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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 14, 1961

MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION FROM THE MEETING BETWEEN VICE PREMIER CHEN YI AND THE ALBANIAN AMBASSADOR TO CHINA REIS MALILE

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

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    Chen Yi and Reis Malile discuss Sino-Albanian trade and Syria's secession from the United Arab Republic.
    "Memorandum of Conversation from the Meeting between Vice Premier Chen Yi and the Albanian Ambassador to China Reis Malile," October 14, 1961, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 109-02376-02, 9-10. Translated by Max Maller. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119517
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Memorandum of Conversation from the Meeting between Vice Premier Chen Yi and the Albanian Ambassador to China Reis Malile

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1. On Comradre Shehu’s Letter to Zhou Enlai, Requesting that China Provide a 40 Million Ruble Economic Credit and Provide a Supplement of 40,000 Tons of Wheat

2. On The Issue of Albanian-Soviet Relations

3. On the Issue of Albania’s Postponing its Recognition of Syria

Time: 10:40 a.m., 14 October 1961

Location: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Vestibule

Attending Persons: Deputy Director Xu Ming

Translator: Wang [Illegible]

Record: Yu Hongliang

Malile: I have a very urgent letter for you.

Gives the letter, see attached for full contents.

This letter is from [Albanian Premier] Comrade [Mehmet] Shehu to Premier Zhou [Enlai]. It discusses an economic problem. For our part, this is a grave problem of great concern. This is why I asked to see either you or Premier Zhou. Of course, political and economic issues are closely related. You are aware of the Soviets’ present attitude toward us.

Chen: I understand.

Malile: They have our economy viciously sealed off. That is why we wish for Premier Zhou to know of this issue before he leaves.

Chen: We will translate this letter and get it to him at once. Premier Zhou leaves tomorrow—your relations with the Soviets are well known to us all. Comrade Shehu’s conversation with [Foreign Minister] Luo Shigao has already been shared with the Central Committee. On this trip, there must be a struggle. This is our surmise: at the meeting, we cannot appear weak. Not just on Albanian issues, but also on several other matters related to the guiding principles of revisionism and certain international questions; we must fight for all of these. We will be forthright with Khrushchev and tell him that in dealing with Albania they have made mistakes. We shall not compromise.

Malile: Precisely. They are behaving like the real enemy.

Chen: As Marx said, they are their own gravediggers.

Malile: There is another matter I wish to discuss. The steamship headed for Albania is making good progress. We sincerely hope to prepare a shipload with 9000 tons of weaponry, and a second with 3000 tons.

One more thing. I would like your input regarding the recognition of Syria. At this point we have still not recognized them.

Chen: You can recognize them.

Malile: That is what we plan to do. We know [Egyptian President Gamal Abdel] Nassar’s policies, so we quickly determined that the Syria situation was a good one. But, on the other hand, as you know, Khrushchev has blockaded us from four sides, such that China is now our only ally. To get to China, we have to cross the Suez Canal. If we recognize Syria, Nassar may give us trouble as a result. Therefore out of consideration for our relationship with Nassar, we wish to defer for a moment on the Syria question.

Chen: It’s all right to defer and look out for your relationship with Nassar. The first steamship left on 27 September. Today it reached Suez. And the second one left on 2 October. It is now in the Indian Ocean.