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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 30, 1967

MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN ALBANIAN COUNCIL OF MINISTERS CHAIRMAN MEHMET SHEHU AND MAO ZEDONG

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

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    A record of a meeting between Albanian Council of Ministers Chairman Mehmet Shehu and Mao Zedong. Each tells stories of the formation of the Communist cause in their respective countries, and of internal enemies of the Albanian cause, especially Koci Xoxe.
    "Memorandum of Conversation between Albanian Council of Ministers Chairman Mehmet Shehu and Mao Zedong," September 30, 1967, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Central State Archive, Tirana, AQPPSH-MPKK-V. 1967, L. 19, D. 20. Obtained by Ana Lalaj and translated by Enkel Daljani. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/117693
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REPORT

OF THE MEETING OF THE DELEGATION OF THE ALP AND GOVERNMENT OF THE PR OF ALBANIA, HEADED BY COMRADE MEHMET SHEHU, WITH COMRADE MAO ZEDONG ON 30 SEPTEMBER 1967

On 30 September 1967 the delegation of the ALP and of the government of the PR of Albania, headed by the member of the ALP CC Politburo and Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Comrade Mehmet Shehu, was received by Comrade Mao Zedong.

The following Albanian comrades took part in the meeting: Comrade Ramiz Alia, Comrade Mihalaq Zicishti, Comrade Rahman Perllaku, Comrade Tonin Jakova, Comrade Agim Mero, Comrade Foto Cami, Comrade Piro Bita, and Comrade Vasil Nathanaili.

The Chinese side was [also] represented by: Comrade Zhou Enlai, Comrade Kang Sheng, Comrade Liu Ningyi, Comrade Liu Xiao, Comrade Luo Wei Bo.

The conversation started around 4:15 p.m. and continued until 5:15 p.m.. The translation from the Chinese was done by Fan Chengzuo. The report was recorded by stenograph by Sadik Myftiu and was transcribed with the participation of Sotir Naci. The final editing was done by Piro Bita.

MAO ZEDONG: When was the last time you visited China?

MEHMET SHEHU: Last year, in May.

MAO ZEDONG: Did we meet in Shanghai then?

MEHMET SHEHU: Yes, in Shanghai.

Comrade Mao Zedong, allow me to bring the most heartfelt and revolutionary greetings of the Albanian Labor Party, of the Central Committee, and of Comrade Enver Hoxha personally, as well as of the entire Albanian people. We are extremely happy that we are given the opportunity to visit your country at the eve of the celebrations for the 18th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, and at a time when the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is at the highest stage of its development. In the name of our people, of the party, and of Comrade Enver Hoxha, we greet you on your great anniversary, on the final victory of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and we wish you, Comrade Mao Zedong, a long life, a long, long life.

MAO ZEDONG: I thank you very much. With all my heart I welcome you, and all the comrades of the delegation of the party and the government headed by you, once more to our country.

Last year your delegation was not as large as this.

MEHMET SHEHU: Yes, it was smaller than this one.

MAO ZEDONG: Please, introduce me to the comrades.

MEHMET SHEHU: (After he introduced one by one the comrades of the delegation that were present at the meeting, said): the other comrades that take part in our delegation are representatives of the working class, of the cooperativist peasantry, etc.

Comrade Enver Hoxha and the party’s Central Committee and government, have given our delegation a great mission and a very important task: the further strengthening of our friendship with the great People’s China, led by Comrade Mao Zedong; they have also given us the task of once more expressing our solidarity and our full support for the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution initiated and run by you, Comrade Mao Zedong.

MAO ZEDONG: I thank you very much. The imperialists do not support us, neither do the revisionists; nor have the reactionaries of the various countries, including here Jiang Jieshi, supported us. Only you support us, and some sister parties and communist groups around the world; there are also some democrats in the countries of Asia and Africa that support us. So, for example, the Communist Party of the United States of America is against us, but there is there another organization, the Progressive Labor Party, that supports us. The same also happens in France and Italy, for example, where the communist parties are against us and against you, but [other] communist groups and the new party that was just founded in Italy, support us.

