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International Socialist Review, Summer 1961


Text of “Secret” Moscow Letter


From International Socialist Review, Vol.22 No.3, Summer 1961, pp.80-84, 99.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


A confidential letter about the dispute with Mao, said to have been sent by Khrushchev to various Communist leaders, has aroused wide speculation

* * *

Isaac Deutscher, the well-known specialist in Soviet affairs, recently declared that a “new and momentous quarrel has broken between Russia and China, and Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev has been directing a hurricane fire of accusations against Mao Tse-tung.” Deutscher based this conclusion on a purported confidential letter “sent out from Khrushchev’s offices in Moscow to the headquarters of several foreign Communist parties.”

Deutscher’s article, published in the July 2 London Times and the July 5 Washington Post, led to wide speculation over the authenticity of the document and, should it prove to be genuine, what it might signify about relations between the two leading powers of the Soviet bloc.

For instance, Joseph Barry, Paris correspondent of the New York Post, said July 12:

“If an anonymous document circulating confidentially among members of the French party actually comes from the Kremlin, then Soviet Russia’s relations with Communist China are as crucial, if not critical, as they are with the US.”

As to the authenticity of the document, Barry had only this to say:

“The text of this extraordinary document has lately been published in a dissident French Communist periodical La Voie Communiste. The editors treat its authorship with more caution than Deutscher, simply stating in a foreword that it appeared as an anonymous pamphlet shortly before the recent national congress of the French Communist party and was passed from hand to hand among some of the delegates. However they do say it has all the typographical and stylistic earmarks of other such Soviet and Eastern European publications intended for confidential inner-party consumption.”

I.F. Stone believes that it was written by the Kremlin and then “leaked” to the press. He writes in his Weekly, July 10: “The Russians have become as adept as ourselves in the technique of the calculated leak.” Stone gives his impression of the real meaning of some of the key points, and then asks: “But why should we be dependent on leaks from Moscow to know what the Chinese are thinking?”

C.L. Sulzberger, European correspondent of the New York Times, tends to view the letter as a forgery. “One of the oddest cold war battlefronts is that of the forgers who, sometimes for reasons of propaganda, sometimes for reasons of personal profit are unloading fake documents on a puzzled world,” he writes in the July 19 Times. According to Sulzberger, the Central Intelligence Agency “has uncovered some thirty-two such false papers in which Communist psychological warriors sought to embarrass the United States by disseminating lies.” On the other side, he continues, a regular “factory” for producing “phony documents was established in Paris by Russian refugees to embarrass the USSR and enrich the authors.”

As for the current letter,

“The anti-Communist expert of Le Figaro, Paris’ distinguished morning journal labeled it a Yugoslav fabrication and the British suspect it as a phony.”

Sulzberger himself ends up declaring that the document “may or may not be counterfeit.”

Two features of the document probably account for the ambivalent attitude of the experts as to its authenticity:

  1. The key programmatic differences discussed in the letter are well known to be in dispute between Moscow and Peking. Countless indications of this have been evident the past few years.
  2. That Khrushchev would utilize a “confidential letter” of this kind to discuss the differences seems unlikely unless he deliberately intended to “leak” it to the press, as I.F. Stone surmises, as a preliminary step to bringing the undercover dispute into the open.

We have no way of verifying whether the text is authentic or a forgery, but we would like to make the following observations:

  1. The existence of a sharp ideological dispute between Peking and Moscow in no wise signifies a diplomatic break between the two countries or a rupture in their united front against the pressure of imperialism. The dispute itself can end up, under favorable circumstances, by considerably strengthening the unity of the two leading powers of the Soviet bloc.
  2. This favorable outcome would be facilitated if all the issues that have led to strained political relations were brought out frankly for public discussion among all the supporters and defenders of the system of planned economies. The value of handling disputes in this way was proved repeatedly in the days of Lenin and Trotsky when proletarian democracy was the norm.
  3. An open discussion of this kind would destroy the market for “cold war” forgeries that are designed to stir up bad relations among the Soviet countries. It is the atmosphere of rumors and speculations about differences that are known to exist which creates the market for the poison-pen artists. People read everything available in hope of getting more facts and learning what the true situation is. This murky atmosphere could be cleared away by the simple measure of giving truth the floor.

