Courtesy Reuters

The long-heralded and twice-postponed conference between the Chinese and Soviet Communist spokesmen, held at Moscow in July, was overshadowed, at least for the outside world, by the dramatic publication of the exchange of letters between the two Central Committees. The breakup of the conference was hardly softened by halfhearted assertions of a mutual intention to continue the discussions. It is hard to discern any useful topics for new negotiations until one or another or both parties to the quarrel have made some rather drastic changes in their ideological claims or their practical policy aims. The two facets are inseparable, of course. Quarrels among Communists have been a recurring feature of a movement that claims political omniscience and a monopoly of messianic foresight, and are normally clothed in recondite scholastic terms. But their ideological disputes are always waged over real questions of power and policy.

From this latest phase of the

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