U.S.S.R. Refuses to Clear Up Anti-China Rumours
[This unsigned article is reprinted from Peking Review, #4, Jan. 21, 1966, pp. 26-27.]
IT has been learnt from competent sources that Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Ping-nan received Soviet Ambassador S.G. Lapin, in Peking on January 4. He handed the Ambassador a Chinese Government memorandum to the Soviet Government concerning the fact that the Soviet side has time and again spread rumours that China hindered the transport of Soviet military aid supplies in transit to Vietnam.
The memorandum pointed out that the Chinese Government had always met the reasonable requests of the Soviet Government and had provided all possible facilities and assistance in the transport of arms in transit which were required by the Vietnamese side and which the Soviet side agreed to supply. Nevertheless, the Soviet side fabricated all sorts of rumours alleging that China obstructed the transport of Soviet military aid supplies to Vietnam and even asserting that China demanded from the Soviet Union payments in U.S. dollars for the transit of these supplies. Despite repeated advice from the Chinese side, the Soviet side indulged in such rumour-mongering with still greater zeal. Now, such rumours were spread far and wide not only in private, but were openly published in the Soviet press. This can only arouse the greatest indignation on the part of the Chinese Government and the Chinese people.
The Chinese Government demanded in all seriousness that the Soviet Government take on itself the responsibility to clear up the rumours publicly, guarantee that similar incidents will not occur in the future, and give a reply at the earliest possible date.
(The Soviet weekly Za Rubezhom, in its 50th issue in 1965, by reprinting a New York Times report, slandered China as demanding from the Soviet Union payments in U.S. dollars for the transport of aid supplies in transit to Vietnam. For details, see Peking Review, No. 1, 1966.)
The competent Chinese sources pointed out that since February 25, 1965, when the Soviet side made its first request to China, the Chinese Government has met all the requests made by the Soviet Government and confirmed by the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam for the transport of military aid supplies and technical personnel in transit to Vietnam. The Chinese railways without exception transported these supplies and personnel by special express military consignments. Every time Soviet supplies and personnel were brought to the Chinese border station, the Chinese side had at once assigned waggons for their transport from the Sino-Soviet frontier to the Sino-Vietnamese frontier, generally not exceeding 10 days. The Chinese railways did this free of charge, receiving not a single kopeck, let alone one U.S. cent from the Soviet side. Soviet personnel concerned have more than once expressed satisfaction with this. For instance, Colonel A.A. Shaitan, acting representative in China of the Soviet State Committee for Foreign Economic Relations, who was responsible for the shipments in transit, said on October 21, 1965: “We positively appreciate the efforts made by the competent Chinese organs in the matter of transporting goods in transit sent by the Soviet Union to the D.R.V.”
Recently, D.R.V. Premier Pham Van Dong also said: “Aid supplies from the Soviet Union and other fraternal socialist countries have been transported to Vietnam according to plan.”
The facts are plain and the Soviet side is well aware of them. Yet rumours about so-called Chinese obstruction to the transport of Soviet military aid supplies in transit to Vietnam came again and again from the Soviet side. Under the circumstances, it is quite reasonable and justified for the Chinese Government to demand that the Soviet Government take on itself the responsibility to clear up the rumours publicly and guarantee that similar incidents will not occur in the future.
What was astonishing was that although the Soviet weekly had undeniably printed these rumours in black and white, Ambassador Lapin made a categorical denial in his conversation with Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Ping-nan and even said that the Soviet weekly, Za Rubezhom, had “printed by mistake” the New York Times story and that the Soviet Government could not be held responsible for reports in the Soviet press.
In addition to rejecting the Chinese Government’s reasonable demand that the Soviet Government publicly clear up these rumours and guarantee not to manufacture them any more, Ambassador Lapin went so far as to unjustifiably refuse to accept the memorandum of the Chinese Government. On January 9, 1966, the Chinese Foreign Ministry delivered the Chinese Government’s memorandum to the Soviet Embassy in China. On the following day, the Soviet Embassy in China returned the Chinese Government’s memorandum to the Chinese Foreign Ministry. On January 11, the Chinese Government dispatched the memorandum to the Soviet Foreign Ministry through the Chinese Embassy in the Soviet Union. On the same day, the Soviet Foreign Ministry returned the memorandum to the Chinese Embassy in the Soviet Union. This practice on the part of the Soviet side cannot but he regarded as a new step along the road of worsening state relations between China and the Soviet Union.
Competent Chinese sources pointed out that it was already crystal clear that the Soviet side had spread the rumours about the alleged hindrance by China to the transit of Soviet military aid supplies to Vietnam. Obviously, it has its ulterior motives in endlessly doing this. To put it bluntly, its purpose is to vilify China, sow discord in the relations between China and Vietnam and serve U.S. imperialism. No matter how obstinately the Soviet Government may refuse to accept the Chinese Government’s memorandum and refuse to clear up these rumours publicly, the result can only be that the more it tries to cover up, the more it reveals itself.
(Hsinhua News Agency, January 15.)