Since all the chancelleries of the world, and all the editorial writers of the big dailies have the text of the highly controversial document on their desks, we see no reason why socialists and all those interested in programmatic issues should not be able to read it too. We have therefore translated the text as published by La Verité des Travailleurs, a Paris Trotskyist newspaper.

* * *

For the Ideological Unity of the World Communist Movement


A Conference of the representatives of the Communist and Workers parties, having met in Moscow in November 1960 on the occasion of the commemoration of the forty-third anniversary of the great socialist October Revolution, the aforementioned conference of the eighty-one parties debated the great international problems of the hour.

At the close of its work, the conference adopted a declaration, affirming, before the peoples of the world, the unity of opinion of its participants on the questions examined.

It meant to give to its final Declaration the import of a program for the World Communist Movement, and proclaimed the unanimity of the representatives of the eighty-one parties represented, on this document.

The Declaration, reprinted in all languages, has been circulated by all the Communist and Workers parties, in the form of booklets, of special pages of their newspapers, of “supplements” to their ideological reviews, etc.

The leaders of all the Communist and Workers parties have widely popularized the Declaration in all the bodies of their parties.

The national conferences or congresses which have been held or are going to be held, have placed and will place the Declaration of the Eighty-one at the center of their work.

They have all insisted and will insist on the fact that:

“To defend resolutely the unity of the international communist movement on the basis of the principles of Marxism-Leninism and of proletarian internationalism, to allow no action capable of undermining this unity; these are the obligatory conditions for victory in the struggle for national independence, democracy and peace, for the success of the objectives of the socialist revolution, of the building of socialism and of communism. To transgress these principles would result in the weakening of the forces of communism.”

In recognizing the leading role of the party which first opened the road to socialism, the Moscow Conference was naturally inspired, on all ideological problems and in particular on the respect for Leninist principles of organization, by the work and decisions of the historic Twentieth Congress of the Communist party of the Soviet Union, which marked a decisive stage in the development of the world communist movement.

In considering the unanimous vote of the delegates on the final resolution, we had the right to think that the militants who could still contest the correctness of certain resolutions of the Twentieth Congress of the Communist party of the Soviet Union would find themselves to be merely in the minority.

For such a minority, the Leninist rules teach that there exist only two possible attitudes:

  1. Submit to the democratic rule of the majority, and apply without reserve or reticence the decisions taken, after having tried to have its own point of view win out in the discussion;
  2. violate the Leninist principles and betray the democratic rules by attempting, through factional procedures, to continue to propagate or defend its minority point of view, in spite of the condemnation of this point of view by the majority.

The Moscow Conference, which certainly spelled out, with the unanimous agreement of its participants, that “to transgress upon these principles would be to work toward the weakening of the forces of communism,” nevertheless left the door open to further discussions. It did so in the following terms:

“In case of need, the workers and communist parties hold conferences in which they meet in order to examine current problems, to exchange their experiences and become aware of their respective opinions and positions, to reach a unanimous point of view through consultation, and to unify their actions in the struggle for their common goals.

“When, in one or another party, questions arise concerning the activity ef a brother party, its leadership addresses itself directly to the leadership of the corresponding party; in case of need, meetings and consultations will take place.”

Adopted by the unanimous vote of the representatives of Eighty-one Workers and Communist parties, who themselves were mandated democratically by the statutory bodies of their parties, this procedure consequently has the force of law for any communist who respects the principles of Marxism-Leninism and who cares about the progress and unity of the world communist movement.

Every leadership of a Workers or Communist party which ratified the vote of its own representatives at the Eighty-one party conference is bound to respect it and to apply its principles, if it respects the Leninist norms of party life.

We have the right to consider that any leadership which attempted to call into question the content of this Declaration, through clandestine and factional methods contradicting the process of consultations and reciprocal exchanges defined by the Declaration, would act counter to the interests of its own party and would injure the progress of the world communist movement.

