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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 07, 1958

REMARKS, MAO ZEDONG, CONCERNING THE SOVIET REQUEST ON ESTABLISHING A SPECIAL LONG-WAVE RADIO STATION IN CHINA

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    Mao comments on the financial responsibility of China to cover the cost of constructing a long-wave radio station, built in collaboration with the Soviets.
    "Remarks, Mao Zedong, Concerning the Soviet Request on Establishing a Special Long-wave Radio Station in China," June 07, 1958, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Mao Zedong waijiao wenxuan (Selected Works of Mao Zedong on Diplomacy) (Beijing: Zhongyang wenxian chubanshe, 1994), 316-317. Translated and Annotated by Zhang Shu Guang and Chen Jian. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/117032
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For the eyes of Liu [Shaoqi], Lin Biao, [Deng] Xiaoping, Zhou [Enlai], Zhu [De], Chen [Yun], Peng Zhen, and Chen Yi only; return to Comrade Peng Dehuai for file:

I

This can be implemented as [you have] planned.  China must come up with the money to pay for [the financial cost] which cannot be covered by the Soviet side.

Mao Zedong[1]

7 June

If they try to put heavy pressure on us, [we] shall not respond and shall let it drag on for a while, or [we] may respond after the central leadership discusses it.  This issue must be settled through an agreement between the two governments.

Peng [Dehuai] ought to pay attention to the section about the conversation where Mao has added some comments.

II

China must shoulder the responsibility of capital investment for this radio station; China is duty-bound in this case.  [We] may have to ask for Soviet comrades’ help with regard to construction and equipment, but all the costs must be priced and paid in cash by us.  [We] may share its use after it is constructed,[2] which ought to be determined by an agreement between the two governments.  This is China’s position, not purely the position of mine.[3]

[1] Mao Zedong made these remarks on Peng Dehuai’s report of 5 June 1958. 

[2] Words in italics were added by Mao.

[3] Following Mao Zedong’s instructions, Peng Dehuai sent to Malinovsky the following response on 12 June 1958: “The Chinese government agrees to the construction of high-power long-wave radio stations, and welcomes the technological assistance from the Soviet Union. However, China will cover all expenses, and the stations will be jointly used by China and the Soviet Union after the completion of their construction. Therefore, it is necessary for the governments of the two countries to sign an agreement on the project.”  On 11 July 1958, the Soviet Union provided a draft agreement to construct long-wave radio stations. The Soviets did not understand the nature of Beijing’s concern over having exclusive ownership of the station, and the draft insisted that the stations should be constructed and jointly managed by China and the Soviet Union. The Chinese responded with several suggestions for revision: China would take the responsibility for constructing the station and its ownership belongs to China; China will purchase the equipment it cannot produce from the Soviet Union, and will invite Soviet experts to help construct the station; after the station’s completion, it will be jointly used by China and the Soviet Union.