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tive obscurity. But in a move whose motiva- number of Russian citizens who have come tion and meaning to this day remains some- forward as a result of printed and broadcast what of a mystery, Yeltsin in June 1992 appeals for information. (Joint Commission suddenly announced that a number of Ameri- staffers operate on the understanding that can military prisoners had indeed been held Russian officials will be notified of and on Soviet territory. And he vowed an inves- invited to sit in on all interviews of Russians tigation that would determine whether any volunteering information to the American remained alive.
side.) His statement revived the hopes not Now in its fifth year, the Joint Commisonly of thousands of families seeking infor- sion remains in operation, although the flow mation about MIAs in Indochina—the most of tips and leads has slowed drastically and vocal and media-noticed segment of the the frequently stated promise of access to POW/MIA community—but also of a qui- KGB files on foreign POWs remains unfuleter and more patient community represent- filled. ing the families and friends of nearly 8,200 While conducting ground-breaking unaccounted-for men from the Korean War work that frequently kept the POW/MIA and dozens more from the shootdowns of community's hopes on razor's edge, the U.S. spy planes during the 1950s and 1960s. Joint Commission also became caught in
This community—unaligned with and post-Cold War gridlock, as the archival “winlargely separate from the academic commu- dow of opportunity” closed and the Russian nity that had begun to forage in Soviet ar- side's hardliners parried with a dwindling chives for its own purposes—had two pow- and sometimes fractious team of Americans erful allies in its search for information about on the other side. American MIAs assumed to be in Russian A report released in the summer of 1993 hands.
by the Task Force Russia—a team of U.S. Each of these allies—the Senate Select experts on Soviet affairs and military intelCommittee on POWs and MIAs and the ligence put together by the U.S. ArmyU.S.-Russia Joint Commission—would end concluded that up to 1,000 or more Ameriup disappointing the Korean War and Cold can POWs from the Korean War had been War MIA community in its own way. shipped to the former Soviet Union for inter
The Senate committee, whose co-chairs rogation. were Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and But the report's findings were miniSen. Robert Smith of New Hampshire, lasted mized by Pentagon officials who charged for one year and drew significant media they were more supposition than fact. The attention. But, predictably, it spent the vast team of experts who had constructed the majority of staff time and investigative ef- case made by the report—Task Force Rusfort on Indochina. The life of the committee sia—was effectively disbanded after one was marked by private and public quarrels year, and its duties subsumed under the over the value of certain evidence and the Pentagon's Office of POW/MIA Affairs. integrity of some of the witnesses.
The current U.S. position on this issue is But in every case, the context of the that the strongest available evidence points news and controversy was the Vietnam War. to the transfer to Soviet territory of a relaIn the public hearings phase, only one day tively small number of Korean War Ameriwas devoted to Korean War and Cold War can POWs—perhaps corresponding to the issues and cases.
roughly 25-30 fighter pilot MIAs who are The Joint Commission, meanwhile, had believed to have been among the most prized begun what can now be seen as an extremely captives for intelligence purposes. ambitious attempt to investigate the thousands of intelligence tips and live-sightings of Americans held in the former Soviet Union Laurence Jolidon is an investigative reporter, from the end of World War II to the present war correspondent, and the author of Last day.
Seen Alive—The Search for Missing POWs Thanks to some Russian cooperation, from the Korean War, from which this aror, to put it another way, despite frequent ticle was excerpted. Russian non-cooperation—the American side of the commission has been able to visit some archives and museums and interview a
The Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) is developing an internetaccessible system to make publications (including the Bulletin and Working Papers), translated documents, and other features available via computer. The service is being developed in cooperation with the National Security Archive, a non-governmental, nonprofit research institute and declassified documents repository located at George Washington University.
Plans call for the system to go on-line early in 1996, with CWIHP to be part of the Archive's home-page on the World Wide Web. Once in service, users will be able to gain access to past, present, and in-progress CWIHP publications, to learn other information on CWIHP and related research activities.
One planned feature of the on-line service of special interest to many users will be the Russian Archives Documents Database (RADD). RADD, a collaborative effort of CWIHP and the National Security Archive, is intended to help inform researchers of documents relevant to Cold War history that various scholars and scholarly projects have obtained from Russian archives, and to share expenses for translations so that they can be used as widely as possible. An Englishlanguage inventory of documents which scholars have already provided is being prepared, and the aim is to put translations on line as soon as feasible. Those scholars who can read Russian may then read the documents in the Archive reading room, while those who cannot can commission translations, which will then be made freely available. RADD is presently being managed at the Archive by Mark H. Doctoroff, who can be reached at (202) 994-7239 (telephone) or (202) 994-7005 (fax).
