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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 21, 1961


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    Albanian Ambassador to China Reis Malile and Dong Biwu, a member of the CCP CC Politburo, talked about the economic condition in Albania, the issue of the removal of the Soviet military naval base from Vlora, and the concept of peaceful coexistence in Marxist-Leninism.
    "Information Memorandum, Meeting between Albanian Ambassador to China Reis Malile and Comrade Dong Biwu," July 21, 1961, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Central State Archive, Tirana, AQPPSH-MPKK-V. 1961, D. 22. Obtained for CWIHP by Ana Lalaj and translated for CWIHP by Enkel Daljani.
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No. 38 Secret

Contents: Information on the meeting with comrade Dong Biwu


On 18 July, I arrived in Beijing to start my new duty. The next day I paid a visit to the vice director of protocol, Ghe Bou Hai and to the deputy minister of foreign affairs, Zhen Yongquan. On 20 July, I handed the credential papers to the vice president of the PRC, comrade Dong Biwu, a member of the [CCP CC] Political Bureau and one of the founders of the CCP. The usual formalities were quite simple, in fact, following the local protocol, the speeches were not even read. Their texts were exchanged before the ceremony according to protocol.

Comrade Dong Biwu received me in a very friendly manner. During the conversation, I, initially, transmitted to him the greetings from comrade [First Secretary of the Albanian Party of Labour (ALP)] Enver Hoxha, comrade [Chairman of the Ministerial Council and Member of the Political Bureau of the ALP CC] Mehmet Shehu and comrade Haxhi Lleshi, as well as the thanks from our people, our party and our government for the great help that is given us by the PRC. He thanked me for the greetings and at the same time asked me to transmit our leader comrades his most sincere greetings. As to the matter of the thanks I transmitted, he received them almost completely silently. Then he spoke at length on the development of the PRC, on the achieved economic plans, the development of industry, agriculture, and culture, and on the difficulties that are faced at the moment in the country's economy due to the natural disasters. He said that these disasters have forced them to even make changes in their economic planning and now the primary attention has turned into the agriculture. “We,” he said, “for many years have been able to secure our bread in-country, but this year we imported it and will be forced to import it for a few more years in the future.” He added that due to the natural disasters, they have been forced to postpone the publishing of the plan for this year, but that very soon the Assembly shall convene and the plan shall be published. Later he spoke with admiration about our party and her unwavering, Marxist-Leninist stance and added that “the Albanian comrades work well.”

I thanked him for the kind words that he said about our party and assured him that nothing will make it waver from the correct course. I spoke briefly to him on the achievements in our country, and, wanting to steer the conversation toward the problems that preoccupy us, I mentioned to him that at the moment the enemies of our country have increased their attacks and that some individuals who act like communists in their behavior against us, are in fact playing the enemy's game. Comrade Dong Biwu said, “You are right. The same situation is also happening with us. What is happening to you today, has been happening to our party and country for several years now in various forms and means.” After this, I informed him in brief about the anti Marxist stance of the Soviet leadership against our party and people, listing many actual facts. “The Khrushchev attempts,” I said, “to isolate our country politically, economically and militarily and to force our party to kneel have not and will not produce any results.”

Comrade Dong Biwu answered that the Albanian comrades have worked and continue to work very well. He continued, “Last year, when comrade Haxhi Lleshi and Liri Belishova were visiting here, we had talks with them and told them our points of view very openly. But when we saw the negative behavior of Liri Belishova, we did not continue our talks with them.” I told comrade Dong Biwu that the behavior of Liri Belishova was not the stance that our party takes and that for her points of view, Liri Belishova received the answer she merited from our party. Comrade Dong Biwu said that in reality, “we heard the points of view of the Albanian comrades very openly during the Bucharest meeting, where their party fought with bravery in the defense of Marxism – Leninism. We did not know what the Albanian comrades would say in the Bucharest meeting, but when they defended us, this had the effect of encouraging us even more and to continue our struggle with all our might. We have not had any backstage talks with the Albanian comrades at the meeting in Bucharest. Neither did we have any secret meetings with them. This was done with the only intention of not letting Khrushchev and the others say, ‘Look, the Albanians and the Chinese have reached an agreement from before on what their stance would be.'”