Our task is, first of all, to accomplish our duty at home well, as you have done by taking so many measures.

Do you remember the conversation we had together last year in Shanghai? Were you also there, Comrade Kang Sheng?

KANG SHENG: No, I was not there. I was at the meeting this year [February 1967] when you met Comrade Hysni Kapo and Comrade Beqir Balluku.

ZHOU ENLAI: I was there and so was Comrade Lin Biao.

MAO ZEDONG: Between our meeting last year and the time Comrade Hysni Kapo and Comrade Beqir Balluku came here, I have thought of the situation in our country as very serious. I told them that, first of all, the danger of the failure of the revolution exists, and also that the other possibility, us emerging victorious, also exists.

MEHMET SHEHU: You spoke about this with our delegation in Shanghai too, Comrade Mao Zedong. I remember this being one of the principal issues that you emphasized in that meeting.

MAO ZEDONG: I told Comrade Hysni Kapo that after three months we could probably see a little more clearly what the movement’s shape will be in the future. But what happened after that? The months of February, March, April, May, June, July, August, and September; in other words, 9 months. Now I can tell you two comrades and to the other comrades that we can see not only the general shape, but the actual form and matter of victory. Now the possibility of us emerging victorious is the only likelihood. Nonetheless, we must also be prepared for the other possibility, the danger of failure, because no harm will come to us if we are also prepared for such a possibility.

During the course of more than one year, China went through a great commotion. But there is not much confusion. There is not much confusion in Beijing either; it is quite a civilized city. Lately, I have been making visits to many provinces. I could say that they are a bit restive. But the greater and more complete the restlessness, the better it will be. It happens that in a [industrial] plant the workers are separated into two large groups. Why? Because one group is supported by some people while the other group is supported by other people. In other words, the leftist group is supported by the Marxist-Leninists, while the other is supported by the revisionists. Sometimes the clashes might seem catastrophic. A great clash happened these past 3-4 months, meaning since the end of June until now.

ZHOU ENLAI: Since the time that the 6 June circular came out.

MAO ZEDONG: After the victory in 1949, we have had in our society not only people that were trained by Guomindang [Kuomintang] and bourgeois people, but we have also had some bad people that entered our party. You also had such a member of your Political Bureau, Liri Belishova [expelled from the Central Committee in September 1960].

MEHMET SHEHU: We had not just one, but several. Liri Belishova was one of the last of our enemies that fought us from inside the party and the Central Committee. Since its founding, our party has consistently waged a long and unrelenting struggle against these elements; it has cleaned up its ranks through that struggle. During October of last year we expelled from the party a member of the Central Committee for enemy activity against the line of the party.

MAO ZEDONG: This is the dialectic law of things and phenomena.

A party that is the exception and does not have rightist elements in its midst cannot be conceived.

Why was the First International of Marx and Engels dispersed? Did it not happen because the Marxists were the minority and the anti-Marxists were the majority? Was it not so? At that time, Proudhon, Blanqui, Lassalle, etc. came out from the ranks of the First International. As a result, in the end, the First International was dispersed.

But can it be said that there were no good and resolute people in the world after the dispersal of the First International? As it is well known, later, the socialist parties were created in the various countries: the Social Democratic Party in Germany, the Socialist Party in France, the Labor Party in England, the Socialist Party in Italy, and the Russian Workers’ Social Democratic Party in Russia. The same thing happened in other countries too. All these parties joined together at the Second International. All of them considered themselves Marxist parties. But in the end it became apparent that those that were truly Marxists were only Lenin and his group. In that time in Europe, in the majority of the parties, only some elements or certain groups supported Lenin, while the rest of the Second International became a tool of imperialism. Was this a very bad thing, perhaps? I think it was not because, later, the Third International was formed. The small groups that existed in Germany, France, Italy, etc. were transformed into large parties. I do not speak of Russia here, where we know well which party was formed.