As the project moves forward, we are open to expanding RADD into READD— Russian and East-bloc Documents Database—if resources permit and source materials justify this expansion.
Further information on CWIHP's online service will appear in the next issue of the Bulletin. In the meantime, we welcome suggestions and (as always) donations of documents and translations for RADD (and READD).
CONSTRUCTING A HISTORY side of China (largely but by no means exclu- younger, adventuresome generation have OF CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY
sively in the United States), scholarship bears begun to exploit their inherent advantages in FOREIGN RELATIONS
the imprint of the political science discipline studying China's complex behavior in an
and the closely related international relations often threatening and generally intrusive by Michael H. Hunt
field, which has long dominated CCP for- world. They have had immediate access to
eign-policy studies. Historical questions and publications (some of limited circulation), The study of the foreign relations of the historical methods are thus, at least outside and enjoyed the first glimpses into the arChinese Communist Party (CCP) is under- of China, only beginning to move from the chives. They have profited from their pergoing dramatic changes that are taking it in margins to a more central position. sonal contacts with former policymakers, a distinctly more historical direction. This The purpose of this article is to offer a and brought to new sources an unmatched development has essentially been driven by guide to this emergent historical approach. It sensitivity to the political culture in which the appearance of an abundance of new begins with an extended look at the field's China's policy was made. They have enmaterial (for details see the accompanying two chief geographic divisions, China and
two chief geographic divisions, China and joyed the stimulus of a large and interested essay on sources). This material is largely the United States. It closes with some thoughts audience for their writing and easy opportuthe product of the party's own history estab- on ways to encourage the already promising nity to discuss with colleagues work in lishment and its mandate to transcend a prospects for a solidly grounded and concep- progress and news of the field. As a result of simple and largely discredited party my- tually sophisticated history of party foreign
tually sophisticated history of party foreign these developments, the center for the study thology in favor of a better documented and relations.
of foreign relations and the CCP has shifted hence more credible past. The publication
back to China. A glance at the number of of documents, memoirs, chronologies, and
Scholarship in China
specialists and special research offices, the standard historical accounts has at last made
frequency of conferences, and the long list it possible for specialists outside of China to Scholars in the People's Republic of of publications would all confirm this immove beyond broad, heavily speculative China, now in many ways at the leading edge pression. treatments based on fragmentary evidence of CCP foreign-policy history, have only But Chinese specialists still face some and to construct a party foreign-policy his- recently come into their own. They long notable difficulties. One of these is a patriotory marked by engaging human detail and labored under the gaze of party representa- tism that the CCP did not create but did structural complexity.
tives whose main task was to ensure that powerfully reinforce in scholarship as in My book, The Genesis of Chinese Com- history served the party's political agenda other realms of Chinese life. The mantra is munist Foreign Policy (New York: Colum- and contributed to nationalist myths and popu- familiar: China was divided and oppressed; bia University Press, 1996), is itself a good lar morale during the international crises that China pulled itself together under CCP leadgauge of that already well advanced if un- marked Mao Zedong's years of power. Un- ership; China stood up. This satisfying if even reorientation. As is evident in the der these difficult conditions specialists on somewhat simple story to which specialists volume, the historical ground becomes more Chinese foreign relations did their best work on party history and foreign relations still treacherous to traverse the closer we get to by putting together politically inoffensive give at least lip service constrains their exthe present. The prehistory of the CCP collections of historical materials, many of amination of foreign relations, not least with (located in the opening chapters of my study notable quality and lasting value. But in their the capitalist powers and inner-Asian in the late Qing and the early Republic) is own writing they had to serve up a thin peoples. These sensitive topics must be firmly in place. From the point of the CCP's historical gruel heavily spiced but hardly addressed correctly and carefully or not at formal founding in 1921 down to its con- made more palatable by quotes from Chair- all. solidation of state power in 1949-1950 (the man Mao and other sources of the official While the fate of non-Han people under subject of the middle chapters), the evi- orthodoxy. This revolutionary historiogra
