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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 20, 1966

TRANSCRIPT OF DISCUSSIONS HELD ON THE OCCASION OF THE VISIT TO THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM OF THE PARTY AND GOVERNMENT DELEGATION FROM THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF ROMANIA

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    This document is the transcript of the four meetings and two restricted meetings that took place with the Romanian delegation to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
    "Transcript of Discussions Held On the Occasion of the Visit to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam of the Party and Government Delegation from the Socialist Republic of Romania," May 20, 1966, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, ANR, Fond CC al PCR, Secţia Relaţii Externe, dosar 70/1966, f. 1-146. Translated by Larry L. Watts https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/122568
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Hanoi, 6-10 May 1966

Contents

1st Meeting Friday,      6 May 1966

2nd Meeting Saturday, 7 May 1966

3rd Meeting Saturday, 7 May 1966

4th Meeting Monday,   9 May 1966

Note of Conversation      7 May 1966

Note of 1st Restricted Meeting      9 May 1966

Note of 2nd Restricted Meeting    10 May 1966

1st Meeting, Friday, 6 May 1966

The following comrades participated - From the Romanian side: Emil Bodnaras, Paul Niculescu-Mizil, Gen. Ion Ionita, Vasile Vlad, Vasile Gliga and Ioan Moanga. From the Vietnamese side: Pham Van Dong, member of the Politburo of the Vietnamese Workers Party CC, Prime Minister of the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam; Nguyen Duy Trinh, Politburo member, Vice-Prime Minister and Foreign Minister; Le Thanh Nghi, Politburo member and Vice-Prime Minister; Hoang Van Hoan, Politburo member; Nguyen Van Tran, Vietnamese Workers Party CC Secretary; Tran Quy Hai, candidate CC member and Deputy Minister of National Defense; Hoang Van Tien, Deputy Foreign Minister; Hoang Tu, Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to the Socialist Republic of Romania.

[…]

Cde Pham Van Dong: Our delegation opens its presentation by saluting you in the name of our party, our government and our people.

We salute you warmly, with friendship and recognition because your visit is made in the current exceptional conditions [during U.S. bombing raids] – it is a visit just behind the front – and constitutes a great support for us.

We stress our thanks for the political support that you have accorded us and that you continue to accord to our struggle, the struggle of the entire Vietnamese people, both in the North and in the South. We thank you likewise for your recent decision to support the founding of a representation of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam in Bucharest. We thank you for your assistance, both economic and military; we have need of this aid, which supplements the force of our fighters. We will tell you what we need from the economic and military points of view, and you will do what you consider necessary. Your assistance constitutes for us not only a support, but is also important as an expression of our solidarity in the struggle. We have need of your support.

On the other hand, comrades, we also desire to know of your successes and experiences, because we know that things go well with you and this is a great thing. All of the socialist countries need for things to go well and if they go well with you it is all the better both for you and us. We need to know what you are doing in order that we also may learn from your experience.

One thing that ties both sides is that we promote a policy of equality and of the independence of our party towards other parties, and of our state towards other states. It is the only just policy. We persevere in this direction and we need to have an exchange of experience in this regard. Due to this policy, we have good relations with the Chinese comrades and with the Soviet comrades, something that, at this moment, is exceptional.

For all of these motives, our party, government and people receive you with warmth, with friendship and with recognition and we are convinced that your visit will be fruitful, and that this fruit will be a more efficient support overall for the fighters in the vanguard of socialism, against American imperialism.

Now, comrades, I would like to give a presentation of the situation of our country, and in the first place I will tell you about the war, because it represents our principal problem. We are at war and thus we will speak to you about it.

In the last years, our comrades have visited you many times and on those occasions have presented our situation. Thus, you know in general lines what is going on in our country.

Now I will give you a presentation about the current situation, and especially about the military situation. I must tell you that beginning with 1965 the war has been extended from the south to the north, due to the American aggressions. At present, all of our people conduct a war against the aggressors. However, a distinction must be made between the war in the south and that in the north.

If you consider necessary a brief presentation of the stages of the war, we will present them to you.

[…]

Cde. Pham Van Dong: Our slogan is – the unconditional (neconditionata) and definitive (definitive) cessation of any aggression against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

[…]

Here’s the situation: the Americans are people who rationalize in their own way; they have no idea what a people’s war means. According to them, a so-called under-developed people can be dominated very easily – some weapons and several million dollars are sufficient.

[…]

Cde. Pham Van Dong: From the military point of view American troops have no great value, they are not up to the standards of the French who were better trained, more intelligent, and knew the country. The Americans are people who understand nothing, however they are obligated to carry out a war under very difficult conditions, in the heat, in the jungle, in rain and with adversaries who are truly powerful.  In order to avoid air intervention it is necessary to practice war in conditions of close contact with the adversary and because of that these men are decimated. We know how these “boys” behave, but the criminal is JOHNSON, and not these boys. They were sent here against their wishes. They did not desire this. And now there are protests even from the Americans, because they know that going to South Vietnam is certain death.