On the issue of the removal of the Soviet military naval base from Vlora, comrade Dong Biwu said that, “when the Soviet Union notified us that they were going to close the military base, the comrades Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping told the Soviet ambassador here that the Chinese government and Communist Party were not at all in agreement with such a decision and that this measure would only succeed in making the enemies of socialism happy.” “This issue,” said comrade Dong Biwu, “we also brought forth in the meeting of the Central Committee of the Party and the Central Committee approved the correct position of Comrade Zhou Enlai and Comrade Deng Xiaoping on this issue. We later also answered in writing to the CPSU and to the Soviet government and also notified the ALP by letter. We told the Soviet comrades that the pressure that they are exerting on us about the removal of the Soviet specialists from China after Bucharest caused us great damage, but that the removal of the military base from Vlora was a very great damage to all the socialist countries. The stance of the ALP on this problem and on others is generally very correct. Its position is strong. They (he is talking here about Khrushchev and the others) do not know how to distinguish who is a friend and who is an enemy.”

Later, I spoke to comrade Dong Biwu on the measures that the Soviets have taken regarding our cadets, about the Soviet press that is completely silent on Albania, as well as about the [musical] ensemble and the sports team that were not accepted there. All this is happening at a time when the relations of the Soviet Union with the US are broadening, when the visits by American artists and athletes in the Soviet Union are many, while the Albanian artists, who would not threaten the Albanian-Soviet friendship or socialism, are forbidden of entering into contact with the Soviet people. Comrade Dong Biwu answered that, “they have done the same thing against us, too. We used to publish the magazine “Druzhba” here and in Moscow. After the Bucharest meeting, the Soviets stopped the publishing of this magazine in Moscow, while at the same time in Moscow there were many American magazines and other publications of the Western countries being distributed. From this it is clear that they do not know how to distinguish the friend from foe.”

“In the socialist camp and in the world communist movement there are many great forces and many distinguished comrades, who with determination defend the principles of Marxism – Leninism. In this movement there are more healthy internationalists, than there are opportunists. What is happening today should not surprise us. The German people have given birth to the distinguished leaders, [Karl] Marx and [Friedrich] Engels, but it should also not be forgotten that Germany is also the birthplace of [Karl] Kautsky.”(He was talking also about the concrete example of the Soviet Union, which is the birthplace of Lenin and Stalin, but from where Khrushchev has also come out.) Comrade Dong Biwu then continued, “Marxism-Leninism is not afraid of the difficulties it faces. History itself shows how, over the years, all the opportunist streams in the world communist movement have been destroyed. This is shown by the experience of the First International, that of the Second International, as well as the struggle against all of the opportunist streams later, including here the Titoist Yugoslavia today as well as the other opportunists. From the experience until now, it appears that the healthy forces have always prevailed over the others.”

Then, comrade Dong Biwu spoke in brief about how the true Marxists understand the concept of peaceful coexistence and while speaking of the Khrushchev persona, he said that this year his behavior seems a little better than it did last year. As an example of this he brought up his speech at the Military Academy in Moscow, “which,” he said, “was a good speech. There he speaks of the arming against imperialism. This we support because it is in agreement with the Moscow Declaration.” “Regarding what Khrushchev is doing to Albania,” I said to comrade Dong Biwu, “it seems that Khrushchev is not thinking of becoming a better person. And as far as his speech at the Military Academy in Moscow goes,” I said, “we will see whether he will keep the words he said, because he is used to saying one thing today, and another tomorrow.” Comrade Dong Biwu laughed out loud and said, “You are right.” “In reality,” he continued, “with its stance toward Albania, the Soviet government has opened the doors for the American imperialists in Albania. But the imperialism can not attack Albania, because the international conditions do not allow it to. Despite the fact that the Soviets withdrew from the military base from Vlora, in time, the Albanian people will strengthen this base again relying on their own forces. Some time ago, Albania, in its war against fascism did not have weapons, but the Albanian people took their weapons from fascism and fought it with them. Today the conditions are much better because, among other reasons, Albania also has a good foundation in industry and agriculture. Furthermore,” added comrade Dong Biwu, “Albania is not Cuba. If imperialism would dare attack Albania, we will assist her with all our forces.”

In the end I thanked comrade Dong Biwu for the very warm reception and for the feelings of sincere friendship that he expressed directed at the people and the party.

(Reiz Malile)