Any attempt by the leadership of a Workers or Communist party secretly to propagate its disagreements with the Declaration, for which its own representatives had voted, within the ranks of a brother party, could be considered as meddling in the internal affairs of another party and as an attempt to undermine the ideological unity of the world communist movement. It would also be a categorical violation of Marxist-Leninist principles and a demonstration of hostility toward those parties which are faithful to the principles for which they voted without any secret reservations.

Any leadership of a Communist or Workers party which would respect, verbally, the terms and principles of the Declaration of the Eighty-one Communist and Workers parties, but at the same time would permit, in reality, the emissaries of the leadership of another brother party to propagate divergent theses in its ranks, would commit a hostile act towards the world communist movement and its duplicity would place it among the adversaries of the ideological unity of this movement.

Is such behavior possible on the part of the leadership of one of the parties represented at the Moscow Conference, after its representatives had voted, unanimously with the others, in favor of the terms of the final Declaration, in November 1960?

However regretable be the observation, such behavior is not only possible, but it has become an actuality, notably in the ranks of the French Communist party.


The differences expressed by the leadership of the Chinese Communist party against the theses of the Communist party of the Soviet Union, which nevertheless were approved by the near unanimity of the other Communist and Workers parties, are not spontaneously born.

They result from the deformations stemming from the very circumstances in which the Chinese Communist party was born and has developed.

In the period in which most of the other Communist parties were only engaged in activities where propaganda and agitation, political, parliamentary and trade union battles occupied the essential place, the Chinese Communist party was fighting a war, was an army, was developing in struggle a military strategy whose extentions were a precious contribution to the world communist movement, everywhere where arms had to speak.

When the people’s power was installed in China, the principal fighters of the Chinese Communist party, cadres and militants, were soldiers and officers, accustomed to the life of encampments, to military discipline, to incessant displacements, and still influenced by the Long March.

The militants and subordinate cadres of this valiant Chinese Communist party did not receive from their leadership all the help which they had a right to expect from it to facilitate their transition from the prolonged state of war to peaceful construction, with the psychological evolution that this change of objectives and of forms of struggle imposed.

It is from this that was born a sectarianism that found nourishment in the fact that fascist elements, openly supported by American imperialism, continued to occupy a part of the Chinese territory (Formosa) under the dictatorship of the military chief of the crushed Chinese bourgeoisie, Chiang Kai-shek.

The Chinese Communist party did not know, as did the Communists of the USSR after the forced peace of Brest-Litovsk which robbed them of a part of their territory, how to classify problems in their order of real importance, and placed Formosa at the center of all its preoccupations, without concerning itself about the evolution of the international situation.

When the interest of the socialist forces of the entire world, and of the exploited peoples of the capitalist countries made a bold policy of peaceful coexistence with the countries hostile to socialism more necessary than ever, every Soviet initiative in the direction of cooperation was labeled by the leadership of the Chinese Communist party as a betrayal, as an agreement with the occupiers of Formosa, or as a sacrifice of the interests of People’s China to those of the USSR.

The Twentieth Congress of the Communist party of the Soviet Union has only crystallized a fundamental difference which existed since the taking of power by the Chinese Communist party.

The latter, although it had defeated the principal enemy, liberated the entire national soil except Formosa, and was entering into a period of peace and the construction of socialism, was already proposing military theses such as preventive war against the enemy menacing the socialist conquests.

In a speech which was circulated and studied as a fundamental theoretical document by all the Chinese Communist militants, comrade Mao Tse-tung, commemorating on the first of July, 1949, the twenty-eighth anniversary of the Chinese Communist party, by the use of beautiful but old Chinese tales, forecast preventive war.

To the comrades who insisted on the necessity for People’s China to organize, despite fetters and obstacles, foreign trade with the capitalist countries, comrade Mao Tse-tung replied:

“It should be realized that no one except the imperialists and their lackeys, the reactionary clique of Chiang Kai-shek, prevents us from engaging in commercial activity with foreign countries, and entering into diplomatic relations with them. When we will have succeeded in mustering all the forces inside and outside the country to annihilate the Chinese and foreign reactionaries, then there will be commercial activity and it will be possible to establish diplomatic relations with foreign countries on a basis of equality, of reciprocal advantages and of mutual respect for territorial sovereignty.”

