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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 30, 1955

CONVERSATION OF MAO ZEDONG AND THE YUGOSLAV AMBASSADOR V. POPOVIC

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    Conversation between Mao Zedong and Yugoslav Ambassador Popovic. Mao explains that the delay in China's recognition of Yugoslavia was because China was waiting for Yugoslavia and the USSR to mend their relations. Emphasizes the need for Communist unity and cooperation.
    "Conversation of Mao Zedong and the Yugoslav Ambassador V. Popovic" June 30, 1955, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Zhongsu guanxi dangan wenxian xuanbian [A Selection of Archival Documents on Sino-Soviet Relations], 1945-1989 (Beijing, 1997), pp. 83-4; translation from Chinese by David Wolff. Published in CWIHP Working Paper No. 30. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/118742
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Conversation of MAO ZEDONG and the Yugoslav Ambassador [V.] POPOVIC

30 June 1955

[Mao:] The Yugoslavs are a heroic people and have carried out a heroic struggle. Your party has also carried out a heroic struggle.  Your country achieved liberation, all the countries of Eastern Europe, China, and North Korea achieved liberation. Now half of Vietnam, led by Chairman Ho Chi Minh, has also achieved liberation and this all is a contribution to humanity.  It makes the imperialists unhappy.  When we quarrel, the imperialists are happy. Recently the Soviet and Yugoslav leading comrades held talks. The Soviet Union took initiative as did Yugoslavia.  The Soviet delegation received a warm welcome from the Yugoslav people and a joint statement was issued after the talks.  We and all the world’s progressive people were very happy with this joint statement.

Now we are establishing diplomatic relations with you and this is a good thing.  You recognized us long ago. Since the establishment of our country, you have supported us and this position has never altered.  Our reason for delaying the establishment of relations with you is that we hoped to mend relations with you together with the Soviet Union.  The Soviet Union has now mended its relations to you and so have we. This was a better way, so establishment of relations was delayed for a few years.  From the point of view of the international situation, now is an even more appropriate time to establish relations.

The Chinese people harbor a friendly feeling for the Yugoslav people. The Comrade Ambassador can see this while in China.

Now the deadlocked issues between the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia have already been resolved.  The international situation encouraged this solution and the improvement in mutual relations.  This is [a step] for peace and socialism, in accordance with Marxism-Leninism.  This is not to say that all views are already unanimous, but we only have to make the main views unanimous to make problems easier to manage.

We recently received Comrade Tito’s letter in which he presented you as ambassador to our country. I was very happy to get this letter.  This was not only correspondence between two countries, but also a comradely correspondence.  When Tito received our ambassador on the 27th [of June], he expressed his friendship for which I am grateful and ask you to relay this to Tito. Yugoslav and Soviet and other countries’ relations can always get a little better. We hear that Tito is preparing to visit Moscow, but we don’t know if this is true. (Popovic: This news is true.)

This is a very good thing.  History and the present require that we unite and cooperate. We still have time and there is no need to rush. It’s possible there are still unthawed spots, but in a while, they’ll slowly get better.  We want to emphasize common points, and where there is difference, we can talk slowly, opening up a discussion.  If we can’t reach consensus, we can put it aside and talk again later. We shouldn’t let it hinder relations. This is advantageous.

Our country was established late and is backwards, so the construction we are now beginning will take a long time.  We need every country’s communist party and people to help us.  We need help and we want to help.  If you discover our weak points, please tell us and we can exchange opinions.