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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 17, 1964

RECORD OF CONVERSATION FROM CHAIRMAN MAO’S RECEPTION OF THE ALGERIAN AMBASSADOR TO CHINA MOHAMED YALA

This document was made possible with support from the Henry Luce Foundation

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    List of Mao and Yala's main points of discussion, including successful party building, battling imperialism, and suppressing counter-revolutions, as well as record of their conversation regarding the state of Algeria's foreign relations with Vietnam, the US, and others.
    "Record of Conversation from Chairman Mao’s Reception of the Algerian Ambassador to China Mohamed Yala ," August 17, 1964, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 107-01043-08. Translated by David Cowhig. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/118026
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Ministry of Foreign Affairs Document

Record of Conversation from Chairman Mao’s Reception of the Algerian Ambassador to China Mohamed Yala

(Not reviewed by the chairman)

Time: August 17, 1964 afternoon

Location: Beidaihe

Attendance: Vice Minister Qiao Guanhua, Vice Minister Ma Zhenwu

Interpreter: Huang Qi

Notetaker: Li Tengzhi

Chairman Mao's Main Points:

1. Imperialism is a paper tiger. The enemy has more troops and better equipment. The people's army is smaller and has poor equipment but it can nonetheless overcome difficulties and defeat the enemy. Don't be afraid to lose a lot of people, the population will grow rapidly after liberation.

2. Two intermediate zones.

3. Strive to win the moderate faction and suppress counter-revolution.

4. Knowledge: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs can organize visits with friendly and Foreign Affairs can organize tours for the envoys of friendly foreign nations, not necessarily together with other envoys. We need to help the Embassy of Algeria.

Algerian Ambassador to China Mohamed Yala's Main Points:

1. The Algerian Party has not been well organized, and imperialists can take advantage of that.

2. I hope to learn from China's experience in party building.

The Main Points of Ben Bella's Letter:

I hope that China will support Algeria's opposition to subversive imperialist plots and its efforts to build socialism.

(Chairman Mao greets visitors outside the door)

Yala: Thank you very much for receiving me.

Chairman Mao: It is my duty.

(After taking his seat, the Chairman asked the interpreter if he had been to Algeria. The interpreter responded that he had.)

Chairman Mao: Do you know him? (pointing to the interpreter)

Yala: Yes, I know him. We are old friends. I already have many Chinese friends. Your ambassador in Cairo, Chen Jiakang, has been my friend since the War of Resistance. I also know Mao Dun.

Chairman Mao: He is a writer.

Yala: I met him in 1958 at the World Peace Council and at the Asian-African Writers Conference. I have met Mao Dun many times. I worked with him during the 1962 Moscow Disarmament Conference.

Chairman Mao: We didn't do well that time. Our policy was wrong and it offended many friends, especially African friends.

Yala: Already from 1958 and 59, we began to oppose the French representative on the Peace Council and at the Peace Conference. We stressed the importance of national liberation movements and we cooperated with China. Every time Chinese friends want to cooperate with us, we must stress the liberation movements. We never refuse and always cooperate.

At the 1959 meeting of the World Peace Council, we got into an argument with the French representative Casanova of the French Communist Party.

I believe that Africa always praises China's position.

Chairman Mao: We should emphasize and support those who stand against imperialism and colonialism and for national liberation.

Your eight-year-long struggle was worthwhile. You won liberation. You made great sacrifices. Some people say that it was too big a sacrifice. It is said that you had a population of just nine million people. If you lose one million people and one million of the people in the country were foreigners, that leaves you with just seven million people. I tell those people revolution always involves sacrifices. The population will grow rapidly after liberation. How many people do you have now?

Yala: To be honest, we haven't had a census since 1953. The French said that we had a population of ten million. We think it was higher than that. Now we are organizing a census committee so we will have a census. A census is a must for planning. Setting a plan without knowing how large the population isn't practical. The census work has not yet been completed. This work is very complicated. The population is very mobile. During the war, 400,000 refugees went to Morocco and Tunisia. The French even drove away the entire populations of some villages.

