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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 20, 1971

CONVERSATION OF CDE. NICOLAE CEAUSESCU AND CDE. ZHOU ENLAI AT THE EMBASSY

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    Notes regarding the conversation of Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu and Cde. Zhou Enlai at the dinner organized by the [Romanian] embassy in honor of the Chinese leadership.
    "Conversation of Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu and Cde. Zhou Enlai at the Embassy," June 20, 1971, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, CWIHP archive. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112748
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Notes regarding the conversation of Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu and Cde. Zhou Enlai at the dinner organized by the [Romanian] embassy in honor of the Chinese leadership. (20.06.1971. 1930 hours)

Cde. N. Ceausescu: spoke with Cde. Zhou Enlai about the fund for aid of communist parties, the Romanian contribution to this fund, as well as the way [the money] is distributed.

Cde. Zhou Enlai: In our relations with certain parties, we encourage them to depend on their own resources. This is because many parties do not really carry on a revolutionary activity.


We too contributed with money to this fund, with sums even bigger than Romania, but we were never consulted to as to how the money would be distributed, we did not know how it was used. It is clear that this method of theirs is hard to change, it has become tradition. They receive, from generation to generation, the role of head of household. In 1961 or 1963 -- I don't remember exactly -- we stopped contributing to this fund.

Cde. NC showed that a direct air connection between Romania and China between the two countries, that we will need to think about newer planes, faster planes. He stated that Turkey and Iran were, in principle, agreeable to allow [the planes] to cross their territory. Iran told us that during the negotiations for establishing diplomatic relations, this could be one of the problems addressed. He said that the Shah of Iran was very pleased with the reception of the Iranian princesses in China. He said that in October he will travel to Iran to participate in the festivities celebrating 2500 years of the Persian Empire.

Cde. ZE: at the funeral of Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, an emissary of the Shah was also present.

Cde. NC asked about the evolution of the situation in Pakistan.

Cde. ZE: presently they are controlling the situation. The situation in East Pakistan is very complicated. There are two religions there: Hindi and Islam. During the events, a number of people became refugees, a majority of which were Hindi. Quite a few Muslims also became refugees, but because of the religious contradictions, some of them have returned. During the battles, there were many victims. Later, the Hindi rebelled again, but the movement was put down by the army. Presently, the central government is controlling the situation.


Initially, the CIA paid a great deal of attention to the events, and was involved in them. Afterwords, seeing the size of the developments, it advise them to relax.


The Americans offered to help the refugees. Pakistan accepted this, but did not allow the aid to be dropped from American planes.


The Indian government has recognized, semi-officially, the government of the Oriental [East] Bengal. It did not dare to recognize it officially, completely. The US and the Soviet Union have advised the Pakistani and Indians to make peace. The issue is not resolved, it can continue to evolve.


The Pakistani government intends to attract to its side the majority of members of parliament in the Oriental Bengal which are part of Rahman's movement.
[1] They also intend to create a new party - "People's Will." The issues are currently churning. Yahya Khan declared that, based on [the evolution of] this process, he'll decide if there will be general or partial elections. They have to act carefully because a rebellious East Bengal could unite with a rebellious West Bengal and create a third Bengal.


The population in West Bengal is having having a very hard time, it's not pleased by India's domination. That is why, every time during elections, the winners were the opposition parties. That is why it was possible that, for a period of time, the power was held by the Communist party.

Cde. NC mentioned that the Indian PM, Indira Gandhi, sent a letter to Romania requesting help for the repatriation of the 3.5 million refugees.

Cde. ZE said that this number, published in several countries, is exaggerated. Maybe there are over 1 million refugees, but there is no way there can be 3.5 million.


They asked everyone for help. The Soviet Union wants to recreate the spirit of Tashkent,
[2] which was the creation of Kosygin. This idea, which was imposed on the two sides, ended with the death of Shastri.[3]


India suggested to us to exchange ambassadors. We are looking at their proposal, and I think we will be able to accept this suggestion, since we sent ambassadors to all countries with which we have diplomatic relations.

Cde. NC stated that this is a very good thing. Indira Gandhi said she is looking for solutions to improve [India's] relations with China. Indira Gandhi has obtained good results in the elections. The measures they have adopted are a good beginning.

Cde. ZE: they have a lot of problems. They took out a lot of loans. Receive credits and pay back notes plus the interest. The US demands that the loans be paid back in rupees, and thus the Americans have a lot of rupees with which they can control the Indian market.

Cde NC said that in industrial development, India has had a good beginning. He also said that he had visited one of the three Indian atomic reactors. India can even produce the atomic bomb.

Cde. ZE: India produces a lot of conventional armament, which is why Pakistan is worried. As far as the production of the atom bomb is concerned, probably India wants to create an equilibrium in its relations with China.


Between Pakistan and India, the issues are very complicated, and those issues were created by England through its policy of divide and conquer. The last British governor in India favored Nehru. Dividing India into India and Pakistan, he left a problem unresolved -- Kashmir.

Cde. NC: Improving relations with India would be a good way to prevent the expansion of American influence in India.

Cde. ZE: the two [super]powers are fighting for advantages. We have no wish to get involved in the triangle everyone is talking about.

Cde. NC said that, historically, there were no clashes between China and India.

Cde. ZE: Indeed, there were no clashes between China and India, except the two in 1959 and 1962, which were provoked by India.


Recently, a British journalist published in "Times" a long article entitled "India's War against China."
[4] From the title of the article it is clear that India and not China provoked the war. This journalist[5] lived 20 years in India, and never once visited China, and he wrote the entire article on the basis of Indian documents. Thus, he had no reason to go easy on us, and his article clearly shows the Indian plan. Both incidents happened during Nehru's time, the first in the region of Aksai Chin[6] and the second in 1962 on the McMahon line,[7] which was an arbitrary line, and was never recognized by any Chinese government. We repelled the Indian attacks, but Khrushchev said we did not act correctly. The British journalist was fair.