It should be taken into account that in the three years preceding the establishment of the People’s Republic in China, the People’s Army of Liberation had crushed, in a pitiless war, five-million, five-hundred and ninety-thousand soldiers of the reactionary Kuomintang. One can understand that in 1949-50 the leadership of the Chinese Communist party had had to take into consideration the state of mind of its soldier-militants, still impregnated with these terrible years, and therefore had to maintain such positions. It is more difficult to excuse the fact that twelve years after the victory of the People’s Army of Liberation, the positions have remained identical, while the evolution of the international situation, the supremacy of the Soviet Union in atomic energy, her superiority in the field of intercontinental missiles, her peaceful victories, had altered the fundamental realities.

What was an explainable deformation becomes a sectarian stubborness; what was a simple difference of opinion becomes a rupture of the ideological unity of the socialist camp and of the world communist movement.

The surface occupied on the earth by the Chinese People’s Republic, the enormous reservoir of inhabitants that she contains, the considerable influence that her establishment as a People’s nation has been able to exert and still exerts on the dependent or ex-dependent peoples, notably in the Middle-East and in Africa – all these factors have also given rise, in the minds of certain leaders of the Chinese Communist party, to feelings of superiority, inciting them to the demand to occupy a separate place, proportionate to the objective factors that we have cited, in the socialist camp and in the world communist movement.

Forgetting that the worth of a party is not measured only in the number of its members, and that the importance of any of the People’s Democracies is not only the result of the number of its inhabitants, the leadership of the Chinese Communist party has conceived, without daring to express it in a categorical manner, a kind of project to divide world communism into two zones of influence, according to which the USSR would be responsible for or “the inspirer” of the policy of the socialist countries of the so-called Western lands and People’s China of the socialist countries of the so-called Eastern lands.

This idea of a kind of “double leadership,” of a revolutionary center for the Easterners and the Westerners, or, if we go to the end, for the whites and for the colored, because there is a slight trace of racism in any nationalist deviation, this idea did not contribute to the lessening of differences.

It is thus that after the Twentieth Congress of the Communist party of the USSR, and principally in the course of the last three years, profound disagreements have been expressed, which it became impossible to hide because the press of the Chinese Communist party took it upon itself to reveal them to world opinion.

The international bourgeois press did not deprive itself of the chance to make the most profitable use of these revelations, in the service of the politics that it is paid to defend.

No communist concerned with the triumph of world socialism can note these facts without deploring the attitude of the leadership of the Chinese Communist party.


In two texts that they had translated and printed in several languages and then sent to the leading organisms of the majority of Workers and Communist parties, requesting certain leaderships to diffuse them among their members, the members of the leadership of the Chinese Communist party underlined the principal divergences which separate them from the Communist party of the Soviet Union.

These texts: Concerning Imperialism, Source of Modern War, and Long Live Leninism, affirmed in particular:

  1. Since the end of the second world war there has been no change of any sort in the nature of imperialism. Consequently, the danger of war is as permanent as ever, and war is inevitable.
  2. Coexistence can only be the result of a struggle. Consequently it is necessary to impose coexistence on the capitalist countries by fighting against their two interchangeable tactics: the tactic of war and the tactic of peace.
  3. The struggle for peace and the struggle for socialism are two different struggles. Consequently the struggle for peace must be carried out together with non-communist forces through compromises, while the struggle for socialism belongs to revolutionary forces alone.
  4. The “barbaric and cannibalistic” imperialisms arm themselves more and more in order to preserve the exploitation of their peoples and crush their attempts to struggle for liberation. Consequently we must guide and support just revolutionary wars as the sole path to the emancipation of the proletariat.

