Cooperatives and Cooperation: Highlights from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995

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Two of the fundamental tenets of communism at the international level were that communist countries worked together to achieve their mutual ends, and that their economic and political development was peaceful rather than imperialistic.

From 1957 to 1960, as the dust settled from uprisings in Hungary and Poland, things were relatively tranquil within the Eastern Bloc. At a greater remove—and especially with regard to China—fraternal relationships and a unified front were a bit more difficult to maintain. Still, prior to 1960 the Sino-Soviet argument over communist “peaceful coexistence” with capitalist countries had not yet reached a critical point.

The Cuban Missile Crisis was a few years off, the U2 Incident (May 1960) was just over the horizon, the echoes of Secretary Khrushchev’s 1956 threat to “bury” the West had largely subsided, and he had not yet pounded a UN podium with his shoe. So in this month’s highlights from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995, we’ll witness communist countries generally playing nicely on the international stage.


The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, Charter and Convention

Vedomosti Verkovnogo Soveta Soyuza Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik (Gazette of the USSR Supreme Soviet), Moscow, Vol. XXIII No. 15, April 1960. 19 pages

This report provides the text for the Charter of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (1959), and a related convention. The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, known in the West as Comecon, was the socialist answer to the European Economic Community (EEC). It was founded in 1949 and lasted until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

It was thought that if the communist countries could coordinate their economic planning and production among themselves, that they would reap efficiency gains similar to those envisioned in the centralization of their national economies. Although this was not always the effective result collectively, Comecon did facilitate trade between individual countries within the Eastern Bloc.


The Havana Declaration, Banner of the Struggle of the People of Latin America

Ta Kung Pao (Impartial Daily), Peiping, 6 September 1960. 8 pages

The Havana Declaration was a Cuban expression of socialist solidarity with Latin American states against U.S. imperialism. It was drafted in response to the Declaration of San Jose (1960), in which the Organization of American States rejected Soviet and Chinese intervention in the Western Hemisphere.

Given the Chinese origin of this report, the reader can guess where the author’s sympathies lie.

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Science and Diplomacy

Gakujutsu Geppo (Scientific Monthly), Tokyo, Vol. XII No. 5, August 1959. 27 pages

In a model of understatement, the author asserts, “It is only natural that the feelings of the Japanese people about the atomic and hydrogen bomb problem should be more deeply forceful [than] those of other people because of our grave and excruciating experiences...”

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The author comes down firmly in favor of UN coordination of the research and development of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes via the International Atomic Energy Agency and other transnational organizations.  


Soviet-Chinese Friendship--Stronghold of Peace and the Security of Nations

Sovremennyye Vostok (The East Today), Moscow, No. 2, 2 February 1961. 6 pages

Soviet-Chinese Friendship is Indestructible

Politicheskoye Samoobrazovaniye (Political Self-Education), Moscow, No. 2, 1961. 7 pages

Sino-Soviet Friendship

Izvestiya (News), Moscow, 12 February 1961. 6 pages

To end on a high note, we offer a trifecta of reports celebrating Soviet-Chinese friendship as codified in the Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance (1950). But as ever in international relations, things are not quite as they appear.

Notice that the laudatory reports are all from Soviet publications. The author of the first report writes, “The ideas of peaceful coexistence, of the full and total disarmament and the prevention of a new world war are most attractive.” Not to the Chinese.

In fact, Soviet-Chinese friendship was very destructible. These reports are largely wishful thinking intended for a domestic audience—namely, propaganda. But one can readily applaud the sentiments expressed.


For more information about Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1994, or to request a trial for your institution, please contact readexmarketing[at]readex[dot]com.

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