[…]

Cde. Pham Van Dong: You see why some American parliamentarians have begun saying things like: “If South Vietnam forms a government that asks for the departure of the Americans, we have no other choice than to conform [to their request].” I believe that such a declaration merits full attention. It is an intelligent one; it is a solution both legal and elegant. We do not ask for anything better, but we consider that they must be helped to decide in this regard. Because the Pentagon is not very warm towards this slogan, it must be imposed upon them, but so long as the Pentagon is not convinced of this logic the war will certainly intensify.

[…]

The Americans are beginning to understand that the true enemy is not only the combatant forces on the front, but the entire people.

[…]

Cde. Pham Van Dong: Now I think I should say several things about our position, because it constitutes a very important link in our struggle. Those 4 points of ours, certainly, you know. Add to that our request regarding the definitive and unconditional cessation of any act of war against the North. All of this represents our position in a concrete way. This position is known, it is well defined, and we consider that it is impeccable, it is as reasonable as possible.  … This means that it is left to the Americans to accept our position and they must accept it. There is no bargaining. We oppose the declaration of Dean Rusk, who says that these points can be discussed, as well as those 14 points of his.

[…]

We consider that our position has every chance of obtaining more and more powerful support from world public opinion and from American public opinion. … This is the direction in which spirits are moving. So declared Mansfield, and so declared Kennedy as well. Basically, what they said is not the same thing as our point of view. However, it is progress, because at the end of last year American opinion was against the acceptance of the Front. Now however, it moves towards a form of recognition of the Front. We ask for recognition of the Front as the single authentic representative, which means that, in fact, the puppet government is non-existent. This is a crude thing for the Americans and they will try and do much in order to avoid it, but we must defeat them in every domain.  

[…]

You have always helped us and we thank you very much for that. At need, we will also solicit your aid again – economic assistance, military assistance, etc. We will see what we need and in what measure you can help us.

At this time we ask you to accept a number of our students and a number of workers for further training. Now we are in the midst of war, but we are thinking about the situation after the war. We fight with all of our power in order to win this wary in the best conditions possible, in order to begin again to build our country. Given that, we would like to send our students, workers and specialists to study in order to be ready for the day peace will come.

With that, comrades, I conclude my presentation.

Cde. Emil Bodnaras: Our delegation is very happy to have had this briefing, which is qualified and complete. It seems to me that you have addressed all of the issues in this presentation.

We thank you for the presentation.

We ask you to agree to stop here for today. You known, there are so many things of interest, that it is best to let them settle in our heads a little, because we are accustomed to judge things reasonably.

Tomorrow we will ask several questions, for which we do not need too much time. Do you think its best that you continue on some issues or should we give a presentation? What do you believe would be best? We have foreseen 4 interviews.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: Lets proceed as you have suggested. Tomorrow we will respond to your questions. After that, we would be very glad to listen to you and then we will see. We have enough time. We consider that this manner of proceeding is good and because we use the time that we have at our disposition. We will have time to think and maybe there will also be certain special issues.

[…]

2nd Meeting

Saturday, 7 May 1966, 0900 hours

[…]

Cde. Emil Bodnaras: Now I will present some of our party’s preoccupations regarding its orientation, in economic construction and in its relations with the other socialist countries, with communist and workers parties, with progressive movements in the entire world.

In the course of 1962 we met with several tendencies upon which we have reflected much. Primarily, the tendency to view the economy of the socialist countries of Europe, of those countries who were members of the CMEA, being developed according to a single economic plan for all countries, even though that activity would centralize the most important functions of a state. In this framework, the idea of economic integration was evident, in all of its forms, which became manifest in various projects with which we met in CMEA, in conferences, in articles and, in the end, in the meeting that we had with the Soviet leadership in 1963.

Khrushchev, Brezhnev, who was then a party secretary; Kosygin, who was first-Vice President of the Council of Ministers and who leads the Soviet economy, and Andropov participated in this meeting, which took place in Bucharest. The conversations then, which foresaw a cycle of meetings on various issues, helped us to clarify our position in the sense of saying a categorical “no” to all of these projects.

If the collaboration and cooperation between socialist countries constitutes an objective necessity springing from the structure of their economies, from the class character of socialist societies, then in no case do forms of supranational organization have a place, [p. 75] in our opinion, in this cooperation and collaboration.

The socialist states of Europe that have formed after the war are the result of the clashes that took place on a general level between Fascism and Socialism. At the forefront of this struggle was the Soviet Union, which made great sacrifices, which constituted a shock force, but it is no less true that without the existence of communist parties, without the working class struggle organized in the countries where socialism was only later installed, this victory of socialism would not have been possible. Thus, recognizing the existence of this objective factor which contributed to the development of the war and the defeat of Fascism, it is no less important [to recognize] the subjective factor – the fact that in each country the party played a fundamental role. This is a reality over which one cannot pass neither in appreciating the moment of winning political power nor in the following period when this political power had to be implemented completely through the socialist transformation of society.

