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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 19, 1965


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    Speech on China's state of preparations for war with the United States.
    "Liu Shaoqi, 'Speech at the Reception of the Comrades of the Central Military Commission War Planning Meeting'," May 19, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Dang de wenxian (Party Historical Documents) no. 3 (1995): 40. Translated by Qiang Zhai.
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Speech at the Reception of the Comrades of the Central Military Commission War Planning Meeting (Excerpt)

(29 May 1965)

Liu Shaoqi

The enemy has many contradictions, weaknesses, and difficulties. Its problems are no less than ours. If our preparations are faster and better, war can be delayed. The enemy will find it difficult to invade. If we make excellent preparations, the enemy may even dare not to invade. If it does not invade, we will not fight out. Such a prospect is not impossible. But we must work hard to achieve this goal. We must build the big Third Front and the small Third Front and do a good job on every front, including the atomic bomb, the hydrogen bomb, and long-distance missiles. Under such circumstances, even if the United States has bases in Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines, its ships are big targets out on the sea and are easy for us to strike. We should develop as early as possible new technology to attack aircraft and warships so that we can knock out one enemy ship with a single missile. Our Red Flag 1 and Red Flag 2 can shoot down the enemy's high-altitude airplanes. If we have assurance to shoot down high-altitude airplanes, we can have more assurance to knock down low-altitude ones. The enemy's strength lies in its navy, air force, atomic bombs, and missiles, but the strength in navy and air force has its limits. If the enemy sends ground troops to invade China, we are not afraid. Therefore, on the one hand we should be prepared for the enemy to come from all directions, including a joint invasion against China by many countries. On the other hand we should realize that the enemy lacks reasons and justifications in sending troops. If the enemy invades us without our attacking it first, the enemy's morale cannot be high. This will decide the difference between a just and an unjust war.

In addition, there is the issue of increasing the size of troops. In order to build fortifications, we can organize some engineer units. After working for a period and completing fortifications, they can be dismissed. Troops engaged in agricultural production and divisions on semi war alert should also construct fortifications. Production troops are busy with agricultural work, but during slack seasons they should spend most of their time building fortifications. This means that they can work on fortifications for half a year in North China and for four to five months in the Yangtze valley. If war begins and we have to expand troops, we just need a mobilization. This matter will be easy. At the moment, we need to do a good job in organizing militia forces.

What we cannot have time to prepare when war begins includes fortification construction, third fronts, bases as well as communications, a reconnaissance network, and new technology. We must pay attention to these issues. We should start work on the big Third Front, the small Third Front, material storage, state-of-the-art technology, scientific investigation, and research on new weapons. If we delay work on these matters, we will find ourselves unprepared later. To do these things needs time.

As to the issues of the size of troops, the number of military regions, and a unified leadership between the local civilian government and the military, we can have time to deal with them when war begins. Some of the issues will be dealt with only after the enemy has invaded our country. In case that the enemy occupies the Longhai Railroad, or the Yangtze valley, or the Jinghan Railroad, or the Jinpu Railroad, our country will then be divided into sections. If that happens, we have to practice a unified leadership of the party, the government and the army. But this will be decided at that time, not now. With trains and airplanes at its disposal, the enemy will not do things according to our methods. Only when that time comes will our leadership go to mountains. At present, the leadership must live in the city because it will be inconvenient if it does not live in the city. Only when a large number of enemy troops invades China and cuts us into parts will the leadership go to the mountains. It will not do that when China is not cut into parts. For instance, if the enemy does not occupy cities like Xian and Tongguan, Shaanxi will not create a Shaanan Military region and a Shaanbei military region. The leadership will decide on this matter after the enemy has invaded, and there is time to do that. There is also time to mobilize troops. At present, we can begin the organization of the militia....[the rest of the speech is about how to organize the militia].


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