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Digital Archive International History Declassified

April 11, 1967

ZHOU ENLAI'S TALK WITH PHAM VAN DONG AND VO NGUYEN GIAP

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    Zhou Enlai warns the Vietnamese delegation not to bend to Soviet demands.
    "Zhou Enlai's Talk with Pham Van Dong and Vo Nguyen Giap," April 11, 1967, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, The Diplomatic History Research Office of the People's Republic of China Foreign Ministry, ed., Zhou Enlai waijiao huodong dashiji, 1949-1975 (Chronology of Zhou Enlai's Diplomatic Activities, 1949-1975) (Beijing: Shijie zhishi chubanshe, 1993), p. 510-511. Translated by Qiang Zhai. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112658
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China has a popular saying: the 90-mile mark is the half point of a 100-mile journey. It means that a traveler has walked 90 miles and has 10 miles to finish. The remaining 10 miles are the most difficult for the traveler. The same thing is true in climbing mountains. Take the climbing of the Himalayas for instance, the last stretch of the climbing is the most difficult. We believe that you will surely win the final victory. We will mobilize the people of the whole world to support you to achieve victory. The Soviet Union, however, surely wants you to stop halfway. It has done such a thing during the Stalin period. After the surrender of Japan in 1945, the United States supported Chiang Kai-shek. At that time, the Soviet Union had suffered a great deal in the war. It concluded the Yalta agreement, dividing spheres of influence with the United States. The Yalta agreement is wrong. As a tactic, the agreement is all right; but as a policy, it is incorrect. The explosion of the two atomic bombs in particular shocked the Soviet Union. The Soviets were eager to sign an agreement with Chiang Kai-shek, recognizing the fact that the United States enjoyed the greatest sphere of influence in China. The Soviet Union in return wanted to maintain Russian special interests in the Northeast and Xinjiang and keep the People's Republic of Mongolia. At the time, Stalin fired off a cable to Comrade Mao Zedong stating that the Chinese Communist Party should cooperate with Guomindang instead of starting a civil war and that if the Chinese Communist Party launched a civil war, the Chinese nation would be destroyed. Clearly the Soviet Union had been intimidated by the atomic bomb. We say that Stalin was still worthy of being a Marxist-Leninist because he was capable of recognizing his own errors. After the liberation of Shanghai, Liu Shaoqi went to Moscow, where Stalin implicitly made a self-criticism. He asked whether the telegram he sent to Comrade Mao Zedong in August 1945 had undermined the progress of China's liberation war. Liu Shaoqi replied that it had not. Certainly it did not. Once during a banquet, Stalin offered a toast, claiming that he was old and very afraid that after his death those comrades (referring to Voroshilov, Molotov, Khrushchev, and others who were present) would be scared by imperialism. Now we can see that Stalin's predictions have proved true.