The socialist nation is an objective reality. Only under the leading working class does it reach its full capacity to manifest as an historic force that has was built independently of our will and which has its destiny to fulfill in the development of future socialist and communist societies. The Nation will continue to play an important role up until its disappearance, a moment which is still very far away. Lenin foresaw this process in a formulation made with much prudence, in the sense that even after political power will be in the hands of the working class on a global scale, national particularities will persist for quite a long time afterward. From this derives also the care with which we must address this issue of such importance from the political point of view, because at present it forms the key to the development of socialist society.

Because of these considerations we said a categoric “no!” to the projects that tend to annihilate in the final analysis the party functions of a respective country, the functions of the working class in the respective country, the functions of the national state in the development of socialist society. …

There were comrades from some parties and certain large communist parties in capitalist countries, who at the time reproached us for our position: “How can you, as communists and internationalists, not understand what the capitalists have long understood and that is to unite?” The same argument was used also by cde. Kosygin in 1962, when he presented as his example the Common Market in Western Europe: “Why do we communists not agree to make what the capitalists have also made?” We responded: “What the capitalists have done between them is a capitalist business arrangement.” There capitalist private properties are associated that need to go into such a form because otherwise they would be exposed to the blows of the strongest. Who dominates the West European economy today? Monopoly American capital is the most powerful.

We asked the communist comrades from the parties that addressed us: if they are thinking about winning political power do they think they will have any chance at rallying the working class of their countries around the struggle for power by communicating that the stages towards socialist society are the following: fighting to overthrow the bourgeoisie, taking power, nationalizing the means of production, expropriating the expropriators; and the next day after having nationalized the means of production – the internationalization of the means of production, the economy of the country thenceforth being directed elsewhere, in some center or other, according to a unique plan, in the interest of proletarian internationalism? Please, go into elections with that! … The idea is ridiculous.

Happily, today many judge otherwise.

What is certain is that our party has opposed, is opposed, and will oppose any tendencies towards the institution of supranational organizations in the relations between socialist countries and in any relations in the world. We do not even recommend these sorts of relations to capitalist countries.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: They also have problems with this issue. The Common Market goes badly.

Cde. Emil Bodnaras: We have this position of principle not only regarding economic organisms, but also when we are speaking of other political or military organisms. I am referring to the Warsaw Pact in which we participate and which is an organism designed to defend against eventual action of the imperialism constituted in the NATO organization. Within the Pact we want to be equal partners, convinced that we participate with all of our forces in the organization of a socialist front in this part of the world, without admitting supranational institutions that could be imposed upon us by someone’s will. The leadership of the party and state in our own country is the only one able to decide on all of the political, economic and military tasks of our country.

We consider that, from the point of view of principle, no one can take over the essential prerogatives of the party and state because the party, the government and the state institutions carry the principal responsibility for any action before the country and before their own people. Some comrades become angry when these plans for economic integration were placed before them, we addressed the people, the workers, and the peasants and we informed them.

Socialist property is not private capitalist property. We do not have the right to give it away, no one has given us such a mandate – not the Party Congress, not the government or Central Committee – to alienate national property, in part or entirely, and to cede to someone else who will plan its use. And then the practical problem is raised: and who, please, will be planning its use? Who is the one that has given proof of such wisdom that we can trust to his capacity for this planning? We have motives to believe that at least in the case of some projects no one has been notable for this capacity.  But that is purely an auxiliary matter.

Dear comrades, if someone called you personally to occupy an equivalent post in Romania, of if a Romanian would be called to come here and sit in a place of leadership in Vietnam, would that not be a misfortune? He could not do anything; he would be paralyzed. No one can take over your responsibility, which you exercise with body and soul, through the people, through history, with all that moves, with all perspective, with all traditions. No one. Only you.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: Exactly. No one can replace the Vietnamese in Vietnam.

Cde. E. Bodnaras: Or the Romanians in Romania, or the French in France.

Starting from this point, we have calculated it necessary to express our position in documents, we have considered that, if in the communist international, if among the countries of the socialist system there appeared difficulties and divergences then their principal source was the failure to consider these fundamental conditions regarding the responsibilities of the parties in the building of relations between them. We have expressed this idea and we continue to express it through affirmations of full equality in rights of all the parties, of all states large or small. No one is to blame if, historically, a small formation like Albania was constructed, or a colossus like the Soviet Union. Thus, we proclaim the principle of equality, the principle of independence, the principle of sovereignty, of non-interference in domestic affairs and of cooperation and collaboration on the basis of reciprocal advantage and we request the respect of these principles.

This is, in our opinion, the fundamental condition, which, once satisfied, will make to disappear at least 80% of the divergences that exist today, both in our socialist system and in relations within the communist movement. We calculate that the respect of these principles is an essential condition for the solidarity and unity of the world socialist system and the international communist movement.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: That is very true. These are absolute principles. To violate these principles means to expose yourself to grave dangers.