Chairman Mao: How many Algerians live in France?

Yala: 500,000 people.

Chairman Mao: That's a lot!

Yala: Yes. We want to build industry in Algeria. They can come back when they have employment opportunities as skilled labor. They also made contributions during the war. But at the time, French democratic elements as well as the French Communists refused to cooperate with us. We suggested to them that we form a united front against fascism but they wouldn't do it.

Chairman Mao: We don't like the French Communist Party. We also don't like the Communist Party in your country. They are not satisfied with us either. They also oppose us. We don't know what made them hate us. The French Communist Party and the Algerian Communist Party of China both oppose us.

Yala: That is because the Chinese party is a revolutionary party. After the ceasefire, the French Communist Party and the Communist Party of Algeria issued a joint communique claiming that they had supported us and that the liberation of Algeria was mainly due to the efforts of the French Communist Party and the Algerian Communist Party.

Chairman Mao: This is called a Johnny-Come-Lately. They say this because you won. They didn't help you when you were in trouble.

Your revolution has proved two things. A small army and not many guerrillas, just a few tens of thousands. There were a lot of enemies, and their numbers were gradually increasing. At most they were eight or nine hundred thousand people? I remember hearing former Prime Minister Abbas say that.

Yala: Yes.

Chairman Mao: You had so many enemies! He was not very cheerful then. I said, first of all, don't be afraid of casualties and sacrifices. Your population will increase after liberation; second, although there are many enemies you can defeat them.

Your guerrillas later developed into regular troops. In the end, there were only a few tens of thousands of them. They had no planes, no tanks, and no heavy artillery. All they had were small arms. France has a navy, a powerful army, and an air force. In the end, who won and who lost? Was French imperialism a real tiger, an iron tiger, a fake tiger, or a paper tiger? France didn't have any support. You all oppose it, except for a small number of French running dogs. That is to say, the people were on your side. International public opinion and all the people of the world who want revolution were on your side.

Yala: The example of the Vietnamese people too helped us win. Their enemies at that time were even stronger than ours. At Dien Bien Phu they struck a much heavier blow against the enemy than we did. This was not only an historic day for Vietnam but for the entire world as well. Now the Vietnamese people can also defeat the United States in the same way.

Chairman Mao: Now the United States is in a difficult situation. They fear that the Vietnamese people will get stronger. The struggle of the people of southern Vietnam continues to develop month-by-month. Americans too aren't winning popular support. There are also 500,000 strong puppet troops in southern Vietnam. There were very few or perhaps no puppet troops in your country. The French were completely isolated at the time.

Yala: Just as the Chairman said, only a few Algerians worked for the Emperor, but really it was a very small number. This group is still carrying out counter-revolutionary activities. They are causing problems in nationalized enterprises with the support of the United States and France.

There is a colonel in the Sahara who led a rebellion. His activities are linked with imperialists who control an oil company.

Chairman Mao: Didn't this colonel fight the French before? Someone who was once your comrade-in-arms?

Yala: Yes. But he has feudal ideas. He was arrested not long ago.

Chairman Mao: I heard that there other ministers were arrested. Is this true?

Yala: The Minister of the Interior has resigned, but he is still a party member and a member of the Politburo. Abbas was placed under house arrest.

Chairman Mao: Is Abbas opposed to you?

Yala: He opposes our nationalization and everything else that we do.

Chairman Mao: There is a Benda. What is he like?

Yala: He presided over a drug cooperative. Of course he had his own opinions but did not engage in opposition activities.

Chairman Mao: He did not work underground? He didn't engage in subversive activities?

Yala: No, he didn't.

Chairman Mao: There is also a Belle Kasem.

Yala: Belle Kasem and Busuf have opposed the government before and are now working with us.

