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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 31, 1966

DISCUSSION OF COMRADE NICOLAE CEAUSESCU WITH A. N. SHELEPIN, AT A DINNER OFFERED BY THE CPSU CC, IN HONOR OF THE FOREIGN DELEGATIONS AT THE 23RD CONGRESS OF THE CPSU

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    This transcript is of a conversation between Nicolae Ceausescu and A. N. Shelepin discussing Romania's continued aid of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the cold relations between Romania and the Chinese Communist Party.
    "Discussion of Comrade Nicolae Ceausescu with A. N. Shelepin, at a Dinner Offered by the CPSU CC, in Honor of the Foreign Delegations at the 23rd Congress of the CPSU ," March 31, 1966, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, ANR, Fond CC al PCR, Secţia Relaţii Externe, dosar 28/1966, f. 1-6. Translated by Larry L. Watts https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/122565
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[…]

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: Regarding international problems, we believe that this was well addressed in the report. We appreciate the fact that divergent problems were not raised in a harsh manner. This is good.

Cde. A. N. Shelepin: We also consider that the problems were raised as they should be.

Regarding relations with China, the problem was raised in such a way, that not a phrase, not a word could provoke debate. We weighed them very seriously. Expressions were chosen such that we are responsible for every word.

In the problem of Vietnam, of American imperialism, of Europe, things were raised sharply.

Certainly, there are still more problems, but these were not raised in the report, because we considered it better not to do so.

[…]

What worries us is the problem of relations with China. This is an internal question of the Chinese comrades, however we consider that they commit a serious error when they instill a spirit of hatred towards the Soviet people among their people. There are divergences, but why should be draw the people into this question? They consider us more evil than the most odious people in the world. We tried to sit down and talk with them; we sent them a letter to which they have never responded. When I was in Vietnam I told Li Xiannian: “Brezhnev and the CPSU leadership are ready to meet anytime with Mao Zedong in Beijing or Moscow.”

They responded with nothing. So we do not know what to do. We told them: “Let’s meet and discuss one single problem – the coordination of aid to Vietnam. But they did not want to hear such a thing.  When I was in Vietnam, they said that I went there to put pressure on the Vietnamese to accept the path of negotiations. I went there to accord even more military assistance, especially missiles. I noted that the situation is very difficult. There is only one airport. If the Chinese would place even one airport at our disposal, the Vietnamese could use the MIG aircraft we gave to them. In that way a powerful blow could be given against the American air force.

A week before the congress, the Central Committee Presidium of our party took the decision to accord supplementary assistance, without payment, to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam – 3 missile regiments with the respective logistics and camouflage. In the first place American aviation must be hit hard.

In any case, if the Americans win in Vietnam, it would be very bad for all of us. Because of that we must help them. We continue to aid Vietnam. The Chinese request that we renounce everything.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: No one could agree with that and no one should request such a thing.

Cde. A. N. Shelepin: They denigrate us; they maintain that we have allied ourselves with the American imperialists. It is a very difficult situation. Sincerely speaking, we see no possibilities whatsoever, at least not for the near future.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: But a perspective exists nonetheless. In the final analysis, a resolution of divergences will be reached, leading towards unity. Of course, that cannot be expected anytime soon. But in the end the Chinese comrades will understand the unity is necessary. We will continue speaking with the Chinese comrades. In May Zhou Enlai will visit Romania, in response to a visit made a while back to China by our comrades.

[…]

It is true that there are divergences, some real, others that appeared because of the lack of trust, because of certain previous errors committed. The Polish comrades proposed the convocation of a conference of the parties of the socialist countries on the problem of Vietnam. They sent a letter to the Chinese comrades regarding this. Possibly it would have been better to discuss this directly with the Chinese comrades rather than to send them a letter. It is different when you discussion with people directly.

Cde. A. N. Shelepin: It is good to discuss, however, I doubt that anything will come of it.

Concerning myself, Zhou Enlai produced a certain impression. For several months Mao Zedong has not appeared in public, he no longer receives foreign delegations.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: We also want to send a delegation to Vietnam in the second half of April, if the Vietnamese comrades agree.

Cde. A. N. Shelepin: That is very good. The Vietnamese comrades have need of help, especially because the situation in South Vietnam has been difficult recently. The transportation lines are always bombed, which means that the supply of food and munitions is carried out in very difficult conditions. If we could reach an understanding with the Chinese comrades at least on this problem then things would be presented otherwise. But we do not know what to do. Maybe you can give us some advice; maybe you have some constructive proposals to make.

Regarding ourselves, we are ready to examine any proposals. I am speaking seriously; maybe you have some advice, proposals. We, at least for the near future, see no kind of perspective.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: But a perspective does exist. It is impossible that unity cannot be achieved. In any case, we consider positively the fact that the divergent problems were not raised in the report to the congress. This will have a certain influence, including in China. Certainly, the results will not be immediate, tomorrow.

Cde. A. N. Shelepin: In China? I doubt it.

[…]

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