Cde. E. Bodnaras: We have calculated that the respect of these principles will assure socialism a larger and larger audience, a greater and greater sympathy, the adhesion of the peoples who fight for their liberation from colonial dependency, against the tendencies of neo-colonialism, in their orientation towards new solutions, towards socialism, because capitalism is already known. If socialism will not offer these perspectives, through the force of example, I know of no other solutions that could be adopted by these countries. If the nations, after they have escaped capitalist great power hegemony, should listen to a leader who would dictate what they had to do, how much bread they should eat, how many threads should be used to make a shirt, and what surface area the glass of their windows should have, then no one will be tempted to seek happiness in socialism.

We are convinced that socialism is the only solution. There is no other social force that can broach the great problems of humanity, except the working class, except the communist parties. But this must be understood by people, and for people to understand we should demonstrate its viability.

In this context of ideas we have appreciated your position, your decisiveness, to conduct the struggle to the end under the circumstances in which you find yourselves and we have said that no one has the right to modify this decision of the Vietnamese Workers Party. The Vietnamese comrades are the only ones responsible because only they have all of the elements to judge the situation, to organize the forces, to resolve the problems, and only they are in a situation to conduct the war to a good end. Why have another opinion than theirs? Here resides our solidarity with you. It is both sentimental and true, anyone becomes indignant when faced with aggression, but this is not sufficient. It is rational because it springs from our conception.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: I would like to say two words. You said repeatedly that no one has the right to modify our decision. In fact, to that we must add that no one could do it.

Cde. E. Bodnaras: I agree.

On this basis we have relations with all of the communist parties, with all socialist countries. On this basis we cultivate these relations. We respect this basis in a rigorous manner and we have pretensions that it should be reciprocally respected. This we do also in our relations with the other progressive and democratic forces.

In relations with the capitalist countries, we request: equality in rights, respect of the independence and sovereignty, noninterference in internal affairs, reciprocal advantage. There will always be clear accounts on this basis.

Proletarian internationalism is a great force, but the content of this notion is that it is determined by the capacity of each to give it force. If each will be weak because no one will be responsible and master in their own country, then what would this proletarian internationalism be?

Certainly, there were some who thought to ease their own existence by qualifying this position of ours as “nationalism,” “narrow nationalism” and with all sorts of epithets. We are not impressed by these qualifications. We note one thing. In Bucharest all of the socialist countries, all of the communist parties, may meet without restrictions, one can sit at the same table without taking out the knives of polemics.

On public polemics, as you know, our party has given its opinion at the time, in a document published in 1964. The theses of this document were made more concrete during the work of the 9th Congress [in July 1965] and they are defended by us and by all Romanian communists in any situation. We will not participate in any public polemic nor – and this we told openly to the Soviet comrades – will we ever support polemics against China, just as we will not participate in any campaign led by anyone against Albania. It was enough that we did it once, at the [Soviet CPSU] 22nd Congress when we were dragged, together with all of the communist parties present there, into making declarations for the exclusion of the Albanians from our ranks. I explained the same also to the Chinese comrades; that we will never participate in any campaign or any action against the Soviet Union or against other socialist countries.

We believe that, in resolving problems in divergence, respect for the principles of which we have spoken is a primordial condition, and a second condition is the respect for the opinions of others, the attention with which an opinion must be treated. In the final analysis, if we do not agree with something there is no need for great misfortune; we have refrigerators, we can put the problem there until it is ripe, and then we can discuss it.

The particularities of the development of socialist construction and of the communist and workers movement clearly indicate that today one can no longer speak of an single coordinating center, can longer speak of a single line of orientation in a diversity this enormous in which the struggle against an enemy runs the gamut from corruption up to bombardment. Togliatti made an affirmation in this sense, an affirmation that in fact belongs to Lenin, only that the followers of Lenin have forgotten his recommendations.

We believe that unity can be reestablished in time, if we avoid mistakes, avoid adding any fuel to the fire, with patience, but unwavering faith and perseverance are required to achieve it. That which happened with you is proof that this is possible. Truly, in the case of Vietnam each socialist state has manifested the expression of solidarity with your struggle; there is not one who said: we do not aid Vietnam. It is exactly the demonstration of the fact that something unites us, and this fact exists objectively, it cannot be negated. Because of that we are hopeful and we affirm that what unites us is stronger than what divides us.

[…]

Cde. E. Bodnaras:  Soon the representatives of the party and state leaderships of the socialist countries in the CMEA and in the Warsaw Pact will meet in Bucharest.

Concerning the Warsaw Pact some proposals were made to modify the nature of some organisms created through the Pact, both in the domain of foreign policy direction as well as in its organization. But we have amended these proposals, we did not agree with the tendency that sought to institute a supranational organ for foreign policy under the form of a Foreign Ministers’ Council, just as we did not agree with proposals to “improve” the military organization of the Warsaw Pact, moving it unconditionally under a singular command. We have said “no” to these tendencies.