orthodoxy. This revolutionary historiogra- China's imperial ambitions are simply writdence constitutes uneven footing that re- phy, following tenets laid down by Mao, ten out of the category of foreign relations quires some caution. The most recent stressed the wave of imperialism that had (to be treated instead as an “internal” matphase—the foreign relations of the party- overpowered China. Commercial and later ter), dealings with foreign powers are feastate—is just beginning to pass into the industrial capitalism, its diplomatic agents, tured in terms of the comfortable and safe historical realm (as the tentativeness of the and those Chinese drawn into the unsavory tale of struggle and triumph. For example, relevant chapter suggests). It will prove the role of collaborator, had left the Chinese PRC scholars enjoying unparalleled access most interpretively volatile as historical people impoverished, economically subor- to source materials on the Korean conflict patterns begin to emerge for the first time dinate, and politically in thrall. The preda- waged against a U.S.-led coalition have been from the accumulation of reliable evidence. tory character of imperialism locked China in a position to offer the fullest account of its
This trend toward a more historical in fundamental conflict with the powers until conduct, warts and all. Their accounts are treatment of the CCP's external relations a popular revolution transformed China and indeed fuller but the warts are hard to spot, has occurred at an uneven pace and taken altered China's relationship to the capitalist thus keeping alive the old heroic narrative. different forms in a field effectively frag- world.
Patriotism, reinforced by party orthodoxy, mented into two distinct parts. The work Since the late 1970s established schol- has inspired repeated claims that the Korean done in China is already decidedly histori- ars have worked free of many of the old intervention was a “brilliant decision” cal though still politically constrained. Out- interpretive constraints, and joined by a (yingming juece) unblemished by confuothers. 4
sion, division, or opportunism. That very ence. phrase appears in the title of one of the How the CCP privately assessed the But Mao's account also arose from the earliest of the documented accounts to ap- USSR as a supporter and model—surely the more practical political concern with launchpear in the PRC, and the theme persists in single most important issue for understand- ing a publicity campaign that would win virtually all of the secondary studies of the ing the CCP's position within the socialist support for the party among Chinese and Korean War published in the last decade.2 camp—will remain a matter of speculation foreigners and bring in much needed contri
A second impulse, as constraining as if not controversy so long as the historical butions from the outside. Inviting Snow, a patriotism and no less intrusive, has been the sources needed to arbitrate it are kept locked reliably progressive American, to Bao'an pressure to fit research findings within a in Chinese archives and excluded even from was part of that strategy. Mao set aside linear, progressive conception of the CCP's restricted-circulation materials. The open- roughly two hours a night over ten evenings development. Highly selfconscious of the ing of Soviet archives may provide the first to tell his story. While Wu Liping translated, importance of its own past to legitimizing revealing, detailed picture of broad aspects Snow took notes. Huang Hua then transthe current leadership and maintaining party of the relationship, and may perhaps even lated those notes back into Chinese for Mao prestige, the CCP has consistently sought to help overcome some of the squeamishness to review. Snow then returned to Beijing to explain its evolution in terms of the forces of party leaders apparently feel about a candid prepare the final account, to appear in 1938 history and the wisdom of its leaders. The look at this important part of their own past. in Red Star Over China. The first Chinese result is a picture of a party that adjusted to Or it may take the passing of the last of party version of Mao's story appeared the year changing social and international conditions elders whose memories of dealing with the before. That Chinese edition and others and that consistently and correctly reassessed Soviets go
back to the 1920s. However they would circulate within Nationalist as well as its own performance, distinguishing correct get there, scholars badly need freer rein to CCP controlled areas.5 from mistaken policy lines. The party, thus research and publish on this long sensitive The second layer is associated with the at least in theory, developed according to a topic vital to understanding the CCP after “new democracy” Mao began to form in the logic which left scant room for recurrent 1949 no less than before that date. [Ed. note: wake of Wang Ming's defeat and in the miscalculation or fundamental misdirection. A sampling of recently released Chinese context of the rectification movement of
This notion of history in which all events materials on Sino-Soviet relations, 1956-58, 1942-1943.6 Party theoreticians had in 1941 are mere tributaries feeding the main stream appears on pages 148-163 of this issue of the begun to promote the importance of “Mao itself flowing toward some predestined point CWIHP Bulletin.]