But what do these parties of the Third International look like today? Now we see that the situation seems bad only in appearance. Are there now people that say that only your party and ours still exist? It is my opinion that in your country things might get better, while in our country it will be difficult for things to go well. This is proved by the history of our party. The first general secretary of our party, Chen Duxiu, made mistakes of rightist deviation. During the first internal revolutionary war, the Guomindang turned from an ally into an enemy and it waged the white terror. The Guomindang attacked us unexpectedly and broke our party into floating debris. After the terror only around 10 thousand communists were left. We drew lessons from there events. We had two teachers in this: Jiang Jieshi and Chen Duxiu. It was then that we understood that it is not enough that the movement be waged through mobilizing the masses alone. At that time we had representatives of our party in the government, we had some millions of workers and tens of millions of peasants under the leadership of our party, but what happened as a result? Within one morning we were completely destroyed. So we very often have pointed this lesson out to the representatives of the sister parties. But they did not pay the necessary attention to this. We have told them that even if you have many party members, many organized peasants, and many union organizations, and even if you have representatives of your party in the government, you still should not think that you are safe.

RAMIZ ALIA: I believe you are talking about the Indonesians?

MAO ZEDONG: Yes, I am talking about them.

KANG SHENG: As far as I remember, Chairman Mao has discussed this issue four times with Aidit.

MAO ZEDONG: I have told them many times to never believe any of the good words the bourgeoisie tells them, because we already know where that leads. I have spoken to them about armed struggle. I pointed out that our first war lasted for 10 straight years and during these 10 years we made mistakes three times. The first mistake was a “leftist” mistake; it was made by the party’s Central Committee when led by Xiang Zhongfa.

MEHMET SHEHU: We have also had some persons of this kind; in fact, more than one.

MAO ZEDONG: Later we discovered the rightist mistakes of Li Lisan. And even later, the line of Wang Ming came out; he is now to be found in Moscow. We have not formally expelled him from the party, but in fact he is an enemy. Later, during the Long March, we had the meeting at Zunyi. We have corrected the mistakes of that course in general lines. At that time, for 10 years in a row, the general secretary was Zhang Wentian. He led the party.

I became chairman of the party in 1945, in the year of the defeat of Germany and Japan. I do not want to say with this that I have done a good job as leader of the party, because one can be divided in two. But if someone would accuse me of being an anti-Marxist, a Trotskyite, a nationalist, or a capitulator in front of American imperialism, that is something that I cannot accept. Neither the American imperialists, nor the Khrushchevian revisionists or the Jiang-Jieshists believe this. I have not met the leaders of American imperialism, but I personally know N. Khrushchev, Kosygin, Nehru, and Jiang Jieshi, an old friend of mine; but the Earth still revolves.

We have managed some tasks well in China, and some others we have not. If everything in our country had gone well, then why would we need to wage the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution? This means that in our country there are some people that are still in the dark. It is precisely towards this segment that we need to direct our revolution. You now know against whom this revolution directs its [knife] edge. You also know well the manner of its activities.

Comrade Ambassador, how long have you been in Beijing?

VASIL NATHANAILI: I have been here for a year and a half.

MAO ZEDONG: You have come precisely at the time when the Cultural Revolution started. During the summer of last year those that supported the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution were few. The working class had yet to be mobilized at the time. Pressure was being exerted on the students. The Red Guard had just been born and the struggle was in its initial stage. Now the situation has changed greatly: the working class has risen to its feet; the majority of the students are now revolutionaries; in the majority of the provinces, autonomous regions, and the larger cities under the authority of the center—there are a total of 29 of them—the work is going well.

Many people say that the cult of personality exists in our country; in other words, my cult exists here. They also say that the same goes on in your country with the cult of Comrade Enver Hoxha. In fact, my cult of personality only developed here this year. Before that not only the foreigners, but even the Chinese did not listen to my words. This was due to the fact that the bourgeois ideology existed in our country. We used to have the Liri Belishova of China.

MEHMET SHEHU: In our party we have had enemies even more dangerous than Liri Belishova. Liri Belishova can be considered on a par with Lu Dingyi, but we have also had elements like the Khrushchev of Albania.