Chairman Mao: Your policy is good. If you can win over the moderates, you should fight for their support as long as they do not carry out counter-revolutionary activities. Only suppress the counter-revolutionaries.

Yala: Algeria is now implementing that policy. We only fight those who those take up weapons to engage in jungle warfare. We can't cooperate with them. We know that they are colluding with imperialism and colonialism. Some of them were trained in Portugal. They are also smuggling weapons along our coast. Portugal hates us because we support the struggle of the people of the Portuguese colonies. Portugal and South Africa openly opposes us. The United States secretly opposes us.

Chairman Mao: Are the French taking advantage of the chaos in your country?

Yala: So far, the French have not been found to be funding counter-revolution.

Chairman Mao: Is France happy that you removed Abbas and put him under house arrest?

Yala: Of course not they are not happy. Of course France is not happy with what we are doing now. De Gaulle is smart, but he is a reactionary too.

Chairman Mao: Yes. He is an imperialist!

Yala: De Gaulle is engaged in a lot of theater in his activities in underdeveloped countries. He is in open competition with the United States. Americans in Africa are like Asia in the past, as in Saigon, wanting to squeeze France out of Ivory Coast, Gabon, Senegal and other places. De Gaulle is more liberal than the United States and the former French colonialists.

Chairman Mao: We use Charles de Gaulle to fight the United States. At this point we have something in common with Charles de Gaulle. He also sees that we have this point in common. In the opposite, he also needs us to help oppose U.S. imperialism. So we divide the middle camp into two parts. The middle camp is the so-called Third World. The first Third World is Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The second Third World includes countries like France, Japan, Canada and Europe. They all have some conflicts with the United States. This is not clear yet in some countries such as Japan and West Germany. With five or ten years, they will have to stand up. The monopoly groups in these countries and their big capitalists will not be willing to be controlled by the United States. There have been some signs of this already. Even some people in the British Conservative Party don't want to work so closely with the United States.

Yala: Yes. What you are saying is exactly right. The reactionary governments that have stood side-by-side with the United States also having their problems with the United States. They take American money but also oppose the United States. No matter whether they are progressives or reactionaries, they result is the same: opposition to the United States.

Chairman Mao: Why did the Americans kill the South Vietnamese Diem brothers? It seems incomprehensible. The Diem brothers opposed the Communists, opposed the people, opposed Ho Chi Minh, and opposed us. Why should they be physically eliminated? It is because sometimes they didn't obey. Therefore they need to be killed. The mastermind was Kennedy. But Kennedy leads us to the question: who killed Kennedy? Wasn't it an American? There are several groups among the American capitalist class. The interests of this group were damaged and so the head of the group was wiped out.

Yala: Americans are assassinating people everywhere. Last August, when the foreign ministers of the countries of the Organization of African Unity were meeting in Senegal, the Americans wanted to kill Senegal’s President Senghor. They used a colonel in the Senegalese military. Later he was arrested. This is a contradiction within imperialism. Senghor is a reactionary, but he is pro-French. Americans everywhere want to drive out the French influence.

A few days ago, it seemed like something similar was going on in Mali. Malian President Modibo Keïta says that the imperialists are always hatching plots.

Chairman Mao: (Asks Vice Minister Qiao) Is that right?

Qiao [Guanhua]: Yes. Modibo Keïta will soon come to China to participate in our National Day.

Chairman Mao: How many people are there in Mali?

Yala: Four million people. They are well organized and brave, wise leaders.

Mali is not afraid of imperialist plots. They are well-organized. This is what Algeria lacks. Therefore, we are working hard to build our party.

There are two countries in Africa who are not afraid of imperialist disturbances, namely Guinea and Mali. They are well-organized.

Chairman Mao: How many people are there in Guinea?

Yala: Three million.

The party in Guinea is the best party in Africa. If the United States does not dare to hatch plots there, it is because the party organization in Guinea is good. In some places, Americans there are gaps that the Americans can take advantage of. For example, in Algeria and Ghana.

