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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, 1974

    Conversation with Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary, Leader and Deputy Leader of the Delegation of the National United Front and the Royal Government of National Union of Cambodia

    Mao talks with with Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary, and Prince Sihanouk. They discuss the civil war in Cambodia, the leading political figures in that country, and China's revolutionary experience.

  • June 21, 1975

    Conversation between Chinese leader Mao Zedong and Cambodian Leader Pol Pot

    Mao Zedong muses on the nature of the struggle between the capitalist and socialist forces within China. He tells Pol Pot not to blindly follow the Chinese model, but adopt Marxist theory to the Cambodian realities. Excepts.

  • June 21, 1975

    Conversation Record of Chairman Mao Zedong’s Meeting with Pol Pot, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kampuchea

    This records contains the full transcript of the talks between Mao and Pol Pot (an excerpt was originally published in CWIHP Working Paper #22, '77 Conversations between Chinese and Foreign Leaders on the Wars in Indochina'). Mao Zedong muses on the nature of the struggle between the capitalist and socialist forces within China. He tells Pol Pot not to blindly follow the Chinese model, but adopt Marxist theory to the Cambodian realities.

  • September 24, 1975

    Discussion between Mao Zedong and Le Duan

  • October 21, 1975

    Memorandum of Conversation between Mao Zedong and Henry A. Kissinger

    U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger met Chairman Mao at his residence in Peking. The two argued about the importance of U.S.-Chinese relations in American politics. Mao repeats that the United States' concerns order America, the Soviet Union, Europe, Japan, and lastly China. Kissinger responds that the Soviet Union, as a superpower, is frequently dealt with, but in strategy China is a priority. Throughout the conversation, Mao continues to point out his old age and failing health. The leaders also discuss European unity, Japanese hegemony, German reunification, and the New York Times.

  • October 30, 1975

    Conversation between Federal Chancellor Schmidt and the Chairman of the Central Committee and the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party, Mao Zedong, in Beijing

    Federal Chancellor Schmidt and Mao Zedong discuss the potential for attack by the Soviet Union and European security.

  • December 02, 1975

    Memorandum of Conversation between Mao Zedong and Gerald R. Ford

    President Ford and Secretary Kissinger met with Chairman Mao and spoke about Chinese-U.S. relations, Japanese-U.S. relations, Chinese foreign relations with Japan and Western countries, NATO, the Sinai Agreement, and Soviet attempts to expand influence in Africa.

  • April 30, 1976

    Meeting between Mr. Muldoon and Mao Zedong at Chairman Mao's Residence, 30 April 1976

    An ailing Mao Zedong and Robert Muldoon discuss China's recent nuclear tests and agree that the Soviet Union is a common threat for both China and New Zealand. Both Mao himself and the note-takers from New Zealand make frequent mention to the Chairman's deteriorating health.