These documents, which have been reproduced by several bourgeois papers and particularly, in France, by Le Monde, which had drawn upon the theoretical organ of the Chinese Communist party, The Red Flag, systematically contradicted the theses worked out by the Twentieth Congress of the Communist party of the Soviet Union, concerning:

  1. The changes that have taken place in the nature of world imperialism
  2. the growing possibilities for peaceful coexistence between socialist and capitalist countries
  3. the march to socialism through broad regroupments of peoples for the maintenance of peace
  4. the recognition that war is no longer inevitable
  5. the possibility for certain Workers and Communist parties to lead the proletariat to power by peaceful means.

If these theses, attacked in such public fashion by the leadership of the Chinese Communist party, were merely the expression of the opinion of the Communist party of the Soviet Union, no one would have thought to complain of a divergence expressed according to the normal rules for the exchange of ideas among brother parties.

But the leadership of the Chinese Communist party made public its divergences, not merely with the theses of the Communist party of the Soviet Union, but also with the immense majority, the quasi-unanimity of Workers and Communist parties of the entire world who, since the Twentieth Congress of the Communist party of the Soviet Union and the common declaration of 1957, had approved these positions which result from a correct analysis of the international situation.

After the Conference of Moscow, in which the delegates of the Chinese Communist party, representing the leadership that comrade Mao Tse-tung, unlike the leaders of the other brother parties, had not judged it necessary to assume himself, voted for the resolution, the situation changed.

Repudiating the vote of their own delegates, repudiating sometimes their own vote when it was these delegates themselves who continued to express divergent views, the leadership of the Chinese Communist party passed over to a new form of struggle in defense of theses that had been condemned after a democratic discussion and vote.

As the lessons of all past deviations and rejections of democratic decisions made foreseeable, in order to persist in the advocacy of theses condemned by the quasi-unanimity of the world communist movement, the members of the leadership of the Chinese Communist party resorted to unfriendly, factional, and even hostile procedures.

They at first sought support from certain leaderships of brother parties subject to their influence through geographical proximity or natural affinities, in particular the Workers or Communist parties of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Korea, and Indonesia.

There was to be found in Europe a single party, the party most marked by the dogmatic deformations of the period of false Stalinist leadership, that would support the divergent views of the Communist party: the Albanian party.

The comrades of the leadership of the Communist party of People’s Albania nevertheless do not have a situation comparable to that of China, nor do they have such a past of military combats. They entered into opposition to the Communist party of the Soviet Union for two reasons:

  1. the frank criticism of the errors of Stalin
  2. the attempted rapprochement with Tito which aimed at bringing the Federative People’s Republic of Yugoslavia back into the socialist camp.

It is not necessary to bring into consideration the dimensions of Albania, its economic situation which makes it a dependency of the socialist camp, nor the conditions which differentiate it from People’s China.

The leaders of the Albanian party, in a sort of act of defiance which involved no real risks for them, decided on the morrow of the Twentieth Congress of the Communist party of the Soviet Union to reject the correct criticism that had been made of the activities of Joseph Stalin during a certain period of his life.

They showed what aims were concealed by these so-called political disagreements by continuing the cult, not only of Stalin, but also of Hoxha, by continuing the selection of the cadres of party and state not according to merit and experience but by ties of family, origin, or friendship with members of the leading circle. As the cult of personality has inevitable political consequences, they persecuted and even condemned meritorious militants who, basing themselves on the principles of the Twentieth Congress of the Communist party of the Soviet Union, dared to express several criticisms in the regular assemblies of the party.

Renewing the methods of a period fortunately bygone, they did not hesitate to slap the label “Titoist spy” onto comrades who troubled them, while at the same time they themselves were multiplying their dispatch of spies into the Federative People’s Republic of Yugoslavia and provoking incidents of steadily increasing gravity on the Albano-Yugoslavian frontier.

By a great stretch, it might, in this context, appear understandable that the Albanian brother party, deceived by ill-aware leaders fearing a reduction in aid from the socialist countries that they mistrust, should have sought material and economic support from the Chinese People’s Republic.

What is much less comprehensible is that a great party like the Chinese Communist party should have chosen such an “ally” in Europe and linked its cause to that of the leaders of the Albanian party, giving them a dangerous importance and espousing their excessive and dangerous quarrel with the Federative People’s Republic of Yugoslavia.