Chairman Mao: When Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah visited China, I warned him about this. He should do business with us and the Soviet Union. He should withdraw from the British market and turn to the East. I said that the United Kingdom will give you trouble. At that time, the Ghanaian army was still commanded by the British army. As soon as he went back, someone tried to kill him but did not succeed. That may have been organized by the United Kingdom. In January of this year, there was another assassination attempt. I don’t know which country organized it. It may have been the United Kingdom. These countries used to be British colonies.

Yala: But it could have been the United States as well. Afterwards, the masses went to the door of the U.S. Embassy to demonstrate and throw stones.

Chairman Mao: It may have been the United States as well.

Yala: Every assassination and conspiracy is a kind of anti-imperialist education for the people.

Chairman Mao: Right. After the first assassination attempt, Nkrumah removed the British officers and sent them away.

Yala: That is a good thing that came out of it.

The Ghanaian army in the Congo is under British command. British officers are engaged in activities against Africans and Congolese. African troops commanded by Europeans military officers are being used against Africans. In Morocco, the army is also commanded by Frenchmen.

Chairman Mao: What is the situation now?

Yala: A former French general is still in the Moroccan army. Some Africans also bear responsibility for what the Europeans are doing in Africa.

African troops are fighting Africans. As I said earlier, British command Ghanaian troops in the Congo and Ghanaian troops in the Congo and a Frenchman commands Moroccan troops.

Chairman Mao: I told Ferhat Abbas that Patrice Lumumba’s difficulty was that he did not have his own army. He couldn't control the airport. The army was controlled by the reactionaries. Both Mombato and Casaboubu were pro-American.

Yala: Completely pro-American.

Now the United States cannot hide their objective. It was to put Moïse Tshombe in power. Some Africans were also responsible for this. Some people were involved in the plot. Some others did not object at the time but opposed it later.

Chairman Mao: I am gradually coming to understand.

Yala: He failed to be sufficiently vigilant. For example, when he returned to Congo, he crossed Mali. Mali's capital was revolutionary. Modibo Keïta would not have invited a Moïse Tshombe to Mali. Then there is the suspicion that the Americans directed things behind the scenes. Let Moïse Tshombe go to the capital of the revolution to look around and perhaps be touched by the light of the revolution.

Chairman Mao: I heard that Keita refused to see him. Moïse Tshombe asked several times and only saw him once. Let's take a break now and enjoy a light meal.

Yala: Please allow me to take this opportunity to pass to you a letter from President Ben Bella. (Yala hands Bella's letter to Chairman Mao.)

Chairman Mao: Thank you. Is President Ben Bella also the general secretary of the party?

(The guest and the hosts are seated at the table.)

Yala: Yes. It was in his capacity as general secretary that he wrote this letter. We want to learn from your party building experience. During Premier Zhou’s visit to Algeria, he exchanged views with the leaders of the party. I hope that we will continue to exchange views in the future.

Chairman Mao: We can share our experiences with each other.

Yala: We can't talk an exchange. We are learning from you.

Chairman Mao: No. Your party is a new party and has youthful vigor. It has now been established. Are you still building it?

Yala: The Party Congress opened in April. Strictly speaking, the National Liberation Front is not a party but is like a parliamentary grouping.

Chairman Mao: Is it a united front?

Yala: Yes. The organization has just been established and a Central Committee set up for the first time. Now we need to build the party in the countryside. The peasants participated in the war. The vast majority of the population are peasants.

Chairman Mao: Most of the people are peasants.

Yala: Fifty percent of the people in Algeria are under twenty years of age.

Chairman Mao: What is the ratio of urban population to rural population?

Yala: About 75% of the people live in the countryside and 25% in cities0. After independence, the population has been flowing to the city. The government tried to block the flow but failed. These people don't have jobs in the cities but they badly wanted to live urban lives. One million French people left so now people live in French houses but do not work. These problems can only be solved one the party becomes well organized. We will have a lot of explaining to do. Now we need to focus our attention on organizational work. Regardless of how we fought the war in the past or today our struggle to build the party and oppose counter-revolution, none of this can succeed without the support of the people.