We do agree that the activity within the Warsaw Pact needs improvements, but for that we must meet and discuss. At Moscow, during the CPSU Congress, comrades Brezhnev and Kosygin came to our delegation and made the proposal that in the near future there should be a meeting of Pact member countries, at the level of general secretaries and presidents of councils of ministers. We were in agreement and we told them: “Come to Bucharest, where the doors are open.” The Soviet comrades agreed. Also in Moscow took place a meeting of all first secretaries and presidents of councils of ministers of the CMEA and Warsaw Pact member countries, except for Albania, which did not assist in the work of the congress, and it was decided that in July, between July 1 and 10, to hold this meeting in Bucharest. We will discuss economic problems, problems of security and other issues that interest us. We have begun preparing for these meetings, the foreign ministers and the armed forces ministers will be meeting [about it] shortly. We hope that it will be a good meeting. In connection with it, some issues have arisen about which I propose that we discuss at another time.

Our first concern was to have good relations with the socialist countries and in the first place with the neighboring socialist states. In this sense, comrades Ceausescu and Maurer were in the Soviet Union in September of last year and in Bulgaria on a friendly visit. The Hungarian and Bulgarian comrades have visited us. Now comrade Ceausescu is again invited for a vacation visit in Bulgaria. I was also invited to spend my vacation this autumn in Bulgaria. We recently received Tito, in response to a visit made by Gheorghiu-Dej in 1963.

We are interested in having good relations with both Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. With Yugoslavia we are building a damn on the Danube and a large hydroelectric plant of 2 million kW, of which we will get one million kW and the Yugoslavs will get one million kW. This will be one of the most power plants in Europe. In this case as well, when the project was started, some wanted to transform it into a supra-state international organization, to jointly exploit the water reserves, to make joint irrigation – of course, on the territory of Romania and Yugoslavia – to jointly use the energy production and to not know who is responsible for one thing and who for another. But we said “no”. We also have to build a plant on the Danube with the Bulgarians, in that we will work only with the Bulgarians. More in the valley we will build a plant with the Soviet Union, and there we will work only with the Soviet Union and we will not permit other parties to participate. The Yugoslav comrades also agree to proceed in this manner.

With Yugoslavia we have never had a war. We are in good relations. Tito was well received by us and the visit was good. Of course, we do not agree with many things that they do. But they, the people, their working class is in the leadership. During the war against the Germans every 9th Yugoslav was killed. Under whose flag? Under the flag of the party. And who conducted this fight? Those who lead it now – Tito, Rankovici and all the communists. What happened in 1948 when it was decreed [by Stalin], by a wiggling of the finger, that Yugoslavia was no longer a socialist country and that its leaders were a band of traitors? And what did that bring? The Romanians paid many billions of lei in order to make fortifications at the border. Whose purpose did they serve?

Certainly, we cannot adopt their leadership system; that is their affair. But neither do we have elements that would permit the appreciation that Yugoslavia is not a socialist country. They have many difficulties and they are seeking solutions. Let’s help them find just solutions. In our meeting with Tito we had the satisfaction of noting that, on the position of Vietnam, he expressed his adherence to the struggle of the Vietnamese people. The Yugoslavs agree with the position of the Workers Party of Vietnam, and in his speech Tito expressed this and condemned the act of American aggression. That day the American ambassador was rather upset when he shook his hand. That is their most recent opinion; I do not know what opinion they had earlier.

We have good relations with the Soviet Union; we are interested in having good relations. It is absurd to believe that an anti-Soviet tendency could develop in Romania. We participated in the 23rd Congress, just as did the other parties and we did well to do so.

We consider that it would be a great mistake to isolate ourselves from someone, even if that someone has a special position or we have divergences with them. The tried to isolate us, and it was not good for us. Because of that we do not isolate ourselves, we go anywhere, because we believe that we are holding a position that we can defend while looking others straight in the eye, without shame or embarrassment. We can talk about equality, about independence, about sovereignty, about reciprocal advantage, about non-interference in domestic affairs – we maintain these everywhere.

At the 23rd Congress we had the opportunity to make contact with very many delegations, it was our pleasure also to meet with you delegation. We could note with satisfaction that the thinking of the communist and workers parties is increasingly oriented in the direction of accepting the basic principles of equality and non-interference in internal affairs, in the direction of seeking with patience and attention, paths for reestablishing the unity of our parties.

We consider it a good thing that the Congress of the Soviet comrades did not generate a public polemic.

[…]

Regarding the capitalist countries, we maintain good relations, as much as possible, with all of the capitalist states. Last year we were in Burma, Pakistan, and the United Arab Republic. Comrade Maurer was in France. A delegation led by a first vice-president of the Council of Ministers was in England. The Foreign Minister of France was recently in Bucharest. Comarde Maurer was likewise in Austria and Iran. This year we are receiving a visit of the Shah of Iran, we are also receiving a visit of the Austrians.

Just now we had a visit from a parliamentary delegation from Turkey, cde. Maurer was invited to Turkey and he will go there.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: What relations do you have with Greece?