thought” to party orthodoxy, and a Political is extraordinarily constraining, as a look at The last and easily the most practical Bureau meeting in September and October PRC writings relating the 1919 May Fourth problem handed down from earlier CCP of that year produced statements of support movement to the CCP reveals. Chinese historical work is the matter of the layers of from Wang Jiaxiang, Zhang Wentian, Chen leaders interested in the origins of the party tendentious documentation and personal Yun, and Ye Jianying. (Neither Zhou Enlai have tried to force a rich set of contemporary reminiscences that have come to surround nor Lin Biao was present.) For the next two views into an orthodox framework wherein Mao Zedong. Those layers have unfortu- years the visibility of “Mao thought” continthe raison d'être of May Fourth is to serve as nately not only served to obscure him as a ued to rise. Zhang Ruxin, Zhu De, Chen intellectual midwife to the CCP's birth. Their personality and policymaker but also cov- Yun, Liu Shaoqi, and Zhou Enlai offered studies make the Bolshevik revolution the ered over the contributions of his colleagues. praise, and Mao's writings figured promicentral and transformative event in the intel- Repeatedly over the last half century party nently in the study material used in the lectual life of future party leaders; they un- officials have remade Mao, re-creating his rectification campaign. The Seventh Party derestimate that era's ideological explora- persona to suit the politics of the times. Congress brought the apotheosis. A Liu tion and fluidity; they minimize attachment These multiple layers baffle and distract Shaoqi report and a resolution passed at the to such heterodox beliefs as anarchism; and foreign scholars no less than Chinese. congress established a Maoist historiograthey downplay the influence of earlier per- The process began in the late 1930s phy and proclaimed the guiding role of “Mao sonal concerns and indigenous political when the task was to reinforce Mao's claims thought.”
to leadership of the party. Mao himself made As early as mid-1944 the first genuine The third obstacle standing in the way a signal contribution by relating his autobi- collection of Mao's writings had appeared to of party historians is the sensitivity with ography to Edgar Snow in mid-1936. Put- help consolidate his claim to ideological which the party center continues to regard ting aside the reticence usually so marked a dominance within the CCP. This early fivepast relations with “fraternal” parties. This feature of Chinese autobiography, Mao of- volume Mao Zedong xuanji [Selected Works reticence is perhaps understandable in the fered a self-portrait that highlighted his own of Mao Zedong] was edited under Wang case of North Korea and Vietnam. A candid moment of Marxist illumination and his Jiaxiang's supervision and published in the look at the past can complicate dealings with strong revolutionary commitment. The re- Jin-Cha-Ji base area by the New China News parties still in power. But the reticence sulting account bears an uncanny resem- Agency. New editions of his selected works applies even to the now defunct Soviet party. blance to the genre of spiritual autobiogra- (perhaps as many as eight, some with reBy thus consigning interparty relations to phy penned by Buddhist and Confucian writ- stricted circulation) continued to appear in historical limbo, the CCP has effectively set ers intent on making their own journeys of the base areas down to 1948. That same year out of bounds large and important slices of spiritual self-transformation and spiritual Xiao San published his account of the young its own foreign-relations record and experi- discovery available for the edification of Mao; he had conceived the project nearly a
decade earlier and proceeded with Mao's and considerable Political Bureau discus- factual questions as the date of a particular approval and the party leadership’s sup- sion. The resulting 1981 resolution, pre- document or the contents of a particular .
