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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 29, 1961

INFORMATION ON THE MEETING WITH COMRADE CHEN YI

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    Chen Yi, Politburo member and minister of foreign affairs of the PRC, and Reis Malile, Albanian Ambassador to the PRC, discussed the relations between Albania, China, Soviet Union, and Vietnam.
    "Information on the Meeting with Comrade Chen Yi," August 29, 1961, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Central State Archive, Tirana, AQPPSH-MPKK-V. 1961, D. 14. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/110805
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INFORMATION ON THE MEETING
WITH COMRADE CHEN YI

Following, in brief, we are writing on the conversation that comrade Chen Yi, member of the [Albanian Party of Labour Central Committee (ALP CC)] Political Bureau and minister of foreign affairs of the PRC had on 29 August 1961 with [Albanian ambassador to China] comrade Reis Malile. (Since comrade Reis Malile left urgently and unexpectedly for Vietnam, we are writing the notes of the conversation with comrade Chen Yi as they were kept by comrade Gaqo Pojani, who also assisted in the abovementioned conversation.)

“We are very happy for the correct and determined position of the ALP, comrade [ALP First Secretary] Enver Hoxha and [Chairman of the Ministerial Council and Member of the Political Bureau of the ALP CC] comrade Mehmet Shehu. The correct position of your party is in the interest of the entire socialist camp. The fact that you are not and will not pull back from your position in the face of the pressures and the blackmailing is also the correct course and a great contribution. The position of the ALP in differentiating between Khrushchev, the CPSU and the Soviet people is correct. Your silence, avoiding of the open revelation of contradictions and of all the blackmailing and the pressures exerted by Khrushchev is also correct. If in the future Khrushchev will speak openly against Albania and about the disagreements that exist (he is talking about the possibility of the expulsion from the Warsaw Pact and the eventual attacks that may openly be directed toward us in the 22nd Congress of the CPSU), then your opinion that you should openly answer to this situation is also correct.

“The ALP and the Albanian people have been strengthened and become steelier by all the unfair actions and the pressures of Khrushchev. They (the leadership of the CPSU) act in an unfair way in their intentions of making the ALP kneel and become docile. Their position is in open opposition to the lessons of Marxism – Leninism. In their rapport and relations with the imperialists, they make compromises. The same goes for Yugoslavia. But toward Albania, which is a socialist country, they make no effort to reconcile.

“The ALP, if it continues to stay on a course like the one it has followed so far, will undoubtedly be successful. You have acted very correctly against their intentions. They want to subordinate a small nation and base this on the wrong notion of being a large, powerful and rich nation.

“I fully support your stance against the Soviet Union. On this issue (the guarding of the principles) we also stand in such a determined position.

Answering to the thanks by our party and people for the large assistance that the CCP and the Chinese people give us delivered by comrade Reis Malile, comrade Chen Yi said, “As to what you said about the assistance that you receive from us, that is an international duty and it is imperative that we act this way. You said that the assistance that we are giving to you is a life-savior to you, but in this case we are acting according to the principles of Marxism – Leninism and against those that are trying to change them.

“Do not get scared from any pressure against you, because your course is the correct one. We will criticize the CPSU not whether it is strong or not, not whether the Soviet Union is a powerful country or not. We will criticize it because of the incorrect course that it follows.

“We have said to the Soviet comrades that they are wrong in hating the ALP simply because it has criticized them. It is a grave mistake on their part to want people who they expect to always applaud them. Either way, the more time that passes, the clearer it will become to the peoples of the world who has the correct course. I will transmit to the CC of our party all that you said and there is no doubt that they will be happy about your position.

* *
*

Later on, comrade Reis Malile asked about the positions of comrade Ho Chi Minh in China on his way back from Moscow and about what he thought about his not going to Albania.

“I will give you the information that you asked for and would ask you to, please, communicate them to the ALP. It is possible that my information will be useful to you on your trip to Vietnam. I accompanied comrade Ho Chi Minh for three days and spoke with him on this topic.

The words by comrade Ho Chi Minh:

“When I heard that the Albanians postponed the date of my visit, I became unhappy. Whatever the situation, the Albanians should have accepted my visit. I tried to reconcile the Albanians and the Soviet Union. I made this effort in the interest of unity, so that it may become stronger. My intentions were not to find out who was wrong and who was right, because such a thing is hard to solve at this stage in the rift. This initiative was my own and not of the Vietnamese Party.

“When I was in Moscow, Khrushchev said to me that, ‘we are willing to arrive at an agreement with the Albanians, if they would return the two submarines to us and send a delegation to Moscow for discussions.'

“I have now made all of my efforts to strengthen the unity and to reconcile the Albanians and the Soviet Union. In the future, such attempts should be taken by the Chinese comrades. Please transmit this proposal to the CCP CC.

The words of comrade Chen Yi spoken to comrade Ho Chi Minh:

“The Albanian comrades had good reason to postpone the date of your visit there. Today they find themselves in a difficult situation, under continuous pressure and blackmail on the part of Khrushchev. Toward Albania, he holds an incorrect stance and follows an incorrect course. You should have understood the situation the Albanians are in.

“If you had gone at such a situation in Albania, this would have meant that the Albanians and the ALP are kneeling before Khrushchev and that would not have been fair. You were seeking to convince the Albanians to move away from their incorrect course, despite the fact that they have done nothing wrong.