Chairman Mao: The question is whether to build a party for the exploited or to build a party for the exploiters. No matter what country you are talking about, the exploiters are always in the minority.

Yala: The same is true of Algeria. But they have friends. Their friends, the imperialists, can create trouble at any time.

Chairman Mao: The most exploited workers together with the workers who are not exploited but who do not exploit others account for more than 90%.

Yala: Yes, it is. There are different situations in Algeria and Morocco. A total of 22,000 people took French citizenship. They are people whose property has been nationalized and who had previously served in the French government. They can get compensation after they obtain French nationality. (Laughter)

Chairman Mao: It is not bad thing that those people went to France. Chiang Kai-shek brought many people with him when he fled to Taiwan. The army has a total of about two hundred thousand. This is not bad. We suspect that he took less. It would be better if he had taken more. Take a few more, and you some good people will emerge from that group who will do good work for you in the future. However, there is no saying whether good people will emerge from your 200,000.

Yala: I am afraid there won't be any good ones.

(The chairman asked the interpreter what language is being spoken. The answer is French. The chairman asked Qiao Guanhua, is there a shortage of French speakers now? Qiao answered yes. The Chairman said: We don't have enough interpreters at our Embassy in Burundi. There is only one interpreter there.)

Chairman Mao: We have just said that there are too few people who speak French. There is only one interpreter for our Embassy in Burundi.

Yala: There is a Chinese in Burundi who was enticed away by the United States.

(The chairman asked Qian Guanhua: What did that man do, was it the interpreter? Qiao said that it was the interpreter.)

Chairman Mao: It was the interpreter. We are one person short (laughs).

Yala: The Burundian government reacted very strongly on this matter. It was very brave.

Chairman Mao: This is a good country.

Yala: It is a kingdom, but it is better than some other countries. We have a good relationship with them. There is also Congo (Brazzaville). During his visit to Algeria, President of the Congo (Brazzaville) told us that he would send an ambassador to Beijing.

Chairman Mao: Africa really has woken up and is determined to oppose imperialism. Shortly after you were liberated, you supported others’ struggle against imperialism. This shows that the people of your country are being led by a revolutionary party.

Yala: We received Chinese assistance during the war. Our revolution could not have won without your assistance.

Chairman Mao: First of all, the UAE helped you, not us. If it were not for the United Arab Emirates, our weapons would not have been shipped. We have established diplomatic relations with you. That was also done at the suggestion of the Arab League. They said that we should establish diplomatic relations with you. We agreed. That diplomacy was all done in Cairo.

Yala: It could not have been done without the help of the United Arab Emirates. The committee that launched the armed struggle was established in Cairo. Originally known as the Maghreb Committee. People from Morocco and Tunisia attended. Later, because some opposed violence, the opposition to armed struggle, the organization split up. There was also an armed struggle in Tunisia in 1954, but it was not done by Bourguiba, since he was in prison at the time. Libya had a US military base. The base there is the largest base outside the Americas.

Chairman Mao: Libya has also helped you during the war.

Yala: Yes, Libya was Algeria's arsenal.

Chairman Mao: Light weapons are still useful. The imperialists are afraid of rifles, machine guns, mortars, and explosives.

Yala: Those are the best weapons for guerrilla warfare.

Chairman Mao: 300 meters down to 200 meters is close combat. In close combat as well as in night warfare, aircraft are useless. There are no planes, heavy artillery, or navy in southern Vietnam.

Yala: I heard that our southern Vietnamese friends use guns to knock down helicopters and small planes.

Chairman Mao: They do that a lot.

Yala: Yesterday in Beijing, the representative of southern Vietnam in Algeria told me that they had a hero who had shot down three helicopters with his gun in just one day.

