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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 23, 1966

DISCUSSION BETWEEN ZHOU ENLAI AND LE DUAN

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    Zhou Enlai cautions Le Duan against Soviet assistance.
    "Discussion between Zhou Enlai and Le Duan," March 23, 1966, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, CWIHP Working Paper 22, "77 Conversations." https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113069
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ZHOU ENLAI AND LE DUAN[1]

Beijing, 23 March 1966

Zhou Enlai: At present, the Vietnamese people are in the forefront of the anti-American struggle.  The blood of the Vietnamese people has been shed for the Vietnamese revolution as well as for the world revolution.  Vietnam is the great standard-bearer representing the world’s revolutionary peoples.  

...

Zhou Enlai: There have been some changes since last year when North Vietnam started talks with the US.  We should tell you straight away that those changes began when the new Soviet leadership took power, especially after the visit of Kosygin to Vietnam.[2]  After Kosygin returned from Hanoi, the Soviets used their support to Vietnam to win your trust in a deceitful way.  Their purpose is to cast a shadow over the relationship between Vietnam and China, to split Vietnam and China, with a view to further controlling Vietnam to improve [their] relations with the US and obstructing the struggle and revolution of the Vietnamese people.

Zhou Enlai: There are many arguments concerning the request by Vietnam for volunteer pilots from socialist countries.  You will be in trouble.  The Soviets may disclose secrets to the enemy.  We therefore think that joint actions between the volunteers will be impossible.  Moreover, even though these volunteers should be subject to your command, the Soviets will always have conflicting opinions.  The gains you obtain from the Soviet pilots cannot compensate for the losses caused by them.

Zhou Enlai: Relating to the establishment of the front of the world’s people in support for Vietnam’s anti-American resistance, we prefer bilateral or multilateral contacts.  It’s good because we can have discussions in detail.  We hold that opposing the US should necessarily go hand in hand with opposing revisionism.  These two things cannot be separated from each other.  Otherwise, people cannot be educated.

[1] A Vietnamese Party delegation headed by Le Duan visited China from 22-25 March 1966.

[2] Soviet Premier Aleksei Kosygin visited Vietnam 6-10 February 1965.