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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 27, 1961

INFORMATION ON THE MEETING WITH COMRADE CHEN YI

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    Chen Yi, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PRC and a member of the CCP CC Politburo, met with the Albanian Ambassador to PRC Reis Malile about the relations between Soviet Union and other socialist countries, particularly China and Albania. They also talked about the Geneva Conference on Laos, the Soviet-US negotiation on the Laos issue, the Soviet economic assistance, and Chinese internal situations.
    "Information on the Meeting with Comrade Chen Yi," July 27, 1961, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Central State Archive, Tirana, AQPPSH-MPKK-V. 1961, D. 22. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/110798
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Beijing, on 27 July 1961

No. 41 Secret

Contents: Information on the meeting with comrade Chen Yi

TO THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
TIRANA

On 25 July 1961 I was received for a meeting by comrade Chen Yi, member of the Political Bureau of the CCP CC, [and] Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PRC. In the meeting, comrade Zeng Yongquan, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs was also present, as well as some other officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At the beginning I delivered to comrade Chen Yi the greetings from the leader comrades of our Party. He thanked me and asked how they were. I answered, “They are very well. They are better than they have ever been before.” Comrade Chen Yi laughed out loud and said, “That is correct. Very well.” Then he told me that he was very well informed about our present relations with the Soviet Union, at which point I spoke to him in brief about this issue and told him that, “the Soviet leadership has used all the methods at its disposal. Except for the pressures, which have been continuous, they have also initiated a [policy of] military, political and economic isolation toward us, but they have not been successful. We will see what they will do in the future.” Comrade Chen Yi answered that, “the Soviet leaders will try to make Albania kneel and to lower China's prestige, but they will not be successful. The Albanian proverb – better be dead on your feet, than alive on your knees – has now become popular throughout China. They have isolated both our countries and call us dogmatic, but in reality the majority of the rest support us because the right is on our side. The war and struggle temper the person. Without war and without struggle the person becomes a revisionist.”

Then I asked comrade Chen Yi how the Geneva Conference on Laos had proceeded. Comrade Chen Yi answered that “the issue of Laos is a serious problem and it is not simple to solve. The imperialists are dead set on their positions. The cooperation with the Soviet comrades in Geneva was good, to a certain degree, but the Soviets are not too keen on consulting. They come up with their own approaches and insist on them. This is what actually happened with their approach to the Laos issue in Geneva. But, there, the Soviets did not openly speak against the American imperialism. As far as the negotiations that the Soviets are having with the Americans on the issue of disarmament, etc,” comrade Chen Yi said that, “despite the lengthy discussions, the Americans will not back down from their position on these issues.”

Later the discussion on how we understand the issue of the assistance by the Soviet Union was opened. At this point I pointed out the issue of assistance as a tool of pressure by the Soviets against our country. Comrade Chen Yi said that their approach on this issue was a mistake. He added that when he was in Moscow, on his return trip from Geneva, he had spoken to [Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A.] Gromyko regarding the assistance that the Soviets gave to the Indians. “I asked Gromyko, ‘what do you think of the position of India. Will it ever come to our side?' Gromyko answered, ‘Under these conditions India will never come to our side.' So I asked him again, ‘Then why are you helping India with large sums at a time when it does not support our politics?' Gromyko just shrugged his shoulders.” Comrade Chen Yi then continued, “This politics is unusual. On the one hand they give the Indians money and of this nothing comes out because the Indians support the imperialists. On the other [hand], they ask for money from us, the Chinese. To us,” he said, “the Soviet Union has given economic assistance to the tune of a total of about 5 billion rubles, plus three billion more rubles for armaments. They are asking for all those back. We suffered casualties in Korea. When we left, we left behind all our armaments with a total value of more than $600 million and for this we did not ask of the Korean comrades the smallest payment. The Soviet leaders understand the issue of assistance in the most unusual way.”

Comrade Chen Yi also spoke in brief about the situation in China. He said that that the drought in China was unusually severe and that they were having great difficulties. In answering my question of what is happening with the wheat they were going to buy from Canada, since the Americans have been exerting pressure on the Canadian government to not deliver the wheat to China, he said that it is true that the Americans are exerting great pressure, but that, despite this, “we will get our wheat. The Canadians will give it to us. We trade with a lot of countries and we also buy from all the capitalist countries, even from the Americans – through third parties – even though the Americans say that they do not want to have trade relations with us.”

In the end, comrade Chen Yi, in a very determined way and with optimism, reiterated once more that we are very strong and that we will win, because the right is on our side. Aside from our two parties, there are also a large number of other parties which are expressing a very healthy behavior. He enumerated a list of communist parties of Asian countries (which showed a consistent stance in the Moscow Conference) including here the Workers' Party of Vietnam, too.

THE AMBASSADOR
(Reiz Malile)