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Digital Archive International History Declassified

December 11, 1965

NOTE BY EAST GERMAN AMBASSADOR ON THE CURRENT POLICY OF THE CHINESE LEADERSHIP [EXCERPTS]

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

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    A note on the conversations between Ho Chi Minh and Mao Zedong in Beijing. Mao stressed the importance of Vietnamese opposition to Soviet revisionism. He also argues that a larger percentage of Chinese aid should be spread amongst the Southeast Asia region, and not simply given to Vietnam.
    "Note by East German Ambassador on the Current Policy of the Chinese Leadership [Excerpts]," December 11, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PAAA-MfAA, VS-Hauptstelle, G-A 353, 1-9. Translated from German by Lorenz Lüthi. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/117720
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During a two-week stay in China, Cde. Ho Chi Minh met Mao Zedong twice.1 Especially in the first talk, Ho Chi Minh explained the position of the DRV with regard to the developments in Vietnam, and tried to get an increase in Chinese aid. In the course of the second talk, Mao spoke for the most part. According to Mao Zedong’s opinion, China was convinced that Vietnam would win. The US is for a peaceful solution because it has been forced to accept it through objective circumstances. One has only to convince the Americans that the stay of their troops in Vietnam is without a perspective for the US—that alone would be half a victory. The war currently fought is strengthening the Vietnamese people. China is ready to render economic and weapons aid, [but] the largest [part of the] aid should be rendered to Southeast Asia (Laos, Thailand, Cambodia) with the demand to carry out active military actions against the US. Thereby, one increases the anti-American front and simplifies the conduct of war of the DRV. The struggle of the Vietnamese people would be easier if modern revisionism would not work against it. Thus, the struggle against modern revisionism is the international duty of all Marxist-Leninists. One has to stand up to and unmask it, as well as demand from it to fulfill its international duty as often as possible. The Vietnamese Workers Party must render an even larger contribution to the struggle against modern revisionism. At the moment, a struggle takes place within the international communist movement, and the Chinese Communist Party is convinced that the new Soviet leadership will resign. [The Chinese] don’t claim that everybody in the Soviet leadership is a revisionist. That’s why the Vietnamese party has to consider in what kind of a situation it will be once revisionism has left the stage. The Soviet leadership delivers a certain quantity [of aid] to the DRV because it can’t do otherwise and [because] it was forced to do so. Vietnam now does more for the revolution than the Soviet Union, China, and other socialist countries, since the Vietnamese people are at the forefront of the struggle. Thus the DRV has the right to demand aid, not only military [aid] but also aid for the reconstruction and development of the economy. The equipment for the development must be ready, so that Vietnam can make an immediate jump ahead. The DRV has a right to demand from the Soviet leadership machines and equipment for its factories in order to be ready for construction after the withdrawal of the Americans. If the Vietnamese at the moment cannot store this equipment, China is ready to take that task unto itself.

The Politburo of the CCP has decided to render strong pressure on the modern revisionists. An article will be published (note: [this] happened on 11 November2), the impending CPSU congress3 will be taken into account, and other materials prepared.

Recently, a CC plenum of the VWP took place, during which Ho Chi Minh expressed some disappointment about his talks in the PR China. He did not agree with the statement of the Chinese leaders that capitalism is being restored in the Soviet Union, but had been unable to reach any agreement on this question. According to him, it is a surprise that those who do not always agree with the position of the DRV in all questions rendered more and less self-serving aid. Those forces, with which the DRV shared many common views (i.e. in question of war and peace, the development of the revolutionary movement in Asia, etc.), at the time would render less support to the DRV than they could, given their possibilities.

The Party General Secretary Comrade Le Duan, pointed out at the plenum that under current conditions negotiations could not be carried out, but in principle he advocated negotiations (internally, Le Duan expressed that he himself is for negotiations. But he has to be forced to the negotiation table because both he himself, as well as many of his followers, come from the south of the country, and there, the unfailing continuation of the war is demanded).

Cde. Pham Van Dong advocated negotiations. As before, there is still a strong pro-Chinese group, headed by Truong Tingh [Truong Chinh]. These forces obstruct every initiative on negotiations, and even gathered troops at the 17th parallel without the approval of the Politburo. This group plays the Chinese declaration on the enlargement of the anti-American front in South East Asia as a major trump card in order to justify their position.

1. Dates not clear, but Ho met Zhou Enlai in China on 8 November 1965, see: Nguyen Vu Tung, “Interpreting Beijing and Hanoi,” 58, footnote 82.

2. Refers to: People’s Daily and Red Flag Editorial Departments, “Refutation of the New Leaders of the CPSU on ‘United Action’,” 10 November 1965, Current Background 776, 1-17.

3. The 23rd CPSU Congress took place from 29 March to 8 April 1966.