Secret Sino-Soviet Negotiations on Outer Mongolia, 1918-1925

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Secret Sino-Soviet Negotiations on Outer Mongolia, 1918-1925

Politics is always full of secrets the government don’t want us to know about; this has been the case since ancient times and continues right into our present time. It is only years afterwards that the general public are made aware of them.

In May 1924, China and the Soviet Union agreed that “The Government of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics recognises that Outer Mongolia is an integral part of the Republic of China and respects China’s sovereignty there”. The Soviet also agreed to withdraw her troops in a month’s time but by November, Soviet troops had completely dominated Outer Mongolia and helped establish the Mongolian People’s Republic.

The period leading up to this can be divided into five points – Russia’s expansion into Outer Mongolia after 1911, the Soviet government’s unequal treaty with Outer Mongolia in 1921, the Soviet’s attempts to get China to recognise the 1915 tsarist tripartite treaty on Outer Mongolia (with little success), in 1923 – 24 the Soviet promised to abolish tsarist treaties but resorted to secret diplomacy to maintain them, and finally, when the new USSR’s envoy to Peking signed a secret treaty with China where China recognised the tripartite treaties.

After the October Revolution, the Soviet renounced Russia’s Imperialistic unequal-treaties with China in order to open first diplomatic ties with Peking (Beijing). In July 1918, Georgii Chicherin presented a proposal before the Fifth Congress of the Soviets which would satisfy China’s desire to abolish all former Sino-Russian treaties: “We renounce the conquests of the tsarist government in Manchuria and we restore the sovereign rights  of China in this territory … we agree to renounce all land-rights of our citizens in China, Mongolia”.

On the 25th July 1919, the Soviet government issued a manifesto that promised China that the Soviet government renounced “all annexations of foreign lands, any subjugation of other nations, and indemnities whatever”.

On the 2nd October 1920, Karakhan met with a Chinese mission under the leadership of General Chang Ssu-lin. Here he presented the Chinese general with the second manifesto which stated that certain conditions must be met before the Soviet government would be willing to open up relations with China. This second manifesto stated that all former Sino-Russian treaties were now null and void. In April 1924, the Soviet government agreed that “The Soviet Government renounces everything seized by the tsarist government in China, Manchuria and in other places”.

Although the treaty signed in May 1924 agreed that the Soviet troops were to leave Outer Mongolia, they in fact stated. “The Soviet Union tightened its hold over Outer Mongolia during September 1924, when a purge organised by the Revolutionary Youth League, an organisation “entirely dominated by Soviet Advisers and more particularly the head of the Secret Police”.

On the 25th November 194, the Mongolian People’s Republic was officially founded.


Elleman, Bruce A. (1993 – 1994) Secret Sino-Soviet Negotiations on Outer Mongolia, 1918-1925, Pacific Affairs, Pacific Affairs, University of British Columbia.


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