“If you cannot see the differences that exist between the position of the Albanians and that of the CPSU; if you do not want to differentiate between the two, then the Albanians do not have to support you. The unification between the small and the big under such conditions cannot be successful.

“How could it be possible to solve all these disagreements if we do not put our Marxist – Leninist principles first?

“You are an old comrade of the international communist movement. You should have first talked to Khrushchev about his mistakes and criticized him, and then go to Albania. This is how your visit would have been successful.

“Why should the Albanians send a delegation to Moscow and not the Soviets since they are the ones that have been unfair to the Albanians? You should have told Khrushchev that he should send a delegation to Albania first. As far as the issue of handing over the two submarines, they, as it is well known, on the basis of recognized protocol, belong to the Albanians. Nonetheless, this is not a contentious issue in the disagreements that have sprung up. When compared to the current relations between the Albanians and the Soviets, the issue of the submarines is a very minor thing. The Soviet Union has many submarines. What problems can the two submarines in Albania cause?

“The lack of recognizing the mistakes and the refusal to send a delegation to Albania means that Khrushchev acts contrary to the lessons of Marxism – Leninism. He visited plenty of capitalist countries and Belgrade and said very nice things to them. Why then does he not do the same thing for the Albanians? This is where a friend is distinguished from an enemy. During the last meeting in Moscow, Khrushchev expelled the Albanian delegation from the proceedings saying the ALP was not at the sufficient level. You should have said to Khrushchev that what he is doing to the Albanians, even the imperialists have not done.

“Do you know that Tito is trying to destroy the PRA and the ALP? And Khrushchev is telling the Albanians that they should not fight Tito. This is an incorrect course. Stalin did a good thing by ripping Tito's mask off and fighting him as a traitor of Marxism-Leninism. Why were the naval base and specialists removed from Albania leaving her exposed in front of the imperialists? How would you have acted if such unfairness was done to Vietnam? He is trying to do the same to China too, but as you know we are a big country and here he has not had any success. In such a situation it is Albania that should absolutely be supported, not Khrushchev. If we would support Albania, we would be helping in the strengthening of unity; the opposite action would weaken it. You know well that the CCP has spared no efforts for reconciliation, but Khrushchev does not listen.

“Now in the international communist movement there has arisen a tendency much like the one that exists in the UN. There the majority of the capitalist states support the USA because it is the most powerful, the biggest and the richest state and do not take into account the devilish intentions of American imperialism. Such a thing is also happening in the international communist movement. In the Moscow Conference of the 81 Parties, the majority of them supported the CPSU because it is the strongest, the biggest and the richest without taking into account its grave mistakes.

“The truth is on our side even though we are few. The right is not always with the strongest, the richest or those that are more in numbers.

“Imperialism is undertaking all efforts to divide and destroy the socialist camp. It is using the tactic of exerting pressure at the edges of the camp, such as, for example, in Hungary, Germany, etc. You can see what is happening in the German Democratic Republic. The war has yet to start and a few million people have already escaped to the West.

“You must understand comrade Ho Chi Minh that the Albanians honor you and have a high consideration for you as an old comrade of the international communist movement. One should not get mad at them. The Albanians are very determined in their correct course. If the need presents itself, they are willing to fight until the last man.

* *
*

“All the issues that I brought up to comrade Ho Chi Minh, I mentioned because I wanted him to realize his mistakes in relation to the visit. For this reason, I also told him that at the moment the comrades of the CCP CC are busy with other problems. If fact, I half joked and told him that he and I are not of the sufficient level to discuss such issues. During this conversation Comrade Ho Chi Minh said that he had made a subjective mistake on the manner in which he had acted.

“During the conversation I noticed that comrade Ho Chi Minh's points of view had changed somewhat. At the beginning he was saying that only the Albanians are wrong in this, while later he was also saying the Soviets are also wrong. Nonetheless, as far as criticizing Khrushchev, he did not do it and was silent.

“I would ask you to transmit to comrade Enver Hoxha and comrade Mehmet Shehu that the party of Vietnam are not fully in agreement with comrade Ho Chi Minh's points of view and his method. I ask you that you keep this points in mind in your relations with them. On the other hand it must be said that Khrushchev has been able to influence comrade Ho Chi Minh. Hence it is necessary that you think how to draw in comrade Ho Chi Minh and explain all the problems that are dark to him. It would be a good think to ask comrade Ho Chi Minh to come to a visit to Albania in the near future, with the intention of drawing him in and to show him all the unfair activities that are done to you. He is a good and old comrade, but has some incorrect points of view and wavers.

“It would be a good thing if you went to Vietnam and to explain the main issues to them and the unfairness by the leadership of the CPSU. I think that Khrushchev will not declare open war upon Albania in the 22nd Congress. If he is going to do it he will do so after the Congress. It would be very favorable to keep Vietnam on our side in this situation. The struggle against Khrushchev's incorrect points of view will be a very long one and we must have patience to see it through.

“You, Comrade Reis Malile, must go to Vietnam for the [DRV anniversary] celebrations. If you will encounter any trouble for transportation to Vietnam, for example, for lack of sufficient time, then you may ask us and we will put a special plane at your disposal.”

Beijing, on 29 August 1961

(Gaqo Pojani)
[Signed]
[Seal of the Embassy of the PRA, Beijing]