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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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Conversations with Mao Zedong

Mao Zedong, who ruled China from October 1949 until his death in September 1976, shaped the ideological underpinnings of China's international relations and played a pivotal role in crafting relations with China's allies and enemies. This collection brings together conversations held between Mao and foreign leaders from both within and outside of the communist bloc in order to offer insights into Mao's worldview and major developments in China's domestic history and foreign relations. See also the collection: Conversations with Zhou Enlai. (Image: President Richard Nixon Shaking Hands with Chairman Mao Tse-tung, 21 February 1972, NAID 194759)

  • May 14, 1950

    Ciphered Telegram, Roshchin to Cde. Filippov [Stalin]

    Soviet Ambassador to China N.V. Roschin relays a Chinese assessment of the armed forces in North Korea and South Korea and the possibility of China and North Korea signing a treaty of friendship, alliance, and mutual aid.

  • October 07, 1950

    Ciphered Telegram No. 25348, Roshchin to Filippov [Stalin]

    Ambassador Roshchin passes a message from Mao to Stalin regarding the Chinese deployment of troops to Korea.

  • October 13, 1950

    Ciphered Telegram, Roshchin to Filippov (Stalin)

    Message to Stalin from Roshchin relaying the rationale for Mao's reversal of his earlier hesitance to send Chinese troops to the aid of the North Koreans. General plans for the deployment are stated as well as a request for arms on credit from the Soviet Union.

  • January 20, 1951

    Report from P. F. Yudin to I. V. Stalin on Meetings with the Leaders of the Communist Party of China, including Mao Zedong on 31 December 1950

    Yudin recounts his meetings with Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, and Zhou Enlai. In three meetings, Yudin learned more about China's relations with other communist parties in Asia, economic conditions in China, and developments in the Korean War.

  • June 28, 1951

    Ciphered Telegram No. 21266, Krasovsky to Cde. Filippov [Stalin]

    Telegram from Krasvosky to Stalin reporting on the conversation he had with Mao concerning the training of Chinese pilots in MIG-15s and the contruction of three airbases south of Pyongyang.

  • November 23, 1953

    Mao Zedong’s Remarks at the Banquet for the North Korean Government Delegation

    Mao Zedong discusses the significance of the signing of the Sino-North Korean Economic and Cultural Cooperation Agreement at a banquet for a North Korean government delegation. Dismissing that China's aid to North Korea is one-sided, Mao notes that North Korea "helped" China by being in the front line of the struggle against imperialism. North Korea protected China by preventing the imperialists from crossing the Yale River.

  • February 23, 1954

    From the Journal of Ambassador Pavel Yudin: Record of Conversation with Mao Zedong, 4 January 1954

    A memorandum of conversation between Mao Zedong and Pavel Yudin. Yudin informs Mao about the Soviet "uncovering" of Lavrentii Beria's espionage. Mao thanks for the information and notes that it will be highly useful for China. He hints that the political atmosphere in the CCP had been "unhealthy" as some people have tried to use others' mistakes to undermine their reputation. In this connection, Mao refers to Zhang Guotao as a Guomindang spy, and also speculates that Wang Ming may have been recruited by the Guomindang as early as 1930.

  • March 31, 1954

    From the Journal of Ambassador Pavel Yudin: Memorandum of Conversation with Mao Zedong, 26 March 1954

    Chairman Mao and Soviet Ambassador Pavel Yudin discuss the "Gao Gang affair." Mao recounts Gao Gang's scheming within the ranks of the CCP, and how he tried to use Mao's name to attack Liu Shaoqi and Zhou Enlai.

  • May 17, 1954

    Report of András Szobek to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry About His Meeting With Mao Zedong on 20 April 1954

    Szobek reports on a meeting with Mao Zedong in which they discussed developments in Hungary.