Cde. NC said that, it seems, India wants to reach an understanding, to resolve the problems.

Cde. ZE: That is what they tell you. They never tell this to us. I know Indira Gandhi very well. We do not wish to get involved in the issues there which are being planned by the Soviet Union, the US, and India. It is not just about them, but, rather, about our neighbors to the North.

Cde. NC asked about the situation in Burma.

Cde. ZE: Burma has a lot of economic difficulties. With respect to our relations with them, we exchanged ambassadors, thus raising the level of diplomatic representation.


Ne Win
[8] was, until very recently, very sick. Once recently has he returned to his country.

(Cde Zhou Enlai made a toast)

Cde. ZE: A year and a half ago, Cde. Huang Treng-Sang [sic], at the direction of Cde. Mao Zedong, inspected in Northeast China the bomb shelters. I did not go there, I did not see them. The experience used in Northeast China we applied in Beijing, then we generalized in the entire country. Had there not been pressure from outside, we could not have mobilized the people for the creation of these underground constructions, just as you yourself could not have reorganized the patriotic guards in such a short time.


I know that during the events in Czechoslovakia you worked very hard, you did not sleep several nights.

Cde. NC confirmed [this] and talked about the measures undertaken. He mentioned that the Soviets asked why these measures were undertaken, and why the Romanians keep talking so much about independence.

Cde. ZE: [One] needs to talk about independence every day, so that the people have to understand [it] and remember it.


Recently, [French President] Pompidou reviewed troops from the three branches of the French military, and suggested that all non-Mediterranean countries should withdraw their troops from the Mediterranean Sea. The two [super]powers are viewed with hostility everywhere. This is a big change.


Presently, there are several American journalists in Beijing. They told us that even they did not expect the changes that took place in attitudes vis-a-vis the United States. The Americans think that they can have advantages everywhere, that everyone needs to listen to them. But, as the war in Indochina continues, the people's attitudes are changing. In the US, especially young people, seek a way out of the difficult situation in which they find themselves. However, the in Soviet Union, there are no such signs of change as in the US.

Cde. NC talked about the [many] possibilities of getting informed in the US, and about the control of information toward the public in the Soviet Union.

Cde. ZE: the Soviets do not take into account other people's opinions.


We have an internal bulletin of news from the foreign press which is published in 3 million copies. It is being read as far down as the local organizations so that they will know the international developments and the interpretation of these events.

Cde. Li Xiannian
[9] mentioned that on 23 August 1968, Cde. Zhou Enlai made a speech in the courtyard of the Romanian Embassy.

Cde. ZE: The actions of the Soviet Union in Czechoslovakia is not appreciated by anyone, it only created heartbreak for the people of that country.

Cde. NC said that, presently, there is a very interesting situation in Africa.

Cde. ZE: There is a conference of Foreign Ministers. They are preparing a conference for the heads of state. First, it was suppose to take place in Uganda, but given the situation in that country, they decided for Addis Ababa.


Some countries with right wing governments like Uganda, Congo (K[inshasa]), and countries in south Africa and Central Africa are creating obstructions. The emperor of Ethiopia sent the Minister of Foreign Affairs in those countries to advise them to participate.

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[1] The 6 Point Movement was a Bengali nationalist movement in East Pakistan spearheaded by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, which eventually led to the liberation of Bangladesh. The movement's main agenda was to realize the six demands put forward by a coalition of Bengali nationalist political parties in 1966, to end the perceived exploitation of East Pakistan by the West Pakistani rulers. The demands were drafted by leading Bengali intellectuals Rehman Sobhan, Govinda Chandra Dev, Munier Chowdhury and Kamal Hossain.

[2] The Tashkent Declaration of 10 January 1966 was a peace agreement between India and Pakistan. In September 1965 before the two had engaged in the short run Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. Peace had been achieved on 23 September by the intervention of the great powers who pushed the two nations to a cease fire for fears the conflict could escalate and draw in other powers.

[3] Lal Bahadur Shrivastav Shastri (2 October 1904 - 11 January 1966) was the second Prime Minister of the Republic of India and a significant figure in the Indian independence movement.

[4] Maxwell, Neville. India's China war. New York: Pantheon Books, 1970.

[5] Neville Maxwell (b. 1926) is a British journalist. In 1959 he was posted to New Delhi as South Asia correspondent. In the next eight years he traveled from Kabul to East Pakistan and Katmandu to Ceylon, reporting in detail the end of the Nehru era in India and the post-Nehru developments. In 1967 he went as a senior fellow to the School of Oriental and African Studies in London in order to write India's China War.

[6] Aksai Chin, also Aksayqin, Akesaiqin or Akesai Qin is a disputed region located in the northwestern region of the Tibetan Plateau north of the western Kunlun Mountains.[1] It is entirely administered by the People's Republic of China as a part of Hotan County in the Hotan Prefecture of Xinjiang Autonomous Region. It is, however, claimed by India as a part of its state of Jammu and Kashmir.

[7] The McMahon Line marks boundary between Chinese-held and Indian-held territory in the eastern Himalayan region. The line was the focus of a brief war in 1962, when Indian and Chinese forces struggled to control a disputed area (shown in red), much of which is a thinly populated high altitude mountain area.

[8] Ne Win (24 May or 14 May 1911 or 10 July 1910 -- 5 December 2002) was a Burmese politician and military commander. He was Prime Minister of Burma from 1958 to 1960 and 1962 to 1974 and also head of state from 1962 to 1981.

[9] Mr. Li Xiannian, Deputy. Premier of the State Council of the PRC