pared by a small drafting group headed by conversation. Engrossed in a clearly deThe third layer of Mao publications Hu Qiaomu and supervised by Deng himself fined body of party history materials, rebegan to appear soon after the conquest of along with Hu Yaobang, made Mao bear the searchers pay scant attention to either Chipower in 1949. Stalin is supposed to have burden of mistakes committed in his last nese society or the international environsuggested to Mao during their Moscow sum- years, forced him to share credit for the ment in which the CCP operated. The failure mit the formal designation of an official successes with his colleagues, but let him to read, not to mention engage, foreign scholbody of Mao's writings. [Ed. note: The retain full credit for his earlier revolutionary arship has helped preserve the narrowness, Soviet transcript of the first Stalin-Mao leadership. Finally, in 1986 a two-volume discourage international dialogue, and close meeting, on 16 December 1949, published reader appeared defining the essence of this off CCP history from comparative insights. on pages 5-7 of this issue of the Bulletin, latest, emphatically scientific version of “Mao Behind at least some of these difficulindicates that Mao, not Stalin, made this thought.”:10
ties is something that is likely to be in short suggestion.] The Political Bureau gave its In the new atmosphere of greater open- supply for the foreseeable future—material approval in spring 1950, and a compilation ness the party history establishment has made resources for research and the assurance that committee was formed at once. The result- available a wide range of works that consti- researchers have political support or at least ing four volumes of this new xuanji, pub- tute the point of departure for anyone inter- tolerance from a ruling party concerned to lished between 1952 and 1960, burnished ested in Mao's outlook and political role. keep its historical reputation free of blemish. the image of the statesman traveling the But cutting through the successive layers of An attempt to circumvent these two probChinese road to socialism. This new collec- Mao documentation and sorting through the lems by sending Chinese abroad for gradution, carefully revised by Mao with the help mountain of writing that he left behind is a ate study in history and international relaof his staff, was flanked by yet another task that Chinese scholars have sidestepped. tions has proven somewhat disappointing. It treatment of the young revolutionary, this Without comment, they have let new schol
Without comment, they have let new schol- is my impression that those studying overone by Li Rui. 8
arly collections pile up on top of the older seas in one or another of the broad foreignThe next layer in the official Mao was ones compiled with a marked political agenda, relations fields have not found training and laid down during the Cultural Revolution. leaving specialists outside China such as research on China-related topics notably atAlarmed by what he saw as ideological Takeuchi Minoru, Stuart R. Schram, Michael tractive, and dismayingly few of those who backsliding in the USSR and the persistent Y. M. Kau, and John K. Leung struggling to have completed their studies abroad have bourgeois grip on China's intellectual and produce a full and accurate collection essen- gone home to share their skills, knowledge, cultural life, Mao put forward his own ideas tial to recovering the historical figure be- and contacts. Long-time expatriates are as the antidote. His acolytes took up the neath all the political mythmaking.
likely to find settling into home institutions struggle, beginning with compilation of the A variety of other difficulties stand in trying and particularly frustrating after hav“Little Red Book” on the eve of the Cultural the way of the development of party history ing paid a substantial personal price in makRevolution. That slim but ever-present vol- in its homeland. The publications processing the earlier adjustment to foreign acaume was but the herald to twenty-plus col- lacks quality controls, in part because there demic life. lections intended to define the most impos- are so many party history journals with pages Despite all these problems, good work ing Mao ever—"the greatest genius in the to fill and so many party elders with reputa- on CCP foreign relations is being done in world,” unsurpassed “in several hundred tions to burnish, causes to advance, and scores China that bears considerable relevance to years in the world and in several thousand to even. Access to archives for the entire historical scholarship in the United States years in China.” One enthusiast declared, history of the Communist Party and for the and elsewhere abroad. Indeed, it has already “Chairman Mao stands much higher than era of the PRC is tightly restricted. Some had an impact here, thanks above all to the Marx, Engels, Lenin, or Stalin.” His thought favored Chinese specialists get in; foreigners PRC scholars who have helped foreigners “serves as the lighthouse for mankind,” its are uniformly excluded. Even the best librar- researching in China, who have published in "universal truth applicable everywhere." ies are weak on international studies gener- English, or who have begun careers in the
The latest layer took form soon after ally and on the foreign relations of particular American university system. It seems cerMao's death and was shaped by the political countries whose histories impinged on that tain that foreign historians bent on studying struggle to claim his legacy and appraise his of China. Opportunities are limited for re- the CCP will ride on the coat-tails and in achievements. Hua Guofeng sought to search in libraries and archives outside China many cases work in close cooperation with strengthen his claim to leadership through and for exposure to conceptual approaches the larger and more active group of Chinese the editing of volume five of the official prevailing abroad.
scholars. xuanji, published in 1977. The other, ulti- As a result, party historians in China mately victorious side in the succession operate in an atmosphere of caution and Scholarship in the United States struggle dismissed the tendentious quality insularity. There is little if any interest in of that volume and went off in search of its methodological or theoretical issues so promi- On this side of the Pacific, historical own Mao. The new image, intended to nent outside of China. Scholarly debates do work on CCP foreign relations has suffered serve the political program of Deng Xiaoping not publicly at least go beyond brief ex- from neglect. In the most direct sense this and his allies, was defined after two years changes in party history journals over such state of affairs is the result of indifference to