  • July 05, 1954

    From the Journal of V. V. Vaskov, 27 August 1954: Top Secret Memorandum of Conversation with Comrade Mao Zedong on 5 July 1954

    Soviet Charge d’Affaires in Beijing V.V. Vaskov and Comrade Mao Zedong discuss the Soviet plans to take advantage of the changing situation in France. Mao mentions that Zhou is meeting with Ho Chi Ming and Vo Nguyen Giap in Guanxi and won't be able to come to Geneva until July 12-13. The topic of conversation then shifts to the US and a recent meeting between US President Eisenhower and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Mao notes that there is a diverge between Eisenhower and Churchill regarding the desirability of a dialogue with the Communists. Mao says that the US has dispersed its forces far and wide, so they are trying to resurrect West Germany and Japan.

  • October 19, 1954

    Minutes of Chairman Mao Zedong’s First Meeting with Nehru

    Mao Zedong and Nehru discuss Sino-Indian relations, the political situation in Asia, and the role of the United States in world politics.

  • October 21, 1954

    Minutes of Chairman Mao Zedong’s Conversation with Nehru at the Banquet Hosted by the Indian Ambassador

    Mao Zedong and Nehru talked about mutual cooperation and the Tibetan issue. Mao stated that cooperation has to be mutually beneficial. He then promised a small number of troops to guard Tibet, and Ambassador Raghavan replied that India trusts China on the Tibet issue.

  • October 23, 1954

    Minutes of Chairman Mao Zedong’s Second Meeting with Nehru

    Mao and Nehru have an extensive discussion about global affairs, the legacy of World War II, and the likelihood of another world war.

  • October 26, 1954

    Minutes of Chairman Mao Zedong’s Third Meeting with Nehru

    Om the final day of Nehru's visit, he and Mao discuss Soviet technical assistance and relations with Burma.

  • January 17, 1955

    From the Journal of Ambassador Pavel Yudin: Record of Conversation with Mao Zedong on 8 January 1955

    A conversation with Soviet Ambassador to China Pavel Yudin and Mao Zedong concerning then-current Sino Soviet relations. Topics included commitment of Party cadres to the Marxist-Leninist ideal, a meeting in Jakarta between prime ministers of India, Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), and Indonesia, and how to counterbalance the United States in Asia and Africa.

  • January 28, 1955

    Mao Zedong, 'The Chinese People Cannot Be Cowed by the Atom Bomb'

    Mao Zedong spoke to the Finnish Ambassador Carl-Johan Sundstrom on the history of Chinese wars with European powers and states that China and Finland have had friendly relations. He then addressed the possibility of the U.S. waging an atomic war over Taiwan and how Chinese would respond. Finally, Mao foreshadowed the downfall of U.S. and British ruling classes to the end of tsarist Russia and Chiang Kai-shek should the United States enter another world war.

  • March 12, 1955

    From the Journal of Ambassador Pavel Yudin: Record of Conversation with Mao Zedong on 8 March 1955

    A conversation between Soviet Ambassador to China Pavel Yudin and Mao Zedong. Topics of discussion included the writing of an article for Pravda regarding Lenin's influence of the Chinese Revolution, the Gao Gang Affair, and the recent break between Josip Tito's Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union.

  • May 25, 1955

    From the Journal of Ambassador Pavel Yudin: Memorandum of Conversation with Mao Zedong, 25 May 1955

    A conversation between Mao Zedong and Soviet Ambassador to China Pavel Yudin. Among topics of discussion were developments on the Gao Gang Affair and anti communist activities in China.

  • May 30, 1955

    From the Journal of Ambassador Pavel Yudin: Memorandum of Conversation with Mao Zedong on 30 May 1955

    A conversation held between Soviet Ambassador to China Pavel Yudin and Mao Zedong. The discussion primarily concerned the activity of the peasantry in China joining collective farms, the development of the agricultural sector of the economy, and Chinese food aid to India and Burma.

  • June 30, 1955

    Conversation of Mao Zedong and the Yugoslav Ambassador V. Popovic

    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.