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Digital Archive International History Declassified

February 24, 1966

TRANSCRIPT OF DISCUSSIONS ON THE OCCASION OF THE RECEPTION BY COMRADE NICOLAE CEAUSESCU OF THE SOVIET AMBASSADOR IN BUCHAREST, A. V. BASOV

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    This document is a transcript of the conversation between Nicolae Ceausescu and A. V. Basov, Soviet Ambassador to Bucharest, in which Nicolae Ceausescu informs the ambassador of his refusal to become involved in the relations between Poland and China over the situation in Vietnam.
    "Transcript of Discussions on the Occasion of the Reception by Comrade Nicolae Ceausescu of the Soviet Ambassador in Bucharest, A. V. Basov," February 24, 1966, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, ANR, Fond CC al PCR, Secţia Relaţii Externe, dosar 16/1966, f. 3, 19-20. Translated by Larry L. Watts https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/122564
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[…]

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu:  In connection with Vietnam. Of course, this lack of unity has a negative influence. The Polish comrades sent that letter regarding the conference. We responded in very short form: we told them that it would have been better if they had the agreement of the Vietnamese comrades beforehand, because a letter, when it has not been agreed by those that it directly concerned, cannot fail to create certain suspicions and mistrust from the very start. It was logical to first discuss it with the Vietnamese comrades, without letters, and if they reached a conclusion they could have then addressed the other comrades. The Polish comrades, in their letters, gave to understand that they expected us to support their proposal with the Chinese. We responded that we did not desire to interfere in discussions between the two parties. That was the entire response.

Why did we respond so? Here, we considered that one could have proceeded otherwise. The Polish comrades could have sent someone to discuss directly with the Chinese, just as they sent a delegate with the letter of Johnson to Beijing: you see what we were thinking. We consider that we do not need written documents at this point, we need contacts and direct discussions in order to clarify things, because everyone seeks to say things a certain way in a letter so that, when the need arises, they can prove their position. We have enough documents already. Given all of that, we have no desire to interfere in any way in this problem. That is besides the fact that the Polish comrades did nothing other than sending us a copy of the letter to the Chinese and, as such, it was a problem that directly concerned them and the Chinese. I am telling you in broad strokes the considerations that convinced us to respond the way we did. In another order of ideas, I can tell you that, aside from the letters, we have not yet had a discussion with the Polish comrades. If they desired to address the other parties, they should have addressed them with a letter, not by sending them a copy of a letter [they sent] to the Chinese.

A V. Basov: I thought they sent you a letter.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: They sent us a copy of the letter to the Chinese, with an accompanying note.

If all the countries would agree to meet in connection with Vietnam, that would be a good thing, but they should have proceeded a little differently, if they had things would have gone differently.

A V. Basov: And what is the way out of this mess?

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: Direct contacts with no middlemen.

It may be possible to reach this point. However, until then, each of us must accord, just as we accord now, political and material assistance to the Vietnamese comrades.

A V. Basov: They are a fraternal people and all of us must help them.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: These are the issues.

A V. Basov: See how you instruct me again. Such things one cannot read in any newspaper.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: I have told you all of this so that you hear it here first, rather than from some ambassador or who knows who.

A. V. Basov: I am very grateful.

[…]

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