Chairman Mao: You could get into closer touch with them. Do you have diplomatic relations with Vietnam?

Yala: Yes. The Vietnamese ambassador to Algeria was still in Beijing two days ago. I have to go to Vietnam in two days. I am also the Algerian ambassador to Vietnam. We will build our embassy there in four or five months and then send a charge d’affaires. We have some work to do in Vietnam. The French sent a group of Algerians to fight in Vietnam. When they arrived in Vietnam, they went over to the Vietnamese side, got married, and had children. Now they want to repatriate.

Chairman (toast): Congratulations on your development! Congratulations on your victory! I wish President Ben Bella good health!

Yala: A toast to friendship between China and Algeria and health to the Chairman!

(After the meal, the interpreter read Ben Bella's letter to the Chairman. See the attachment below.)

Chairman Mao: Thank you very much. You have had a lot to say. We will ask for your advice and exchange experiences with you. For example we have a lot to learn from the experience of Vietnam. We can't just rely on our own past experiences. They have made a lot of innovations. You, Cuba, and Vietnam all have new creations. The same is a Vietnam, the experience of southern Vietnam is much different from that of the north. A delegation leader in Vietnam said that there were some fears and fears for the Air Force when fighting in the north. But due to years of experience in the Southern War, this problem has been solved. Cadres, the army, and the masses are not so afraid. You have this kind of experience as well. You didn't have an air force at the time, and France had a strong air force. The head of a Vietnamese delegation said that when they were fighting in the North they dreaded and had great fear of the Air Force. But now, thanks to years of experience in the South, they have been able to solve that problem. Now the cadres, troops and the masses are not as fearful as they were before. You also have that kind of experience. You didn't have an air force during your war but France had a powerful air force.

We fought for twenty-three years without a single plane. There are many enemy planes, all supplied by the United States. The Japanese also used planes to blow us up. Now the Americans, learning from their experience in the Korean War, now acknowledge that that their air force cannot solve their problems. Bombing railways and highways with their air force did not stop us from transporting supplies. The attacks did nothing more than kill some people, collapsed some bridges and destroyed some roads and railways. But not many people died because they transported goods by night and not during the day. Bridges were blown apart and so we organized engineering troops to repair the bridges. Bombing and repair, again and again and again. The Americans dropped a three-pronged object to destroy the car's tires. We organized teams to sweep away those kinds of things. There is also a napalm bomb that not only injures, but also kills people by sticking to the body and not falling off. We can defeat all these things.

We have been fighting with two foreign countries. We fought Japan for eight years. Not the Japan of today, but the Japan of 20 years ago. Japan today has no colonies and is controlled by the United States. In Korea, we fought the Americans for three more years. At that time, only 20% of the soldiers were willing to go; 20% were opposed, and not willing to go; and 60% obeyed orders when they were told to go. In the end everyone went. It turned out that the Americans were not exhausted. Because the Americans are still irritating. We will overcome the difficulties that we face. All difficulties can be overcome. You also face serious difficulties.

Yala: As the Chairman said, difficulties can be overcome, as long as there is the courage to do so.

Chairman Mao: We have reached a consensus. Send a telegram to the President and the General Secretary with my regards. Can we make today’s conversation public? Or should it be kept confidential? Shall we publish it or not?

Yala: It is up to you.

Chairman Mao: I think we can issue a news bulletin about what the Ambassador said to the Chairman along with the letter from the General Secretary. (To Qiao Guanhua and Ma Zhenwu: Ambassadors from other countries should not take this as a precedent that they can just ask and they can see me.)

Yala: Our Algerian news agency also published a message and said that we had handed over the letter and talked.

Chairman Mao: Well then, the content of our discussions will not be published then. (To Qiao Guanhua and Yala: You two can take care of that)

This brings today's discussion to a close. How did our discussion go today? Was it good or not? The climate is good here and you can rest for a few days. You might want to visit the Qinhuangdao Glass Factory, Shanhaiguan and some other places.

