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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 16, 1970

BRIEF SUMMARY OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN COMRADES ZHOU ENLAI AND KANG SHENG ON 16 JUNE 1970 WITH MYSELF [KADRI HAZBIU] AND CMRADE XHOXHI ROBO

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

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    Kadri Hazbiu has a wide ranging talk with Zhou Enlai, covering American imperialism, Sino-North Korean relations, Sino-Albanian relations, and Sino-Romanian relations, among other topics.
    "Brief Summary of Conversation between Comrades Zhou Enlai and Kang Sheng on 16 June 1970 with Myself [Kadri Hazbiu] and Cmrade Xhoxhi Robo ," June 16, 1970, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AQSH, F. 14/AP, M-PKK, V. 1970, Dos. 5, Fl. 1-10. Translated by Elidor Mëhilli. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/117305
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Brief summary of conversation between comrades Zhou Enlai and Kang Sheng on 16 June 1970 with myself [Kadri Hazbiu] and comrade Xhoxhi Robo[1]

Comrade Zhou Enlai pointed out right away that they have some information on a number of issues that they wish to communicate to comrade Enver, comrade Mehmet, and the other comrades.[2]

1. Following Chairman Mao’s declaration of 20 May, we have held meetings with a number of countries, lastly with the Romanian delegation led by Bodnăraş.

- “Chairman Mao spoke about the two possibilities:

a) Either war strengthens revolution;

b) Or, revolution ensures that war is avoided.

More concretely, he has said, it has not been determined which one is the main tendency right now.”

- Over one year (from the Congress) there has been a greater push against American imperialism. This was a result of the broadening of the war of various countries against it.

- Over 25 years, American imperialism has done a great deal of harm to China.

- They supported Jiang Jieshi with all resources and with all means, yet they were both banished from the continent. This was a major defeat for them.

- Then, there was the war in Korea. In fact, they got all the way to the Yalu River. Our volunteers turned them back and defeated them yet again. This is considered the greatest defeat since the creation of the American state.

- With the Geneva conference (on Indochina) still under way, they extended their reach to Vietnam and Laos and now they also went into Cambodia. Just like Kennedy and Johnson, Nixon is even less confident about how he will end the war in Indochina.

-  A similar situation exists in the Middle East. By exploiting the fear of the Soviet revisionists,[3] American imperialism has extended its reach in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq. The Americans favor a compromise with the Soviets (on account of the Middle East) but the Palestinian war has ruined their plans. The Americans first carried out a provocation in Lebanon, then in Jordan, and now again in Lebanon.

More recently, the White House has threatened to send the 82nd Division to the Middle East, but Arafat told them: “Let them come; we will turn this whole region into a second Vietnam.” Immediately, the State Department denied the White House declaration. In other words, there are contradictions within the American leadership.

- Whereas American imperialism has seen defeat everywhere in the international arena, it has achieved success in Kinshasa (the Congo) because the movement there grew in line with the Cuban example, meaning that it was divorced from the masses. In Nigeria, too, the Soviet-American cooperation achieved victory, but nothing has been definitely settled in these countries.

Thus, American imperialism has constantly engaged in aggression over 25 years, but it has not succeeded.

2. The Americans now support Japanese militarism in Asia, and German revanchism in Europe. But will these two countries, which were defeated in the Second World War, submit to the American dictate?

This is why American imperialism now strives to reach its aggressive goals through talks, such as those in the Middle East and in Vietnam. These talks are a deception. The people of Indochina do not want talks.

- The resistance movement within the United States is stronger now and it is becoming increasingly stronger. There are all kinds of contradictions all the way to the American Congress and their government, to the point that Nixon is losing sleep these days. All of this is happening because, among other things, the president there is directly connected by telephone with all of the military bases.

- In Libya, they took back the largest military base they had, after the Japanese one. In other words, there is an increase in the national movements for independence everywhere and a weakening of the position of American imperialism. We see the affirmation of Chairman Mao’s thesis, that “smaller countries can also defeat a big country …”

- The United States has a huge military budget, but also inflation, and trade deficits, which have resulted from the expansion of war.

- They funnel money to their puppets so as to pit Asians against Asians and Arabs against Arabs, but this is not working for them.

- The war against imperialism now reaches all the way to Washington. The blacks attack the police forces, and the whites (the students) fraternize with the blacks. Chairman Mao’s declaration is published in the most important American newspapers (in full or excerpted) and these newspapers sell fast. In the Senate and in the military they keep having arguments about the war. Lower-level officers distribute pamphlets against the war; soldiers go happily to vacation in Hong Kong and refuse to return to their bases, to the point where they are dragged back by force. So pronounced is this, in fact, that the English police there say that this kind of demoralization in the American army has never been seen before.

Based on all of this, Chairman Mao reached a conclusion: that we should be prepared for ever greater provocations and that the main tendency is revolution. In the development of revolution, there will be zigzags.