Cde. Emil Bodnaras: With Greece our relations will be going better after we liquidate the discussions referring to the debts that we have in connection with the expropriations. There are certain pretentions: they request around 6 million dollars and we give them 1 million. They are accustomed to bargaining, but so are the Romanians. One asks more, the other gives less and in the end we will reach an understanding.

With Italy and with the Federal Republic of Germany we have good relations. Our relations with the FRG are at the moment only of an economic order, they furnish us with equipment, and I have to tell you that they have very good equipment. Of course, in developing relations with the FRG, we remain in our known position on German revanchism and regarding the support that we fully accord to the GDR, as the first socialist German state.

With the French we have good economic and cultural relations. We consider De Gaulle’s position towards NATO and the Americans a positive one. This position must be supported.

With England, similarly, we develop economic relations.

The representative of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam has proposed that we accord it diplomatic status. We will accord them this status.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: Would you like to take a several minute pause?

Cde. Emil Bodnaras: Yes, I will conclude immediately.

We consider that the problem of winning political power is a problem of each party and of each country individually. Here, no one can any template nor would it be good to do so. Any interference in this problem can only bring very serious prejudice. We have the example of Brazil, of Indonesia.

It is clear that divergences between the socialist countries and within the communist movement encourage the imperialist aggressors and because of that we are partisans of the idea of reestablishing unity, of doing everything possible in order to manifest solidarity and unity.

These, then, are our thoughts.

Now let’s have a pause and after that we will listen to yours.

[…]

Cde. Pham Van Dong: From what you have presented we have noted that we are in agreement on many points.

Regarding the relations between parties and between states, maybe we will return to those issues later. …

Regarding your foreign policy, both party and state relations, I consider that you have enunciated the principles that we hold as well.

In the first place, all parties from all of the socialist countries must be requested to respect the principles of independence, equality, sovereignty, non-interference in internal affairs, and mutual respect. Life teaches us that these are principles that must be respected absolutely. No one should violate them because every time they are violated life itself takes revenge.

In the second place, we must fight without restraint, but with patience, for unity among all parties and all socialist countries. We are in agreement with this not only because it is a fundamental principle, a sacred principle but also because this concerns us more than anyone else.

This is why we are in agreement, we support you and we must try to fight together.

Cde. Emil Bodnaras: We must.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: All the more so since the international situation, as you have presented to us now, is very changeable.

You are right when you say that each party must be master of its own affairs, that only it is responsible before its working class and its people. It is responsible also before the international movement, but only in a secondary manner and only to a certain degree. First and foremost it is responsible for its own affairs in its respective country.

Now we are facing great hardships. You know as well as we and that is the reason we should affirm our common will to fight unceasingly, with patience, with intelligence, with wisdom, and with calm. I believe that this is also your opinion.

As for ourselves, we will persevere in this direction. Although the current situation is very complicated, we are exerting all efforts in order to preserve and consolidate these principles. We receive much assistance from the socialist countries and we could say that all of the comrades that have come to see us agreed with us on many issues. They understand very well the situation in Vietnam.

With regard to the 23rd CPSU Congress, you are right to say they should be congratulated for everything going so well, for the fact that all parties had a correct attitude. Regarding our delegation, before the opening of the Congress it expressed its agreement with the Soviet leadership and asked that the tribune of the Congress not become a tribune of polemics and especially not of polemics against the Chinese comrades. The Soviet comrades agreed with us and told us that they thought the same. This is a correct policy. We must accord our homage to the Soviet comrades for that. There was a small problem, which you know of, however it is of little importance.

Cde. P. Niculescu-Mizil: I can tell you in this connection that, even before the opening of the Congress, the Soviet comrades came to us and informed us of the main issues contained in cde. Brezhnev’s report. Likewise, they told us that they wanted to inform us that the work of the Congress would not be directed against the Chinese C.P., that there would not be a polemical spirit and that the issues would be raised with moderation. Then the Soviet comrades told us: “Many times we have presented you with unpleasant surprises and we do not want to do so this time.”

We expressed our agreement with this point of view. After Brezhnev delivered his report to the Congress, we repeated that we considered the manner in which the issues were raised as correct, the line of not contributing to polemics. The issues of agriculture, economy, industry, those are issues that can be discussed, they are their internal affair. However, the problem of unity concerns all of us.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: Regarding our relations with the Soviet and Chinese comrades, I would like to tell you something. Our delegation to the Congress in Moscow asked the Soviet comrades to stop criticizing the Chinese comrades about the transport of Soviet materials destined for Vietnam. It is a thorny and provocative issue, which could give rise to many discussions and polemics. Cde. Brezhnev promised us that account would be taken of that and we considered that he was sincere. Only that recently, comrade Malinovsky made a declaration in Budapest that, of course, provoked a counter-declaration from Beijing.

Cde. Emil Bodnaras: It is not for the first time that Malinovsky makes such declarations.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: Yes, you are right! For our part, we are doing everything possible to preserve a cool head, in order to maintain the best attitude possible, in order to rise up to the occasion. Communists must be armed with much moral and political courage, and we are armed with such courage.

