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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 10, 1966

NOTE OF COMRADE BERGOLD, EAST GERMAN AMBASSADOR, WITH THE POLISH AMBASSADOR IN NORTH VIETNAM, COMRADE SIEDLIECKY

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

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    A note on a conversation between Mao Zedong and Le Duan. Zedong confronts Le Duan with instances where he has spoken out against China. Le Duan states that Vietnam does not support the Cultural Revolution, but will do nothing to oppose it. He answers other questions about economic policy and Soviet revisionism.
    "Note of Comrade Bergold, East German Ambassador, with the Polish Ambassador in North Vietnam, Comrade Siedliecky," November 10, 1966, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, SAPMO-BArch, DY 30/3667, 213-214. Translated from German by Lorenz Lüthi. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/117743
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The visit had been requested by the Polish ambassador. After an exchange of opinion, he conveyed that the Polish delegation is not going to visit the DRV in November of 1966 but, at a Vietnamese request, in the first quarter of 1967. Then he provided some information on the statements of Comrade Le Duan, which I present here as they have been uttered.

He said that Comrade Le Duan was received by Zhou Enlai on his return [trip] from the 23rd CPSU Congress. The latter presented him with a list, on which all dates and places had been recorded, where Le Duan had made statements against the Chinese leaders. The Chinese comrades reject Le Duan. It was hence decided in Hanoi that Le Duan should not accept the invitation by the Soviet comrades, which had been directed to Ho Chi Minh, Pham Van Dong, and Le Duan, this summer, in order to prevent the position of the Chinese towards the DRV from worsening.

Analyzing the reports of the 23rd CPSU Congress, after the August Plenum (before Pham Van Dong’s trip to the Soviet Union) Le Duan made statements on a couple of questions, which party cadres have posed. On the question of what he has to say about the Cultural Revolution, he replied: “We don’t support the Cultural Revolution, but we are not going to do anything against it. We let [it be] the internal affair of the Chinese.”

On the question of what he could say about the policy of the SU with regard to the MPR [Mongolian People’s Republic], to Japan and to India (with that [question] the supposed encirclement of the PR China was hinted at), he replied: Our position towards the Soviet Union has not changed since the October Revolution. We would not sit here if the October Revolution had not occurred. My statements in Moscow are not new. If the SU makes the effort to build up good relations with India, then this complies with Lenin’s advice. The SU had good relations with the MPR from the very beginning; that, too, is nothing new. What concerns Japan, he said, the DRV would make the effort to build up good relations with Japan, if Japan were the neighbor of the DRV.

Regarding the question of the economic policy of the DRV, he explained that each country, according to its situation, follows its own, independent economic policy. For example, the GDR had to react in its own manner [when it came] to strengthening its economy, [at the time] when it constructed the anti-Fascist protective barrier [the Berlin Wall] with the aim to defend its economy against the policy of West German imperialism.

On the question about Soviet revisionism, he supposedly replied: “The Soviet Union is like the sun. I want to label revisionism as clouds. Clouds sometimes can cover the sun, but it will always get through.”

On the question of aid from the Soviet Union and China, he supposedly said: “The SU helps us from its heart and provides us with more than we can use, and China helps as well.”

Finally, Comrade S. informed me that the composition of the party delegation of the VWP to the Bulgarian and Hungarian party congresses has been changed. Instead of Comrade Nguyen Duy Trinh and the Vietnamese ambassador to Moscow, comrades Le Duc Tho and Ung van Kiem have been designated.

This information is interesting because it would confirm our estimate that the position of Comrade Ung Van Khiem has been strengthened.