Did the leadership of the Chinese Communist party limit itself to “blocking” with the very rare leaderships of Workers or Communist parties who, for one or another reason, decided to support it in its divergent views? No. It attempted to reach beyond the leaderships of brother parties who rejected its efforts to subvert them, and sought secretly to gain support in the ranks of these brother parties in order to distribute among them, despite their leaderships, its propaganda materials against the letter and the spirit of the Declaration of Eighty-one Workers and Communist parties.


It is known that a certain number of members of the leadership of the French Communist party disapproved the report of the Central Committee of the Communist party of the Soviet Union, presented by comrade Khrushchev to the Twentieth Congress of the Communist party of the Soviet Union.

Although many other leaders of neighboring Communist parties, like those of the Italian and British parties, accepted and discussed the report dealing with the grave and sometimes criminal errors, consequences in practise of the deformation of principle represented by the cult of his person, of Joseph Stalin, the leadership of the French Communist party – wrtich had been informed like all the others – began by contesting the authenticity of this report, even when the newspaper Le Monde published a translation which no one could believe was a forgery.

The leadership of the French Communist party, incidentally, never termed the text published by Le Monde a “forgery” fabricated by the enemy, but saw to it that it was referred to only as the “report attributed to comrade Khrushchev.”

Parallel to this, comrades Maurice Thorez and Jacques Duclos, having convinced the other members of the Political Bureau of the French Communist party without having consulted beforehand with the members of the Central Committee, appealed to the Secretariat of the Communist party of the Soviet Union, requesting it to deny the authenticity of the document circulated by the bourgeois press, particularly by the newspaper Le Monde.

The leadership of the Communist party of the Soviet Union pointed out that an accurate text, which had been discussed by the Soviet militants and which the Central Committees of other Communist parties had also discussed without questioning its authenticity, could not be denounced as a forgery.

Faced with this refusal to deny the text, the Political Bureau of the French Communist party then turned to its Central Committee, pointing out to it that the circulation of the famous report on Stalin would do more harm than good, that it would, particularly, diminish the prestige and authority of the leadership of the French Communist party, and that since each member of the Central Committee had personally defended all the positions and actions of Stalin that were now condemned, there was a grave danger that the unity of the ranks of the party would be ruptured. They also invoked the weapons that oppositional militants in the party and adversaries would receive from the report on Stalin to be used against the Central Committee, and concluded that the report should be attenuated, even if it could not be formally contested.

After having accepted the communiqué of the Political Bureau which had, on June 18, 1956, denied that all the negative aspects of Soviet politics could have resulted from the cult of Stalin, the session of the Central Committee of the French Communist party on June 22 named a delegation composed of comrades Etienne Fajon, Waldeck Rochet, and Mercel Servin. It left Paris on June 25, with the mission of asking the Secretariat of the Communist party of the Soviet Union to help out those brother parties placed in difficulties by certain aspects of the report on Stalin.

Arguing from the proximity of its Fourteenth National Congress and from the needs of the struggle on the national scale, the delegation asked the Secretariat of the Communist party of the Soviet Union to draw up a document which would attenuate the report in question and, without contesting its authenticity, would assist the Central Committee of the French Communist party in its effort to maintain the unity of the ranks of the party.

On the Soviet side comrades N.S. Khrushchev, P.N. Pospelov, and B.N. Ponomarev took part in the discussions of June 28 and 30, 1956. At their close a resolution was published which, in part, satisfied the request of the leadership of the French Communist party.

This document of the Secretariat of the Communist party of the Soviet Union was presented, in L’Humanité of July 3, 1956 and in various publications of the French Communist party, as “a resolution of the Central Committee of the CPSU.”

It was abundantly utilized in reports and articles in such a way as to justify the position of the leadership of the Communist party. In the leading circles of the party, where it was impossible to contest the other criminal aspects of the activity of Joseph Stalin during the last period of his life, it was decided to explain that this concerned only the Communist party of the Soviet Union and the peoples of the USSR, that it was an internal problem of the USSR whose external discussion could only be harmful to the other Communist parties and helpful to their anti-Soviet enemies.

