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Digital Archive International History Declassified

February 17, 1966

TRANSCRIPT OF DISCUSSIONS ON THE OCCASION OF THE RECEPTION BY COMRADE NICOLAE CEAUSESCU OF THE S. R. CZECHOSLOVAK AMBASSADOR IN BUCHAREST, CESTMIR CISAR

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    This transcript of the conversation between Nicolae Ceausescu and Cestmir Cisar, the Czechoslovakian ambassador to Bucharest, includes confirmation that Romania will continue to support the cause of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, and the agreement between Nicolae Ceausescu and Cestmir Cisar that the Polish initiative of joint Warsaw Pact and Chinese action in Vietnam was misguided.
    "Transcript of Discussions on the Occasion of the Reception by Comrade Nicolae Ceausescu of the S. R. Czechoslovak Ambassador in Bucharest, Cestmir Cisar," February 17, 1966, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, ANR, Fond CC al PCR, Secţia Relaţii Externe, dosar 15/1966, f. 1-8. Translated by Larry L. Watts https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/122563
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[…]

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: Regarding the situation in Vietnam, I believe our position is known. At the beginning of January this year we received a visit by a party and government delegation from D.R. Vietnam. We have given them all of the support they requested, we support entirely the position of the D.R. Vietnam regarding the resolution of the conflict in Vietnam; one cannot do otherwise. It is not possible to support any resolution other than that which the Vietnamese comrades consider the most correct. We concluded that all of the “peace offensive” of the Americans is nothing other than an attempt to fool the public. The facts demonstrate that the Americans have not yet reached the conclusion that they must renounce the aggression in Vietnam. Given that, we must accord, and we do accord all of our support to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and to the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam in the struggle they conduct. Of course, we understand that the American aggression in Vietnam represents a great danger for peace, however, the Americans can be convinced to renounce the aggression only when faced with a determined fight and the unlimited support accorded to Vietnam by the socialist countries.

There are also some opinions according to which more should be done regarding the problem of Vietnam. I refer to the idea of organizing a conference of the communist parties of Asia and Europe. Such a conference would have a certain importance on the condition that it is realized with the participation of the socialist countries directly interested in this problem. Without Vietnam and the Chinese People’s Republic, such a conference would have no purpose. We also received the letter of the Polish comrades; we also received the response given by the Czechoslovak Communist Party. We were a little more reserved; we considered and we consider that the problem must be discussed in the first place with the Vietnamese comrades because it is normal and logical that, on a problem that concerns a socialist country, that it should first be discussed with that country. But here, the procedure was not quite that. We do not consider it useful to propose a conference on the problem of Vietnam without first asking Vietnam. And then there is the letter to the Chinese comrades. Because the Polish comrades requested our support in this action, meaning that we should support their initiative to the Chinese, we responded that this problem must be discussed between the Poles and the Chinese and we do not consider it useful for use to interfere in that discussion. In our opinion, it would have been more normal for the Polish comrades to address the Chinese in the first place, and to discuss directly with them. There was no absolute need for a letter that, at the very beginning, produced a certain reaction from the Chinese. We have enough letters, enough documents; what is needed now is concrete, discrete action in order to find a path of rapprochement. The situation that has been created in the workers movement in the relations between the socialist countries is of such a nature that very great patience and perseverant action is necessary to find a path of rapprochement.

We must start off from the reality that a spirit of mistrust has been created within the movement; each sees in the actions of the other either the pursuit of nefarious ends or at least the pursuit of some occult interest. Because of this we must act to help restore that trust. Let me tell you honestly: the letter of the Polish comrades only contributed to the mistrust.

That is how we responded to the Polish comrades and the considerations behind that response.

C. Cisar: I want to thank you for your presentation here, which has convinced me that the method of patient, concrete negotiation is the method that will contribute both to the improvement and to the development of the relations between our parties. Our Central Committee is of the same opinion that we must fight to reestablish trust. It seems that the use of epitaphs – “dogmatists,” “revisionists” – leads to nothing good.

We know that the problems are very complicated and complex. I do not want to appear to be defending the Polish comrades, but I believe that their intentions were good. Certainly, the manner in which they proceeded is debatable, but the intention was good.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: We also consider that the Polish comrades had good intentions but, as they say, the road to hell is paved with the best of intentions.

C. Cisar: I agree that this initiative is uninspired but, nevertheless, we must do something to help Vietnam.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: In the first place, each country must accord it assistance. This is a form in which we can manifest full solidarity towards Vietnam. And, certainly, we should be creating the conditions for a reunion on this problem. However, in our opinion, direct contacts can do more good than dozens of letters. People discussing directly can much better clarify things. That way there is no preoccupation that each should have a document that, eventually, they can use to justify their position: look what I did!

[…]

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