The Secret Mission of A.I. Mikoyan to China – II

(January-February 1949)

A. Ledovsky

(Continued from Revolutionary Democracy Vol. XXII, No. 2, April, 2017)


This is the second part of the article by Ledovsky on the secret visit of Mikoyan to China in the beginning of 1949 which details the exchanges between the CPSU (b) and the CPC on the questions relating to the coming assumption of power of the Chinese revolutionaries. The military assistance of the Soviets to the Chinese becomes apparent. Mao indicated that a quarter of all Soviet military assistance to the Chinese was allocated to Manchuria. Aside from the Japanese arms which were given to the Chinese they received Soviet and Czechoslovak ones. Later as the PLA entered Beijing they brought with them US weaponry to give the impression that they were accumulating arms from the forces of Chiang Kai-shek. We find information also of the financial assistance requested by Mao from the Soviet leadership.

Perhaps the important information which can be gained from this account are the exchanges between Stalin and Mao on the character of the new Chinese state. China would not, Stalin advised, be a dictatorship of the proletariat but a national revolutionary government. As a result there would be no land nationalisation or confiscation of the property of the commercial and industrial bourgeoisie: all this would take place at a later stage. Stalin noted that even in Yugoslavia apart from the communist party other parties existed in the People’s Front. He suggested that in People’s China that the capital of the Japanese, the French and the British should be nationalised. It would be better to leave alone US capital so that they, the US, would think that its interests were being taken into account. The comments of Liu Shao-chi on the national bourgeoisie are also of interest. He argued that the capital of the comprador bourgeoisie should be confiscated but that of the national bourgeoisie should be nationalised after some time. Mikoyan also advised caution on this question. In the event Mao in his seminal work ‘People’s Democratic Dictatorship,’ which was released shortly after these discussions in June 30th 1949, declared that the capital of the national bourgeoisie would later be nationalised. However, as Bhupen Palit was to point out, this portion of this work was to be deleted in the editions published after the 20th Congress of the CPSU. Eventually, of course, the capital of the national bourgeoisie in China was not to be confiscated till date. The location, translation and publication of the documents of Stalin and Mao which are relied upon by Ledovsky will clarify matters further.

Vijay Singh.

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