2019 年 2019 巻 48 号 p. 55-71
This paper compares three versions of Nikita Khrushchev’s secret speech: a Russian booklet that was allegedly published in 1959; the official Russian edition, published in Moscow in 1989; and the US Department of State’s version, published in English in 1956. This paper argues that although the booklet of 1959 was a forged imprint, its text cannot be summarily dismissed as false.
The official text of Khrushchev’s speech, delivered to the closed session of the 20th congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on February 25, 1956, was published by the party in 1989. A note at the end of the text mentions that it is identical to the original text from March 1, 1956 (not to the text of February 25, 1956).
The US Department of State’s version of the speech was printed in the New York Times on June 5, 1956. The text is identified as being a direct or secondary translation of the official text from March 1. Subsequent newspapers reports and research findings from the mid-1990s reveal that the original text had first passed through the hands of the Polish United Workers’ Party before reaching the Israel Security Agency, and finally the United States.
By comparing the text of the 1959 booklet, the official 1989 edition, and the US Department of State’s version concurrently, we observe the following:
(1) The 1959 edition of Khrushchev’s secret speech is a variant of the original version from March 1, 1956.
(2) A number of subtle differences in wording exist between the 1959 edition and the 1989 edition; however, these differences are so minor that they are unnoticeable in the Japanese translation.
(3) Despite these differences, the “precision” or “accuracy” of the 1959 edition is only slightly inferior to the version produced by the US Department of State. If the US Department of State’s version differs from the official one by only 5 percent, the 1959 booklet differs from the official version by approximately 7-8 percent.
(4) We present the following hypothesis to explain why the 1959 version is less accurate than the version produced by the US Department of State. Both the US Department of State’s version and the 1959 edition were derived from an identical text, which was possibly in Polish. However, while the former has a “parent-child” relationship with its original, the 1959 edition is a secondary derivative, which means that it should be considered a “grandchild” of the Polish text.