude the pos- Mao verbally delivered the message to enlarged Central Secretariat meeting sibility that the text was altered or fal- Roshchin and authorized the Soviet (attendants would include high-ranking sified by Chinese authorities to present ambassador to convey it to Stalin. Be

ambassador to convey it to Stalin. Be- military leaders in Beijing).12 It was what they deemed to be a more ideo- cause the message may not have been after this meeting that Mao sent an urlogically or politically correct version in written form in the first place, it may gent telegram to Gao Gang, instructing of history.”10

not be so strange that one cannot locate him to travel from the Northeast to Mansourov's casting of doubt on a copy of it at the CCP Central Archives. Beijing immediately. Mao also ordered the authenticity of the Chinese version If the above analysis is correct, one the Northeast Border Defense Army to of Mao's telegram was based on a must further ask a question: Why did prepare to "enter operations [in Korea) simple, yet seemingly reasonable, de

BROTHERS IN ARMS: duction: because the contents of the two THE RISE AND FALL OF THE SINO

According to the materials now versions are drastically different, and

SOVIET ALLIANCE, 1945-1963

available, as well as the recollections because the Russian version appeared

of those who had been involved, we are authentic, something must have been Brothers in Arms: The Rise and Fall of the able to draw a general picture about the seriously wrong with the Chinese ver- Sino-Soviet Alliance, 1945-1963, edited by Odd enlarged Central Secretariat meeting on

Arne Westad (Research Director, Norwegian sion. Nobel Institute), contains a collection of essays

the afternoon of 2 October. Mao Zedong The situation, however, is more

by Russian, Chinese, and American scholars (as emphasized at the meeting that it was complicated. After the exposure of the well as Westad) presenting new evidence from urgent to send troops to Korea, and the Russian version of the telegram, party

Russian and Chinese sources on the development meeting thus decided that Peng Dehuai

and demise of the alliance between Moscow and archivists in Beijing carefully searched

should be asked to command the troops. Beijing in the early years of the Cold War. Mao's documents at CCP Central Ar

For ordering information, contact: Odd Arne

Mao also instructed Zhou Enlai to archives, and confirmed that the original Westad, Norwegian Nobel Institute, range a special plane to pick up Peng in of the Chinese version of Mao's 2 OcDrammensveien 19, 0255 Oslo, Norway, fax:

Xi'an (where Peng was then the mili(+47-22) 430168; e-mail: oaw@nobel, no tober 1950 message did indeed exist and

tary and Party head). However, the

at any time.”13

STALIN, MAO, KIM AND KOREAN WAR ORIGINS, 1950:

A RUSSIAN DOCUMENTARY DISCREPANCY

by Dieter Heinzig

meeting failed to yield a unanimous decision to send troops to Korea. It thus decided that an enlarged Politburo meeting would be convened to discuss the issue on October 4.14 Evidently, before the Party leadership had reached a final decision, it would have been impossible for Mao to give an affirmative response to Stalin's October 1 re

15 quest. In actuality, even at the October 4 enlarged Politburo meeting, which would last until October 5, the opinions of the CCP leaders were still deeply divided, with the majority, at one point, strongly opposing sending troops to Korea. The main tendency of the meeting was that "unless absolutely necessary, it was better not to fight the

war."16

Within this context, it is easier to extrapolate what really happened with the Chinese version of Mao's telegram. It is quite possible that as Mao was willing to send troops to Korea, he personally drafted this telegram after receiving Stalin's October 1 telegram. However, because the opinions of the CCP leadership were still divided on the issue, and because the majority of Party leaders either opposed or had strong reservations about entering the war, Mao did not think it proper to dispatch the telegram. In fact, the Russian version of Mao's message mentions that "many comrades in the CC CPC judge that it is necessary to show caution.” This indicated that the division of opinions among CCP leaders was a reason for Mao to send the message found in Russian archives, but not his personally drafted telegram, to Stalin. Of course, how, exactly, Mao changed his plans regarding the message is a question that might only be illuminated with further research, including the opening of additional archival materials in Moscow and, especially, Beijing.

Now, a question that needs further exploration is: Does Mao's message via Roshchin, as regarded by Roshchin and Stalin at that time, as well as currently interpreted by Mansourov, indicate that Mao was reluctant to send troops to Korea, or that the CCP leadership had changed its original stand on the Korean issue? This question should be answered in relation to Mao Zedong's

There is some evidence that Stalin and Mao, during the latter's stay in Moscow between December 1949 and February 1950, discussed the feasibility of a North Korean war against South Korea (cf. Chen Jian, China's Road to the Korean War. The Making of the Sino-American Confrontation [New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), pp. 85-91). But what we are particularly keen on knowing is whether Stalin informed Mao Zedong about the fact that he, on 30 January 1950, gave North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, although in general terms, the green light for an attack on South Korea (cf. Kathryn Weathersby in the CWIHP Bulletin 5 (Spring 1995), pp. 3,9).

At last I found strong evidence that he did not. It is contained in Mao's conversation with Soviet Ambassador Pavel Yudin on 31 March 1956, a version of which was published in CWIHP Bulletin 6-7 (Winter 1995/1996), pp. 164-7. In this version, on page 166 a part of Yudin's original record is omitted. It reads as follows (omitted part underlined):

“Important things which, evidently, to some extent strengthened Stalin's belief in the CCP, were your (my) information about the journey to China and the Korean War—the performance of the Chinese People's volunteers, although concerning this question, said Mao Zedong, we were not consulted in a sufficient way. Concerning the Korean question, when I (Mao Zedong) was in Moscow, there was no talk about conquering South Korea, but rather on strengthening North Korea significantly. But afterwards Kim Il Sung was in Moscow, where a certain agreement was reached about which nobody deemed it necessary to consult with me beforehand. It is noteworthy, said Mao Zedong, that, in the Korean War a serious miscalculation took place regarding the possibility of the appearance of international forces on the side of South Korea."

The source is contained in the documents on the Korean War declassified by the Russian Presidential Archive (APRF) in Moscow which were cited by Kathryn Weathersby in CWIHP Bulletin 6-7 (Winter 1995/1996), p. 30. It is Ciphered telegram; Strictly secret; Taking of copies forbidden; From Beijing; 20. IV. 56 (handwritten); Perechen III no. 63 kopii dokumentov Arkhiva Prezidenta Rossiiskoi Federatsii po teme: “Voina v Koree 1950-1953," p. 157; list of the archival delo: 150; nos. of fond, opis, and delo not given. Before the text quoted above: “On 31 March I visited Comr. Mao Zedong," after “P. Yudin.” The text quoted above is introduced by the handwritten insertion (...), and it ends with the same insertion. Evidently, the text was included in the Presidential Archive's collection as an excerpt as it is the only part of Yudin's record which has to do with the Korean War.

For the CWIHP version of Yudin's record three sources are quoted (see p. 167). One is Problemy Dalnego Vostoka 5 (1994), pp. 101-109. Responsible for this publication are A. Grigorev and T. Zazerskaia. Here no reference whatsoever is made indicating that something was omitted. I did not see the two other (archival) sources quoted in the CWIHP Bulletin. But obviously there is no reference to an omission either, otherwise this would certainly have been indicated in the Bulletin version.

The text quoted above not only adds to our knowledge about the decision-making process during the preparatory phase of the Korean War. In addition, the way the text was discovered shows that Russian censors are still active—not only by withholding documents, but also by offering incomplete documents.

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