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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)

  • April 02, 1958

    Record of Conversation between Polish Delegation and PRC Leader Mao Zedong, Wuhan

    Chairman Mao and Comrade Jaroszewicz changed their views about the plan to catch up with western countries, the excessive population growth, the agriculture production.

  • April 19, 1958

    From the Diary of P. F. Yudin: Memorandum of Conversation with Mao Zedong on 5 April 1958

    Conversation between P.F. Yudin, Mao Zedong, and Zhou Enlai regarding Yugoslavia's place in the international Communist community, especially Tito's inconsistency as an ally.

  • June 07, 1958

    Remarks, Mao Zedong, Concerning the Soviet Request on Establishing a Special Long-wave Radio Station in China

    Mao comments on the financial responsibility of China to cover the cost of constructing a long-wave radio station, built in collaboration with the Soviets.

  • June 21, 1958

    Address by Mao Zedong to the Enlarged Meeting of the Central Military Commission (Excerpt)

    Mao addresses the Central Military Commission to report on China's steel production, which he believes will surpass the Soviet Union's capability in seven years and the United States' in ten. He also makes it known that China will build "atom bombs, hydrogen bombs and inter-continental missiles," and believes this can be done in as few as ten years.

  • July 22, 1958

    Minutes of Conversation, Mao Zedong and Ambassador Yudin

    Mao Zedong held this conversation with Yudin in the context of the emerging dispute between Beijing and Moscow on establishing a Chinese-Soviet joint submarine flotilla.

  • July 31, 1958

    First Conversation between N.S. Khrushchev and Mao Zedong, Hall of Huaizhentan [Beijing]

    Mao Zedong and N.S. Khrushchev discuss a joint navy, use of China’s coastline and advisers in both countries.

  • August 03, 1958

    Fourth Conversation between N.S. Khrushchev and Mao Zedong, Hall of Qinjendiang [Beijing]

    Mao and Khrushchev discuss the building of American bases around the Soviet Union, nuclear weapons testing and President Eisenhower.

  • September 02, 1958

    Mao Zedong, 'Fight for National Independence and Do Away with Blind Worship of the West'

    Brazilian journalists Mariudim and Mme. Dotere speak with Mao about the prospects of stemming imperialism in Latin America, and countering Western influence. The reestablishment of diplomatic relations between China and Latin American countries, particularly Brazil, was also discussed.

  • September 05, 1958

    Speech, Mao Zedong at the Fifteenth Meeting of the Supreme State Council (excerpt)

    Mao Zedong speaks about American foreign policy and the tense international situation following the Chinese decision to begin shelling Jinmen Island in the Taiwan Strait.

  • September 08, 1958

    Speech, Mao Zedong at the Fifteenth Meeting of the Supreme State Council (excerpt)

    Mao speaks about the strategy behind the bombardment of nationalist-controlled Jinmen Island in the Taiwan Strait, stating that Taiwan is a "is a steel noose and it ties America’s neck."

  • October 02, 1958

    Memorandum of Conversation of Mao Zedong with Six Delegates of the Socialist Countries, China, 2 October 1958

    To the other delegates, Mao discusses their shared goal of defeating imperialism, primarily through peaceful methods. He stresses widespread Marxist reeducation of the Chinese people and increased Chinese industrial and agricultural production as means for improvement. Mao also reminds them that socialist nations must be firmly united under the leadership of the Soviet Union to fight colonialism and imperialism, and while the communes are necessary to organize locally, the party remains the core administrative unite of communized peoples.

  • January 12, 1959

    Cable from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, 'Summary of Conversation between Chairman Mao and Governor Sampaio of Brazil'

    President Mao Zedong exchanged views with Governor Sampaio on Chinese development, the role of Asia, Africa, and Latin America vis-a-vis the West, and Brazilian foreign policy. Mao also describes his personal studies of the English language.

  • February 21, 1959

    Mao Zedong, 'Africa's Task is to Struggle Against Imperialism'

    On February 21, 1959, in a meeting with representatives of the Union of the Populations of Cameroon and of the youths of Guinea, Kenya and Madagascar, Mao Zedong argued that Africa's task is to struggle against imperialism and that the people of various countries should assist and support African people in the struggle for liberation.

  • October 02, 1959

    Record of Conversation of N. S. Khrushchev with CC CCP Chairman Mao Zedong, Deputy Chairma Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai, Zhu De, Lin Biao, Politburo Members Peng Zhen and Chen Yi, and Secretariat Member Wang Jiaxiang

    Record of conversation between Nikita Khrushchev and top Chinese Communist Party leaders. Khrushchev blames the Chinese for the border conflict with India and for allowing the Dalai Lama to escape from Tibet. The two sides argue over how the Chinese should have handled these problems, with Mao accusing the Soviet Union of being "time-servers."

  • October 02, 1959

    Discussion between N.S. Khrushchev and Mao Zedong

    Khrushchev and Mao discuss current political situations in Tibet, India, Indochina and Taiwan.

  • October 14, 1959

    Record of Conversation between Polish Delegation and PRC Leader Mao Zedong, Beijing

    Mao Zedong briefs Aleksander Zawadzki on China's socialist transformation.

  • October 14, 1959

    From the Journal of Ambassador S.F. Antonov, Summary of a Conversation with the Chairman of the CC CPC Mao Zedong

    October 1959 conversation between Mao Zedong and the Soviet diplomat and sinologist S.F. Antonov, in which Mao attempted to reassure the Soviets that China would not provoke war with the United States or with its Asian neighbors. In his conversation with Antonov, Mao attempts to lessen the impact of China’s displeasure with Soviet policies. He tries hard to show his agreement with Moscow on every issue—the United States, Taiwan, India, Tibet, disarmament.

  • October 22, 1959

    Letter of Hungarian Ambassador Sándor Nógrádi to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry on the Meeting of Hungarian President István Dobi and Mao Zedong

    In their conversation, Dobi and Mao Zedong discussed politicial, economic, and agricultural development in Hungary and China, and compared opposition to the current Great Leap Forward in China to the 1956 uprising in Hungary.

  • December, 1959

    Mao Zedong, Outline for a Speech on the International Situation

    Draft of a speech by Mao Zedong, criticizing Khrushchev for his revisionism and for fearing Chinese Communism. Lists the occasions on which the Soviet Union has failed to support China, and extols the concept of continuous revolution.

  • April 28, 1960

    Excerpts of the Memorandum of the Conversation between Mao Zedong and Blas Roca Calderio, the Party Secretary of the Popular Socialist Party of Cuba

    A diplomatic conversation between Chairman Mao and Calderio from Cuba. They discuss the China-Cuba relations, economic aid to Cuba and Cuba's relations with other Central American and Latin America countries.