Nevertheless, even in this attenuated document there remained enough criticisms of the past period that certain members of the leadership of the French Communist party conceived a rancor against the new leadership of the Communist party of the Soviet Union.

They tried to minimize the results obtained thanks to the righting of the situation of the Party, and notably, the profound repercussions of this courageous self-criticism among the Soviet people. The documents of the Communist party of the Soviet Union relating to the banishment of the cult of personality and the re-establishment of Leninist organizational principles were published parsimoniously and often tardily, although every declaration of Stalin had, previously, been rapidly and profusely circulated.

It is on these elements of the leadership of the French Communist party that the leaders of the Chinese Communist party decided to base themselves, in order to propagate their divergent views. It has become necessary to state that their maneuvers have all too often been facilitated.

A comparison between the articles published before 1953 and those subsequent to 1956 can allow us to become aware that, although it maintains its position of supporting and approving the initiatives and realizations of the Soviet Union and its Communist party, the leadership of the French Communist party shows a certain “moderation” and, sometimes, serious reservations.

On the pretext of preserving the unity of the ranks of the French Communist party, censorship has been exercised on documents and news reports, something that never took place during the lifetime of Stalin.

On the same pretext, the divergence of views between the Chinese Communist party and the Communist party of the Soviet Union, supported by the immense majority of the other Workers and Communist parties, was passed over in silence and even disputed. It would nevertheless have been sufficient to reproduce several articles from the Chinese Communist press to convince all the French Communist militants, that in these differences the Chinese Communist leaders are not in the right.

In parallel fashion, the demonstrations tainted by anti-Sovietism that have taken place in People’s Albania were passed over in silence.

This kind of neutrality in one direction could not have been considered a hostile stand, if it had not for some time been accompanied by factional activities. It is scarcely credible that these activities could have escaped the vigilance of the leadership of the French Communist party.

This fact is so much the more astonishing in that the elements on which the leadership of the Chinese Communist party through its emissaries, bases itself, or attempts to base itself, are generally hostile to the leadership of the French Communist party, particularly on its position concerning the role of the French Communist party in regard to the Algerian War.

Because there are incontestably a sizable number of militants who deplore a certain passivity shown by their leaders in regard to that war, it must be recognized that the attempts to constitute a sort of “Chinese faction” in the ranks of the French Communist party are a far greater danger to the ideological unity of that party than could be the denunciation of the errors of Stalin to the Soviet Communists.


After the sharpness of the accusations of opportunism and even of national chauvinism raised against the representatives of the French Communist party at the Moscow Conference of November 1960 by the representatives of the Chinese Communist party it might appear paradoxical that certain French communist leaders permit, without reacting against it, the development of a “Chinese faction” in their party.

Comrade Jeannette Vermeersch admitted, before a meeting of the cadres of the South-Seine Federation of the French Communist party, that the Chinese delegates had gone so far as to call the leaders of the French party “lackeys of imperialism.” Can she be ignorant of the fact that documents, printed at Peking for the Foreign Language Publishing House, are circulating in that Federation?

Comrade Etienne Fajon admitted, before the cadres of the West-Seine Federation, that the representatives of the French Communist party had been charged with opportunism by the delegates of the Chinese party. Is he ignorant of the fact that factional meetings are being held at Courbevoie (Seine) to distribute Chinese documents and notably the booklet entitled Long Live Leninism?

Comrade Jacques Duclos, before the militants of the Northeast-Seine Federation, referred to the singular alliance between the Chinese and Albanian leaders. Can he be ignorant of the fact that in March 25, 1961, at St.-Denis, the very active comrade ... gave a lecture on the glories of the New Albania and the very considerable socialist successes that it is supposed to have achieved, and that this lecture was presided over by comrade Auguste Gil-lot, mayor of this important working-class municipality and member of the Central Financial Control Commission of the French Communist party?

Likewise, it appears scarcely credible that the leadership of the French Communist party should be unaware of the ties of certain employes of the Central Committee or of its press organs.

