Sudan Affair May Be Splitting Soviet Government and Communist Party

The Sudanese affair has precipitated a serious crisis between the Soviet Union and a number of influential Communist Parties abroad. According to top members of the Communist Party here, a crisis is also brewing in Moscow where, for the first time in history, the Party and the Government have different interests and advocate opposite policies. Members of the French Communist Party told JTA that since the start of the Sudanese affair they have been in “constant” contact with Central Committee in Moscow. Both the French and Italian Communist Parties have presented their views and pressed their Soviet colleagues for “speedy and energetic action” to show that “Communist cannot be murdered with impunity” especially in countries which depend economically and politically on the Soviet Union “and its Communist Party.” Both the French and the Italians report in the course of private conversations that they have found “full understanding” in Moscow where Party organs moreover fear that lack of Soviet action would undermine the prestige of the Party in all underdeveloped countries, in Africa and Asia, and help boost the influence of the Chinese line.

These West European Communist sources moreover say that the Soviet Party organs also want the Soviet Union to act not only against Sudan but also against Egypt and Syria which, in spite of a personal plea from President Nikolai Podgorny, have failed to intervene in order to save from the gallows the Secretary of the Sudanese Communist Party and the other executed Party officials. “The Party would like the Soviet Government to clearly indicate its displeasure in both Cairo and Damascus in a tangible and concrete form” say these Communist sources. They report that the Soviet Government has not yet decided on a definite course of action, but both the Ministry of Defense and that of Foreign Affairs have strongly advised against any such action which, they fear, would put Russian influence in jeopardy and could help push Egypt into the American camp. JTA understands from these sources that the Secretary General of the French Communist Party, Georges Marchais, has personally been assured by Soviet Party leaders that they do “all they can” and that further action on their part could, for the first time in Soviet history, bring about an open split between the interests of the Party and those of the Government.

In the meantime, West European Communist Parties openly make know their “anger.” Today the French Communist daily “L’Humanite,” for the third consecutive day. devoted its entire front page and three quarters of its last, to the “Sudanese massacre.” Seven to eight thousand French Communists last night responded to a call from the French Communist Party and the CGT trade union to demonstrate against the “savage and barbarous Sudanese repression.” Party Secretary Marshals openly warned Sudan of Communist “revenge” and implicitly warned Soviet leaders that “the Arabs whom we have always supported, must be made to realize how much they owe the Communist movement.” In Italy, the Communist daily “L’Unita” adopted a similar line and the Central Committee of the Italian Communist Party has joined its French colleagues both in pressing Moscow for action and in dispatching protest after protest to Khartoum, Cairo and Damascus. Chinese diplomats in both these Western capitals have also renewed their contacts with the official Communist leadership after a break of several years. These secret contacts apparently were hold in order to try and plan a joint line for the Arab world.

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