We are trying to have the best relations possible with those two great parties. However we agree that we must do even more in this sense. We will talk further about this in a serious manner. It is perhaps the most important issue. For us it is extremely important. I would not go so far as to say it is vital, because we are the ones who decide our own fate, however, it is very important.

Well, comrades, we thank you. We consider that we have worked well.

Cde. Emil Bodnaras: And we thank you for the patience with which you have listened to us and we are very happy to note that, in the principal problems regarding relations, not only between us, but also our responsibility towards the communist movement, towards the socialist countries, and towards the major interests of socialism, we have your complete agreement. That gladdens us very much.

Let’s not forget that we agree with you on the problems that we have discussed, the problems which are of a special importance and in the broaching of which we must have patience in order to try to resolve all of their aspects.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: I agree and I thank you.

We will have yet another working meeting, on Monday. But in the meantime I will seek an occasion to discussion this with you.

Cde. Emil Bodnaras: I believe that our discussions have offered a rich material for the comrades who are preparing the joint communiqué, thus it will not be difficult to compose.

Cde. P. Niculescu-Mizil: Especially when we note such a unity of views.

Cde. Emil Bodnaras: The main thing is that not a single one of the thoughts expressed between us is of a nature that it could not be said clearly, out loud, to anyone, anywhere.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: That happens very rarely.

4th Meeting

Monday, May 9, 1966, 0930 hours

Cde. Pham Van Dong: Yesterday was a very good meeting. As you can see, your visit occupies a principal place in the newspapers.

Cde. Emil Bodnaras: I saw that and we thank you.

From the discussions so far we have noted that we have many things in common with you. The main thing being that we are on the best path, both you and we, and that we go together along this path.

[…]

Cde. Pham Van Dong: After the victory of the Soviet Union over the Fascist countries of Europe and Asia, we were ready for insurrection, and after the capitulation of Japan we moved to the offensive in order to win power, supported by the entire people. We had taken power in August 1945, after a fight that did not last too long. One could say that we won power easily enough, because we had been fighting for years against Japanese occupation, we had the people on our side, we had armed detachments, ready and waiting, and when the opportune moment arose we joined combat.

Immediately after the August revolution, we proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, and on September 2, 1945 comrade Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the independence of our country. However, after that the French returned, followed by the war of resistance that ended with the Battle of Dien Bien Phu and the conclusion of the Geneva Accords, with all of their consequences on the national and international levels.

Immediately after the Geneva Accords, the Americans came, in order to try and exert their control over the South and to transform it into a fortress from which to attack and reconquer the North. That was their calculation made even before the Geneva Conference, which was manifest during the negotiations and especially after the conclusion of the Accords of 1954. They imagined that it would be easier for them to impose their control over the South and that they could easily overthrow the people’s power. Well, they deluded themselves. We fought in the South and we obtained victory, which you well know. At the end of 1964, the Americans understood that they could not obtain anything in the South if they did not attack the North. That led to the development of the war on the basis of escalation. However, the Americans delude themselves on this account as well.

We must tell you that our party plays a revolutionary role, a role of leadership fundamental in the history of our people. The party is the one that brought the people all of its great victories; it is the one that finds solutions to all of the major problems. The party has correctly evaluated the situation at every moment. You see why our party enjoys such great authority, great prestige and strength. Everyone knows this.

The Americans and their lackeys have sabotaged the application of the Geneva Accords and have blocked the unification of the country that had been set for July 1956, because they understood that in case of elections comrade Ho Chi Minh would have 80% of the votes.

Now, if we are capable of fighting with the courage and energy that you know, it is due to the fact that the party and the people are one and the same.

[…]

***

Note of Conversation

During a pause in the discussions in the afternoon of May 7, a conversation took place between cde. Emil Bodnaras, Paul Niculescu-Mizil and Pham Van Dong.

Cde. Emil Bodnaras explained that our delegation has the task on behalf of the party leadership of raising the following problem with the Vietnamese comrades:

Our party considers a joint political manifestation of the solidarity of all the socialist countries necessary and useful. In this sense we would like to discuss with the Vietnamese comrades the opinion of the Workers Party of Vietnam about the initiation of such an action that would determine a common manifestation of the solidarity of all of the socialist countries around the question of Vietnam.

Cde. Pham Van Dong responded that the idea is just, it is exceptional, and that the Vietnamese comrades will reflect on it.