MAO ZEDONG: Then I overvalued Liri Belishova.

MEHMET SHEHU: The Khrushchev of Albania, if we may say this, was Koci Xoxe. He was the deputy secretary of the party’s Central Committee, the second person after Comrade Enver Hoxha, [he was also] deputy prime minister and minister of internal affairs. He directed the organizational work of the party. He was an agent of Tito, linked spiritually and ideologically with him. So, Koci Xoxe was exactly like N. Khrushchev and the Tito of Albania. He had inserted his own people into the party, in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in the army, in the administration, everywhere. This happened immediately after the liberation of Albania. From November of 1944 until 1947 he was able to control many key positions and was trying to isolate Comrade Enver Hoxha. His intention was to liquidate Comrade Enver Hoxha along with all the other comrades that stood on healthy Marxist-Leninist positions. During that time many comrades were expelled form the Central Committee.

MAO ZEDONG: Was this man that fierce?

MEHMET SHEHU: Yes, he was very fierce.

MAO ZEDONG: He appears to have been like our Liu Shaoqi.

MEHMET SHEHU: If you would allow me, Comrade Mao Zedong, without going into much detail and without taking much of your time, I could talk to you a bit about this issue. A very dangerous situation was created in our party at that time. Many good comrades were expelled from the Central Committee, and everyone was put under the control of the security apparatus. The enemies created a grave and unbearable condition around Comrade Enver Hoxha. One member of the Politburo that could not take the pressure committed suicide. I, for example, was expelled from my position as candidate member of the Politburo and expelled from the Central Committee; they were preparing to put me in jail. Comrade Enver Hoxha, and all comrades who stood faithful to his line and the Marxist-Leninist view were accused as anti-Yugoslav elements because they were opposing the attempts by Tito to turn Albania into a Yugoslav province, in other words, his attempts to take away Albania’s independence; they opposed Tito and [remained] faithful to Stalin and to the Soviet Union. This situation continued for about three years and it reached its peak at the 8th Plenum of the Central Committee in 1947. The decisions of this plenum were truly revisionist. Comrade Enver Hoxha and the other comrades fought in a resolute way during the whole time against the decisions of the 8th Plenum, and thanks to this long and difficult struggle and with the arrival of the famous letters by Stalin on the issue of the revisionist course and stance of Tito, it became possible that at the 9th plenum of the Central Committee, in October 1948, the opportunist and reactionary course of Koci Xoxe and of his followers was destroyed and their plotting against the party, its Marxist-Leninist leadership, and against socialism in Albania, was uncovered. Once unmasked openly to the party and people, Koci Xoxe and his group faced a public trial in May 1949; that trial sentenced him (only Koci Xoxe) to death, and that decision was executed in June 1949.

MAO ZEDONG: (with irony) He went to paradise.

MEHMET SHEHU: That is why I said that he was the first N. Khrushchev of Albania, though N. Khrushchev had not arrived on the scene yet. Aside from this person, we have also fought other anti-party and enemy elements in our party. We have expelled from the Central Committee and the party tens of enemies, who have had more or less the same course and activity with Liu Shaoqi and his followers. Now we see well how Liu [Shaoqi] Deng [Xiaoping] have operated in China, and we also know many things which we did not know last year; their treason and the necessity for a struggle to the end against them are very clear to us.

Forgive me, Comrade Mao Zedong for taking so much of your time with these issues.

MAO ZEDONG: No, I want to listen to you.