- So it is a matter of fact that the 1970s are different from the 1950s and 1960s. This is what Comrade Mao said to Bodnăraş. He reminded him that the Romanians had advised us in 1964 to end the polemic. But we did not end it. But now you are beginning it on account of a number of other issues. (Comrade Zhou Enlai added here: In 1964, Bodnăraş, Mauer, and Ceauşescu came here, and Bodnăraş and Ceauşescu had a massive polemic with Kang Sheng, and each side defended its own positions.)

Emphasizing these changes, Chairman Mao said that the main war was against American imperialism and Soviet revisionism. This also infers war against other revisionists of all kind, including those … in our own country, here in China.

While emphasizing war against American imperialism, we do not neglect the war against Soviet revisionism. We depart from the principle that by fighting American imperialism, at the same time, we wage war against Soviet revisionism, because we isolate it further and it suffers just as much as American imperialism. This ensures a better mobilization of the people.

In Jakarta they held a meeting of puppets. Some countries under the influence of the Americans and the Soviets did not attend. This worthless meeting created a commission composed of Japan, Malaysia, and Indonesia. In the beginning, the Soviets said that this meeting is worthless and the South Vietnam Front made the comment that the Soviet Union did not have full knowledge of this meeting. Today, however, all three members of the commission, including U Thant, are welcomed in Moscow as if they represent the foreign ministries of the respective countries.  

Not only Nixon, then, but Brezhnev too is having difficulties. They played along in this farce, and now they face objections everywhere. This is why they are depressed.

- War is proof of the growth of worldwide revolutionary vigor. We must display our resoluteness.  

3. Chairman Mao said to Bodnăraş:

a) Do not be afraid from disorder and chaos. He brought up the example of the fighting during the Cultural Revolution, which worried some of our friends. This is because instances of disorder differentiate our people from the enemies; our ranks are strengthened.

Only Nixon and Brezhnev are afraid from disorder.

b) Let us not be afraid from insults, because when our enemies insult us, this means that we have hit them right where we need to (on target).

Zhou Enlai said: You, the Albanians, have published a lot of articles on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Lenin. We have issued one. The Soviet revisionists and their followers continue to hurl insults at us. The Americans say that the Chinese have now directed their war against them, but, really, we target both sides.

c) Let us not be afraid from war (what Lin Biao said in the 9th Congress is elaborated here).

d) We are prepared to withstand the Americans and the Soviets, as well as their offspring, one by one, or even all of them at once. At most, they might be able to occupy some territory; they might even get deep within our country, but they can never divide China into zones of influence. In Yalta there were discussions about China’s division into zones of influence but we made no mention of this fact because Stalin led the war effort against fascism and this was the most important thing. War cannot escalate. We are prepared to withstand every kind of aggression, but we will not attack anyone. Later on, after their aggression has been rebuffed, we will even reach beyond our borders.

Bodnăraş said: We were worried when Czechoslovakia was occupied. Then we mobilized 1,200,000 reservists and 800,000 young people; in case we were attacked, we would have let the aggressors enter our country for a few kilometers, and then we would have organized our primary forces along a secondary line and directed our assault from there. Mao praised this plan.

4. Further on, comrade Zhou Enlai said:

-  We read comrade Enver’s speeches held in the north of the country, in which he said that if Romania and Yugoslavia are attacked, you will support their resistance efforts…

- You have supported Sihanouk, the United Front, and his government. This government finds its support within the domestic forces, which are now led by the Communist Party of Cambodia.

When Sihanouk was in power, the Communist Party of Cambodia had difficulty in working with the masses in order to emancipate them. It is thanks to Nixon’s intervention in Cambodia that the Party was able to emerge at the forefront of the war effort there. Vietnam and Laos supported them. In Indochina now you have one big war. The Americans sent troops supposedly to “liquidate the bases in Cambodia” but all of Cambodia has now become a large base.

Chairman Mao has said that all of the Asian countries are bases for the soldiers, whereas China is the largest of them all.

- But in order to convince some parties that are still hesitant, we need more time as well as evidence.

Last year, on 1 October, we hosted Choe Yong-geon. At the time, we did not extend any other invitations, except to Albania.

We extended an invitation to the Koreans on 30 September. Kim Il-sung was not in Pyongyang that day, but as soon as he got word of the invitation, he returned, gathered the comrades, and decided to send Choe Yong-geon. As a head of state, he was given the most prominent place. We knew that he would ask for something. During the display of fireworks, he talked to comrade Mao, and it was decided that I would go to Korea in April of this year. Sihanouk is there right now.

What was the reason for this change of course? The enemies made this possible.

- Last year in Washington, Nixon and Sato talked about their primary interests being in South Korea, Taiwan, and Malaysia.

