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Digital Archive International History Declassified

April 02, 1969

TELEGRAM TO EAST GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTRY FROM AMBASSADOR TO CHINA

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    East German Ambassador Oskar Fischer reports on Soviet attempts to meet with Mao or Zhou Enlai about the on-going Sino-Soviet border dispute.
    "Telegram to East German Foreign Ministry from Ambassador to China," April 02, 1969, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, SAPMO-BArch J IV 2/202/359. Translated by Christian F. Ostermann. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116974
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Council of Ministers of the

German Democratic Republic

The Minister for Foreign Affairs

Berlin, April 2, 1969

Comrade Walter Ulbricht

Willi Stoph

Erich Honecker

Hermann Axen

Berlin

Dear Comrades!

The following is the text of a telegram from Comrade Hertzfeld, Peking, for your information:

“Soviet Chargé stated that there is talk in Hanoi that Ho Chi Minh wants to go to Beijing soon to negotiate at the highest level with the Chinese side since the Vietnamese side is very concerned about the aggravation of Chinese-Soviet relations.

The Ambassador of the Hungarian People’s Republic reported that the PR China and the DRV [Democratic Republic of Vietnam] [earlier] this year signed an agreement on Chinese aid for Vietnam in the sum of 800 million Yen. [...]

The Chargé was called on the evening of March 21 by Kosygin on direct line from Moscow.  Com. Kosygin informed him that he had attempted to contact Mao Zedong through the existing direct telephone line.  He was not put through by the Chinese side.  If need be the conversation could also be held with Zhou Enlai.  (Com. Kosygin was acting at the request of the politburo of the CPSU.)

After various attempts by the Soviet Embassy to contact the Foreign Ministry in this matter, a conversation between Kosygin and Mao Zedong was refused [by the Chinese] under rude abuse of the CPSU.  Desire for talks with Zhou was to be communicated [to the Chinese].

3/22 Aide-mémoire by the deputy head of department in the foreign ministry; it stated that, because of the currently existing relations between the Soviet Union and the PR China, a direct telephone line was no longer advantageous.

If the Soviet government had to communicate anything to the PR China, it is asked to do so via diplomatic channels.

Allegedly conference in Hongkong on questions of China policy organized by the US State Department.  Dutch Chargé and Finnish Ambassador here are to attend.”

With Socialist Greetings

Oskar Fischer