MEHMET SHEHU: During the last throngs of the Italian occupation in 1943, when we created the National Liberation Army and the National Liberation Front led by the party, and when in many areas of the country we had taken power, there were two organizations in Albania that called themselves nationalist and acted as if they really wanted the liberation of Albania from fascist occupation. Though the party knew the intentions of these organizations well, it made every effort to cooperate with them against the [foreign] occupier—naturally without wanting to merge with them and seeking to preserve its independence and the hegemony of the National Liberation Front at any cost. In the framework of these efforts, a meeting was held in which the representatives of these two organizations met those of our party. The delegation of our party was headed by one of the secretaries of the Central Committee called Ymer Dishnica. Instead of defending the line of the party and carrying out the clear orders given to him by Comrade Enver Hoxha, this person capitulated and accepted the ideas of the two nationalist organizations—led by reactionaries—to disperse the National Liberation Army and to include the Communist Party of Albania and these bourgeois organizations as equals in the emerging government. In this meeting, they drafted and distributed a joint declaration, which the traitor Ymer Dishnica signed in the name of our party. I remember that it was precisely August of 1943 when Comrade Enver Hoxha received note of the joint declaration. I was with him at that time in a mountainous region of southern Albania. Immediately, Comrade Enver Hoxha declared it a traitorous action. The aforementioned declaration was declared unacceptable by our party. Ymer Dishnica was expelled from the Central Committee and later from the party; now he works as a doctor. But the damage he caused to the party, at that moment when the war was getting fiercer, after the Italian occupation of Albania had just been replaced by the Nazi one, was quite grave. I mention these facts, Comrade Mao Zedong, because there are similarities between the activities of our traitors during the war with the activities and the points of view of Liu Shaoqi. Liu Shaoqi wanted to surrender the Red Army to Jiang Jieshi. Ymer Dishnica in our case wanted to surrender our National Liberation Army to the “Balli Kombetar” [National Front] and “Legaliteti” [the Albanian monarchists]. Liu Shaoqi wanted to take part in the government of Jiang Jieshi and to force the party into hiding. Ymer Dishnica wanted to do the same thing in our country, etc.

I do not want to take any more of Comrade Mao Zedong’s time because people such as these have existed in our country by the scores at different times. If you have more time, as Comrade Zhou Enlai mentioned, to meet one more time, I could speak in more detail about these issues.

I wanted to point out that in our party too, since its founding and until the present, there has continually been a fierce struggle for the preservation of the purity of its line. The struggle of the opposites as a general law of progress cannot but happen within a party too and this has also been true in our country.

MAO ZEDONG: This struggle is an indication in the party of the class struggle that goes on in society, because the bourgeoisie exists, and so does the feudal class, and they insert their representatives in our party too. In the ranks of the party there have been some people who for a long time have not been communists, but agents in the service of the enemy and we did know about them. For example, Liu Shaoqi since 1929 committed treason by signing a declaration in front of the enemy. This has been uncovered recently by the Red Guardians. Later he, along with Peng Zhen, Bo Yibo, An Ziwen, and others, betrayed [us] once again. Peng Zhen was a member of the Politburo, a secretary of the Central Committee, first secretary of the Beijing Municipal Committee, chairman of the Executive Committee of Beijing, and vice chairman of the Permanent Committee of the Assembly. Bo Yibo was a candidate to the Politburo and deputy pime mnister that dealt with the industry sector. An Ziwen was for 20 years in a row a director of the Organizational Directorate of the CC. They have issued declarations while they were in prison and have sworn loyalty before the portrait of Jiang Jieshi.

The Red Guards made many errors and [had] shortcomings, but their general orientation is correct.

MEHMET SHEHU: You have said that revolution is not knitting. We have all made mistakes, some of which we are able today to consider stupidities.

MAO ZEDONG: I have also committed some stupidities. But the [Red] Guards are educated during the process of war. In the past the entire education system in our country was in the hands of the bourgeoisie. The majority of the newspapers, including those that were masked as communist, were in the hands of the bourgeoisie. They had even wrapped their hands around the People’s Daily newspaper.

For many years in a row now, I have noted several times that the newspapers must change their appearance, but no one heeded my call, because they did not accept my advice. On 1 June of last year we took over the People’s Daily newspaper. Before that time we only had two military divisions in Beijing, but then we doubled them to 4 military divisions, and in this way in May of 1966 we dared to reorganize the Beijing party committee. In the months of May, June and half of July of that year I was not in Beijing. Shall we end it here?

MEHMET SHEHU: We apologize, Comrade Mao Zedong, for having tired you so much. As you can see, we are never tired of coming to see you and talk with you.

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