- In the beginning, the Soviet revisionists promised to help the Koreans, but they did not deliver on this; they did not even provide military aid. They put pressure on them on the capture of the USS Pueblo, the airplane crash, and they also suspected that the Koreans were involved in the capture of the Japanese plane more recently.

In other words, the Americans and the Soviets themselves taught a number of lessons to the Koreans. And now the Koreans say that China is their friend.

- In attaining these successes, your support has been total and effective. You supported us with the Indochina issue; you acted immediately after we did. Likewise, you supported my visit to Korea. For all of this, we thank you in the name of our party and our government.

Comrade Enver is a great leader, a great Marxist-Leninist who has made a distinguished contribution to world revolution.

Comrade Kang Sheng said:

We have read all the four speeches made by comrade Enver. They are very good, and they attest, once again, to the fact that we share the same opinions. We express our gratitude for the high praise directed at comrade Mao in these speeches. These speeches are a great lesson for our people.

5. Finally, Zhou Enlai pointed out that the Romanians also voiced some additional opinions:

a) To establish a mutual airline connection between China and Romania with the itinerary China – Afghanistan, or Iran, or Turkey – Romania – Albania. This itinerary is shorter, and passes neither through the Soviet Union nor through American zones. It allows Chinese aviation to connect to international lines, which would also improve the experience of Chinese pilots.

Related to this issue, he added, we need your government’s opinion and approval, which we would welcome as soon as possible. In this context, he also asked whether we had diplomatic relations with Afghanistan and Iran, and when I explained that we did not, he said that we have good relations with Turkey and we could have a positive influence.

Then, turning to comrade Kang Sheng, he asked: Did the Romanians make any other suggestions? Kang Sheng said that they did and briefly outlined a second issue.

b) They also emphasized the need for cooperation in the building of military industry, especially in the production of anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. The idea is to engage in Chinese-Romanian-Albanian cooperation in the production of these kinds of weapons …

When I asked for clarifications on this matter, comrade Zhou Enlai explained: Romania would provide you with these kinds of weapons (after the necessary industry has been developed) and this would also address the problem of the long distance, which complicates our efforts now. Nevertheless, we will only know more details on this issue once the Romanian defense minister comes here, after the visit in Korea. We will provide you with this information immediately; we just wanted to alert you to this right now. Then he relayed the greetings of comrade Xie Fuzhi, who, he said, had undergone a difficult stomach operation but is feeling better now. He ended the conversation by relaying his best wishes to comrade Enver, Mehmet, Hysni, Beqir, Ramiz, and the others.

I thanked him for the information and I reassured him that I would accurately communicate it to comrade Enver and the other comrades. I also thanked him for the kind words said in respect to our party and comrade Enver. In light of this, I also emphasized that comrade Enver and our party objectively assess the situation and we have expressed our views on these events. As in the past, we will continue to fight together in the future, arm in arm, against imperialism and revisionism.

Our party will always support the people’s war against both imperialism and revisionism, knowing how and where to concentrate our attack at any given moment.

Regardless of the fact that current developments in the world are the outcome of the objective laws of class war, our party will support with every means available the people’s war – by relentlessly unmasking both imperialism and revisionism. This is our obligation, the fulfillment of which accelerates the process of revolution.

We support the idea of carefully exploiting the contradictions that have surfaced and will continue to surface in the midst of our enemies.

Finally, I emphasized the importance of the declaration of comrade Mao and I expressed our wishes that he have a long and healthy life.

My opinion on a number of issues that were discussed in this conversation:

1. I do not view as correct what was said: “by fighting American imperialism, at the same time, we wage war against Soviet revisionism.” Our correct assessment on this matter is well known – without fighting revisionism one cannot properly fight against imperialism.

2. Throughout this analysis of developments across the world, I do not see it as correct to ignore the role and struggle of the proletariat everywhere, including in Europe.

3. The “high praise” directed at our support of Zhou Enlai’s visit to Korea, in addition to our position on Yugoslavia and Romania, which comrade Enver reiterated in the speeches he delivered in Kukës and Tropojë, seem to me to indicate a one-sided understanding of the matter, as support for politics of closer relations with these countries and revisionist parties. In other words, these seem to be illusions regarding our position.

4. With the cooperation in the realm of military industry, and perhaps also in terms of the cooperation in aviation, which was proposed here, they imply more concrete steps in our cooperation with Romania.

Kadri Hazbiu

/signed

[1] Trans. note—In Albanian documents, the name of the ambassador appears both as Xhoxhi and Xhorxhi.

[2] Trans. note—Hazbiu composed this document from his point of view, switching between first person and second person without quotation marks or other indications.

[3] All underlined passages here are also underlined in the Albanian-language text.

[1] Trans. note—In Albanian documents, the name of the ambassador appears both as Xhoxhi and Xhorxhi.

[2] Trans. note—Hazbiu composed this document from his point of view, switching between first person and second person without quotation marks or other indications.

[3] All underlined passages here are also underlined in the Albanian-language text.

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