EDITOR’S NOTE: This interesting excerpt from the publication Revolutionary Democracy has a bearing on current debates about “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” We thank reader M.S. Andreou for calling our attention to the citation.


Soviet Conversations with the Delegation of the CP of China in Moscow, July 11, 1949

The Central Committee (CC) of the CPC (Communist Party of China) decided in July 1949 to submit to the decisions of the CPSU ( Communist Party of the Soviet Union).  Stalin sharply remonstrated against this decision arguing that this was in principle impermissible between two ruling communist parties. The Russian editor of volume 18 of the works of Stalin in his annotation cites further the fraternal criticism by the Soviet leader of the notion propagated by the CPC and Mao himself from the 1930s onward of the notion of the ‘Sinification’ of Marxism in China.   Vijay Singh, Revolutionary Democracy

“The Chinese delegation declares that the Communist Party of China will submit to the decisions of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.” To us, this seems odd. The party of one state submitting to a party from another state. It has never happened and is impermissible. It is true both the parties must be accountable before their respective peoples, must confer with each other on certain questions, help each other, and in difficulty unite both the parties. So today’s meeting of the Politbureau with your participation serves as one of the forms of association between our parties. And it must be so.

We are very grateful for such an honour, but some ideas are not acceptable and we want to point them out. It is like advice from a friend. It is so not only in words but in deed too. We may give you advice, but cannot give orders as we are insufficiently informed about the situation in China, cannot even compare ourselves with you in the knowledge of all the nuances of the situation, but above all we cannot give orders because the affairs of China must be fully resolved by you. We cannot resolve them for you.

You have to understand the importance of your position and that the mission that you have taken upon yourself has an historical significance unsurpassed before in history. And this is not meant to be just a compliment. This just goes to show how great is your responsibility and the historical significance of your mission.

Exchange of views between our two parties is essential, but our view should never be interpreted as an order. The communist parties of other countries may reject our suggestions. We too may not accept the suggestions of the communist parties of other countries.

Stalin’s Comments Noted Down by I.V. Kovalev


Rakhmanin O.B. Stalin and Mao // Dosier 2000. No. 3. C. 10

NoteStalin expresses astonishment by the posture of complete submission of the Chinese communists to the Soviet decisions, but this posture is the effect of the directive from Mao Tse tung and is contained in the report dated 4 July 1949 that was handed over to the delegation of the CC  CPSU by the CC CPC. ‘On the question of the relationship between the CPSU and the CPC’, it is stated in the document, comrade Mao Tse tung and the CPC are of the view:

The CPSU is the main headquarters of the international communist movement and the CPC a headquarter in just one direction. The interests of a part must be subservient to international interests, and therefore the CPC will unequivocally accept the decisions of the CPSU , even though the Comintern no longer exists and the CPC is not part of the Informbureau of the European Communist Parties. (Stalin, having read the report in this place writes: ‘No!’ Ed.) If on some questions there arise differences in the views between the CPC and the CPSU then the CPC having explained its view would submit to and decisively carry through the decisions of the CPSU . (Stalin: ‘No!’ Ed.) We think we should establish as close ties as possible between our two parties, mutually send appropriate political representatives in order to resolve the questions of concern to both our parties and to achieve better mutual understanding between our parties. (Stalin: ‘Yes’. Ed.)

We wish that the CC CPSU and comrade Stalin may give us without any reservations their directives and criticise the work and the policies of the CPC’ (Ledovsky, A.M. ‘USSR and Stalin in China’s Destiny’ pp. 102-103 (in Russian).

In the conversation, the meeting of the Politbureau of the CC CPSU is mentioned in which the delegation of the CC CPC headed by Liu Shao chi took part and presented the report on the military-political and economic situation in China.

From the beginning of 1947 to the end of 1949 Mao Tse tung’s visit to USSR was several times planned and then postponed. Regular communication was maintained for a prolonged period between him and Stalin which was carried through radio communication and was highly secret. Neither the Ministry of External Affairs nor the Soviet embassy in China knew about it. Stalin proved himself as an experienced conspirator and finally met Mao Tse tung not as a partisan and rebel leader but as the leader of the victorious Chinese revolution, the Chairman of the newly born People’s Republic of China. The conversations during the visit of Mao Tse tung to the USSR during 16 December and 17 February 1950 are contained in the book by Ledovsky mentioned above Fragments of the theoretical reasoning of Stalin in conversations with Mao Tse tung are also of interest as set forth (according to materials of V.M. Zhukhrai) in the book by V.V. Vakhani ‘The Personal Secret Service of J.V. Stalin’ (Moscow, 2004. pp. 414-416, in Russian):

‘You speak of Sinified socialism. There is nothing of the sort in nature. There is no Russian, English, French, German, Italian socialism, as much as there is no Chinese socialism. There is only one Marxist-Leninist socialism. It is another thing, that in the building of socialism it is necessary to take into consideration the specific features of a particular country. Socialism is a science, necessarily having, like all science, certain general laws, and one just needs to ignore them and the building of socialism is destined to failure.

What are these general laws of building of socialism?

  1. Above all it is the dictatorship of the proletariat the workers’ and peasants’ state, a particular form of the union of these classes under the obligatory leadership of the most revolutionary class in history the class of workers. Only this class is capable of building socialism and suppressing the resistance of the exploiters and petty bourgeoisie.
  2. Socialised property of the main instruments and means of production. Expropriation of all the large factories and their management by the state.
  3. Nationalisation of all capitalist banks, the merging of all of them into a single state bank and strict regulation of its functioning by the state.
  4. The scientific and planned conduct of the national economy from a single centre. Obligatory use of the following principle in the building of socialism: from each according to his capacity, to each according to his work, distribution of the material good depending upon the quality and quantity of the work of each person.
  5. Obligatory domination of Marxist-Leninist ideology.
  6. Creation of armed forces that would allow the defence of the accomplishments of the revolution and always remember that any revolution is worth anything only if it is capable of defending itself.
  7. Ruthless armed suppression of counter revolutionaries and the foreign agents.

These, in short, are the main laws of socialism as a science, requiring that we relate to them as such. If you understand this everything with the building of socialism in China will be fine. If you won’t you will do great harm to the international communist movement. As far as I know in the CPC there is a thin layer of the proletariat and the nationalist sentiments are very strong and if you will not conduct genuinely Marxist-Leninist class policies and not conduct struggle against bourgeois nationalism, the nationalists will strangle you. Then not only will socialist construction be terminated, China may become a dangerous toy in the hands of American imperialists. In the building of socialism in China I strongly recommend you to fully utilise Lenin’s splendid work ‘The Immediate Tasks of Soviet Power’. This would assure success.

  1. Stalin, Sochinenia, Tom 18, Informatsionno-izdatelskii tsentr ‘Soyuz’, Tver, 2006, pp. 531- 533.

Translated from the Russian by Tahir Asghar


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