Ma: He will return to Beijing tomorrow.

Yala: There are many delegations from Algeria now in Beijing.

Chairman Mao: That's good. Go see them right away.

Yala: I'll go to Vietnam for two or three days to present my credentials there.

Chairman Mao: (To Ma Zhenwu) I should arrange for a plane to save you some time.

Yala: I would like to see some sights from the train.

Chairman Mao: Yes, for the sake of seeing some sights it would be good to take the train.

Yala: Thank you, Chairman, for receiving me, speaking with me so kindly, so I felt I could speak completely freely. Please excuse me for taking up your time.

Chairman Mao: We are fraternal peoples and fraternal parties.

Yala: There couldn't be a better brother.

Chairman Mao: If you need something, just ask them (To Qiao and Ma he said, give him any assistance he needs) He should to other parts of the country to understand the situation, and not necessarily with other envoys. Individual tours and visits can be arranged for ambassadors from friendly countries.

Yala: They have already helped us to build our embassy.

Chairman Mao: How long have you been here?

Yala: Since July 24.

Chairman Mao: Not even a month.

Yala: But the embassy has already been built. We are getting better treatment than other countries.

Chairman Mao: (To Jiao and Ma) You should help them.

(Photo with host and guest. While the group photo was being taken, the Chairman asked, why do we have so few people? Why don't we have the interpreter in the photo? The Chairman said to the interpreter, your work is very important. If it weren't for you, we would not be able to do our work. After the group photo was taken, the Chairman escorted the guests to just outside the door. He shook hands with them on the stone steps and said goodbye.)

Attachment:

Letter from General Secretary of the National Liberation Front of Algeria and President Al-Ahmed Ben Bella of the Republic of Algeria to Chairman Mao Zedong

General Secretary of the National Liberation Front, President of the Democratic Republic of Algeria, Al-Ahmed Ben Bella, to the Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Chairman Mao Zedong

Dear friend, Chairman Mao:

The opening of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of Algeria gives me the opportunity to reaffirm to you, Mr. Chairman and dear friends, the friendly ties established between the great Chinese people and the Algerian people during the difficult period of the Algerian people’s liberation struggle against colonialism. I am convinced that in the struggle against imperialism and against both old and neo- colonialism, in the development of the world’s progressive forces and in the consolidation of world peace based on the principles of the Bandung Conference, that these friendly ties will continue to link the Algerian people together with the brotherly Chinese people.

We had planned to open our Embassy in China for a long time, but each time the Algerian Embassy in China was postponed because of the reasons for our transfer, and so could not be opened immediately after the establishment of the first independent government of Algeria. Dear brothers and friends, you have been most understanding of the difficulties that our young country has encountered.

Dear brothers and friends, you have been most understanding of the real difficulties encountered by our young nation. These difficulties have prevented us from sending people to our friends in various regions.

Today, we have fulfilled our most cherished wish.

Algeria faces a reactionary plots and conspiracies by various imperialist countries, and it is determined to build a socialist society that will forever eliminate the system of unfairness and exploitation of human beings.

Algeria firmly believes that in the process of accomplishing this task, it will be able, just as it has in the past, to obtain all the necessary support necessary for the consolidation of its revolutionary achievements from the great Chinese people.

The People’s Republic of China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Algeria have a great responsibility to continue, through cooperation in the struggle against imperialism, to effectively defeat the conspiracies of their common enemies and to find suitable solutions to the problems of the two peoples.

I am convinced that on the basis of these principles, the Chinese people and the Algerian people will work tirelessly for the peace and human friendship of all mankind.

With profound respect to our brothers.

Ahmed Ben Bella (signed) 

(Translator's Note: There is no date in the original letter. On August 17, 1964, Algerian Ambassador to China Mohamed Yala handed the letter to Chairman Mao in Beidaihe.)