Comrade ..., an editor of New Democracy, the monthly magazine of the French Communist party, had a perfect right to take a long study trip to People’s China for that review, which published his very favorable impressions. But his trips to Berne, to the “consular” representatives of People’s China installed in Switzerland, are less “public.” Can they be ignored?

It is perfectly natural for the wife of comrade ..., teacher and communist municipal councilor at A..., to study the Chinese language. But are the ties of this simple municipal councilor, this local officer of a teachers union, with important “charges d’affaires” of People’s China equally natural?

Is it by simple nostalgia for his past missions in Malaya, Indonesia, or Indochina that comrade ..., called ..., adds to his permanent responsibilities with the Editions Sociales those of liaison agent with representatives of the Chinese Communist party outside of the normal channels of the French Communist party?

How can it be that in analyzing the errors or fundamental deviations committed by the review Economics and Politics no one had the curiosity to inquire whether the trips to Berne of certain of its editors were without any relationship to the incriminated deviations?

Comrades ... might rightfully wonder that no questions have ever been put to them, and so might that comrade who for the past several months benefiting from an exceptional quantity of advertising by firms of People’s China, has felt no need to see the advertisers from the other Popular democracies in order to “vary” the back cover of New Democracy a bit.

It is not habitual for members of the French Communist party long to keep international relationships outside of the organs of the party and the party congress. Comrade ... can be an exception, like comrade ..., and no one is astonished, etc., etc.

If some of the leaders of the French Communist party have a tendency to reason along the same lines as the leaders of the Albanian Communist party – who unite with the Chinese leaders because of their common hostility to the Yugoslavs – and thus seek to support anyone willing to combat the spirit of the Twentieth Congress and the new leadership of the Communist party of the Soviet Union, they are making an awfully bad error of judgment. They would be very wrong not to reflect on the disastrous consequences that might follow from their collusive neutrality toward the actions of the disruptionists of the “Chinese faction” in the French Communist party.

It is up to the French communists to see the danger to their own party – the most consistent party of Western Europe – and to the world Communist movement posed by the disruptionist maneuvers and the undermining activities of a faction opposed to the principles defined in common and adopted according to the Leninist rules of communist democracy.

The responsibility of the leaders is shared by those militants who hold positions in certain international organizations, such as the Peace Movement, the World Federation of Trade Union, the “Franco-Chinese Friendship Society,” the “Franco-Albanian” society, etc. This was seen at the time of the International Conference of Jurists in Sofia when, on the pretext of the necessity to reinforce the aid given to the Algerian National Liberation Front, we saw the delegates of People’s China proselytizing directly in favor of their minority theses.

A communist contacted by a representative of a brother Communist party has the duty to send him back to his leaders by recalling to him the process of exchanges set forth by the Declaration of the eighty-one parties.

The duty of a French communist is to oppose anything that might constitute meddling of another party into the internal affairs of his own.

On this point the Declaration of the Eighty-one Communist parties was absolutely unanimous and categorical:

“The Marxist-Leninist parties are all equal and have equal rights; they elaborate their policy on the basis of the concrete conditions of their own country, inspired by the principles of Marxism-Leninism.”

It no less categorically condemned certain attempts of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia to win support for its theses by disseminating them within the ranks of other Communist and Workers parties:

“The Yugoslav revisionists are indulging in subversive actions against the socialist camp and the world communist movement.”

What is valid for the Yugoslavs is valid also for the others, from the moment when they start to indulge in the condemned practises.

“The interests of the communist movement demand the solidarity of each and every Communist party in observance of the analyses and conclusions in regard to the general tasks of the struggle against imperialism, for peace, democracy and socialism, worked out in common by the brother parties in their conferences,” stated the Declaration.

The communists of France, simple militants, officials at various levels, or publicists, will understand the importance of the facts to which this document has now drawn their attention.

Attentively re-reading the Declaration of the Workers and Communist parties which was proclaimed as the current program of the world communist movement, they will be on watch to defend and strengthen, as the apple of their eyes, the indispensable ideological unity of the world communist movement.

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Last updated on 22 May 2009