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Digital Archive International History Declassified

February 22, 1974

ON THE QUESTION OF THE DIFFERENTIATION OF THE THREE WORLDS

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

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    Mao Zedong decsribes his Theory of Three Worlds, claiming that the “First World” is made up of the rich and nuclear armed USSR and US, the “Second World” refers to Japan, Europe, Australia, and Canada, and the “Third World” covers the undeveloped countries of Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
    "On the Question of the Differentiation of the Three Worlds," February 22, 1974, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Thee Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China and the Party Literature Research Center under the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, eds., Mao Zedong on Diplomacy (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1998), 454. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119307
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Chairman Mao Zedong (hereinafter referred to as Mao): We hope the Third World will unite. The Third World has a large population!

President Kenneth David Kaunda (hereinafter referred to as Kaunda): That’s right.

Mao: Who belongs to the First World?

Kaunda: I think it ought to be world of exploiters and imperialists.

Mao: And the Second World?

Kaunda: Those who have become revisionists.

Mao: I hold that the U.S. and the Soviet Union belong to the First World. The middle elements, such as Japan, Europe, Australia and Canada, belong to the Second World. We are the Third World.

Kaunda: I agree with your analysis, Mr. Chairman.

Mao: The U.S. and the Soviet Union have a lot of atomic bombs, and they are richer. Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada, of the Second World, do not possess so many atomic bombs and are not so rich as the First World, but richer than the Third World. What do you think of this explanation?

Kaunda: Mr. Chairman, you analysis is very pertinent and correct.

Mao: We can discuss it.

Kaunda: I think we can reach agreement without discussion, because I believe this analysis is already very pertinent.

Mao: The Third World is very populous.

Kaunda: Precisely so.

Mao: All Asian countries, except Japan, belong to the Third World. All of Africa and also Latin America belong to the Third World.

(From the verbatim record)