The fate of Mongolia, which as far back as 1907 had been the subject of confrontation between Russia, China, and Japan, had to be resolved once and for all. With its defeat in the war, Japan was out of the race. Although Russia and later the Soviet Union had recognized Chinese suzerainty and them.
On May 28, 1945, when Harry Truman, the Advisor to the President of the United States, met with Stalin in Moscow, the Kremlin leaders said they wanted to meet over two or three days with Song Ziwun, the Chinese Foreign Minister.
Pressure from the Soviets
Song, who had attended the San Francisco conference, met with the Americans to discuss what they understood “the status quo of Outer Mongolia” to mean. The Americans said that although the MPR regarded itself as independent, both China and the Soviet Union consider it part of China. But in fact, no actual cooperation between Outer Mongolia and China existed, and neither was there any kind of conflict or confrontation. This, said the Americans, is what the status quo of Outer Mongolia means.
Song came to Moscow on June 30, 1945, and immediately met with Stalin and Molotov. Stalin discussed the leasing of Port Arthur to the Soviet Union, making Dalian an international port, securing joint use of the Chinese Eastern Railway by the Soviet Union and China, and granting independence to Outer Mongolia. China did not accept any of these suggestions and in particular, it could not agree to de jure independence for Outer Mongolia. Stalin reminded him of the Yalta Treaty and threatened that the Soviet Union would not enter into war against Japan if China turned down their offer.
A few days later the leaders of the three superpowers were to meet in Potsdam to discuss the end of the war in Asia. China was under considerable time pressure.
In six meetings, Song Ziwun and Stalin failed to reach any understanding. Song flew to Chunking to meet with Chiang Kaishek as both Stalin and Molotov had left for the Potsdam meeting. Chiang Kaishek, of course, flatly refused to recognize the independence of Outer Mongolia. It was his own desire and dream, his ultimate goal- and also that of his mentor Sun Yatsen- establish the Republic of China, led by the Chinese, and in the vast territories once occupied by the Qing Empire. On the other hand, he could not bear to think what would become of his credibility if he refused. Therefore, if he could just avoid recognizing a de jure independent Mongolia, he was prepared to make concessions.
Song returned to Moscow on August 7, 1945, to resume talks with Stalin. The day before Song’s arrival in Moscow, it was announced that mankind had entered the nuclear era and that the world was on the threshold of a nuclear disaster. Song Ziwun, after returning from Chunking, suggested that Outer Mongolia be granted a high level of autonomy. He offered Outer Mongolia not only domestic independence but also the right to handle its foreign and military affairs by itself, and the right to military affairs by itself, and the right to enter independently into negotiations and treaties with the Soviet Union. In other words, he offered that the rights currently enjoyed by the MPR be preserved in the future. Since Stalin did not agree to this proposal, Song suggested that the issue of Outer Mongolia be tabled for a later time. Stalin again refused. Finally, the Chinese gave in. This put an end once and for all to the policy of Russia, China, Britain, and Japan to use Outer Mongolia as a bargaining chip against northeast Asia or Manchuria.
Specifically, it was to be used against the Chinese Eastern Railway, a policy which had endured since 1899, beginning with the treaty between British-Russia and continuing with Russian-Chinese and Japanese-Chinese treaties. Under Chinese pressure, Stalin promised not to include Outer Mongolia as a part of the Soviet Union.
Annex to the Treaty
The people of Outer Mongolia are in favor of independence. Therefore, if Japan loses the war and the results of the referendum are in agreement with independence, the Government of China shall accept the independence of Mongolia within the existing borders.
from the Treaty of Friendship and Alliance signed by Wang Shinchig from China and V. Molotov from the Soviet Union on August 14th, 1945.
The referendum was held on October 20, 1945, under the supervision of observers from the Chinese government; 487,000 people cast ballots in favor of independence, and not a single vote was cast against it. The Chinese Minister of Internal Affairs Minister came to Ulaanbaatar to observe the referendum. After the referendum, he stated “The majority of the Mongol population voted for independence. We assume, after the result of the referendum is presented by the Mongolian delegates to Chunking, that the Chinese government shall officially recognize Mongolia’s independence. After this referendum, the status of Mongolia will be official at the very least.
- 1945, February: The MPR’s status quo recognized at the Yalta Conference.
- May: The people of Mongolia celebrate the defeat of fascism.
- August 10: Mongolia declares war on Japan.
- September 2: Japan signs a treaty to surrender ending World War II.
- October 20: Referendum on independence organized amongst the Mongolian people.