Cde. Emil Bodnaras explained that our party raises this issue in connection with the fact that soon, in July, a reunion of the member states of the Warsaw Pact and of the CMEA will take place. This reunion will be held at the highest level and the problems of the CMEA and of the Warsaw Pact will be discussed. There is the possibility that in connection with this reunion some initiative appears regarding the expression of solidarity of the socialist countries participating in the Warsaw Pact with the struggle of the Vietnamese people. We consider that such an initiative cannot be excluded. Likewise, we consider that it would not be good if this manifestation of solidarity will be produced only on the part of some socialist countries and not on the part of the others. Given that, our party thinks that it is worth acting in order to determine a joint manifestation of all of the socialist countries, in forms that will later be made definite, in order to express solidarity with the struggle of the people of Vietnam. It is necessary in our opinion that the socialist camp should present itself as united, to appear as a united and solid front, which through its firmness should influence the political and military situation of Vietnam. This political manifestation would constitute a powerful pressure against the American aggressors. Our party desires to know the opinion of the Vietnamese comrades on this issue and has tasked the Romanian delegation to exchange opinions with the Vietnamese comrades. We will present this plan to the Chinese comrades, and to the Soviet comrades and, together with the Vietnamese comrades we will act for its success.

Cde. Pham Van Dong underscored yet again the justice of this idea and expressed agreement regarding the discussion of this problem in the course of the delegation’s stay in Hanoi. After that he asked if we had consulted with the Soviet comrades on this issue.

Cde. Niculescu-Mizil explained that our party decided that before anything else it should consult with the Vietnamese comrades because they should pronounce before everyone else on such actions regarding in the first place the war in Vietnam. Our party is convinced that such a joint manifestation of the socialist countries will have a positive influence over the development of the war in Vietnam and at the same time on the weakening of the tensions in the relations between the socialist countries, between the communist and workers parties.

Cde. Pham Van Dong thanked the Romanian Communist Party for the value that it accorded the opinions of the Workers Party of Vietnam, and again said that this problem is worth discussing.

Cde. Emil Bodnaras underscored the necessity of finding the forms and practical means in which all of the socialist countries should manifest their common solidarity with the Vietnamese people.

Cde. Niculescu-Mizil explained that, while participating in the 23rd CPSU Congress, the R.C.P. delegation led by cde. Nicolae Ceausescu had the opportunity to discuss with a great number of the delegations form the socialist countries, from the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Discussions were held with representatives of some non-communist but democratic movements, including those in UAR, Mali, and Angola. Our delegation met in Moscow with almost 30 delegations.[1] Likewise, we have had numerous delegation visits in Romania. We have met with cde. Luigi Longo, with Santiago Carillo, and with others. In all of these meetings we noted the existence of profound preoccupation for reestablishing the unity of the international communist and workers movement. We were impressed by the fact that all of the delegations with which we discussed showed their concern regarding the current state of affairs and the desire to find some way of opening the pathway towards strengthening unity.

Cde. Emil Bodnaras explained that this is a tendency manifested among the majority of parties. He explained that in the meetings with the representatives of the French Communist Party they showed a tendency of viewing things more realistically, of better understanding current events. In continuation, he underscored that the respect for the principles of relations between socialist countries, for the norms of relations between communist and workers parties based on equality, independence, and non-interference in internal affairs, and underscored that today organization of a leading center in the workers movement is inconceivable.

Cde. Pham Van Dong showed his agreement. At present the entire world agrees to criticize the state of past affairs. The problem is what to do about them? The Vietnamese are preoccupied with what actions should be undertaken! He said that Vietnam is the most interested in renouncing the polemic, and seeking along all paths the modalities for removing the existing divergences, for reestablishing the unity of the socialist camp.

The leadership of the Workers Party of Vietnam is thinking about this problem day and night, to the measures that could be undertaken in this sense.

He underscored his gladness in noting that Romania and Vietnam are in full accord on this question. They have made and they will make efforts to convince both the Chinese comrades and the Soviet comrades of the necessity of creating a united front against the imperialist aggressor. He underscored that the resolution of this problem is, in his opinion, very difficult.

In conclusion, he said yet once more that he agrees that in the course of the discussions this problem should be debated.

Cde. Emil Bodnaras underscored the importance of the agreement between the two parties on this question and proposed that on one of the following days the two delegations, eventually in a more restricted circle, should discuss this question together.

***

Note of First Restricted Meeting on 9 May 1966

Participants in the meeting were, on the Romanian side: comrades Emil Bodnaras and Paul Niculescu-Mizil; and on the part of the Vietnamese comrades: Pham Van Dong, Nguyen Duy Trinh and Le Thanh Nghi; and a Romanian translator – Platareanu – and a Vietnamese translator.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  I have discussed your suggestion with several members of the Political Bureau. I will present some of the ideas of these comrades, after which we will discuss them in connection with this suggestion.

At the beginning I emphasize our thanks for your suggestion. It is a gesture that proves the solidarity of the Romanian Communist Party with the struggle of the Vietnamese people, which proves that you are thinking about the big problems of the socialist camp. We want to tell you that we agree with this suggestion.

We will present our position in principle that we have always had. We have presented this position to the Chinese comrades and to the Soviet comrades. We consider that the socialist countries must undertake a joint action in order to support the struggle of Vietnam. This being our position of principle, however, it is extremely important for us to put a condition: for such a joint action the adherence of both the Soviet comrades and the Chinese comrades is necessary. In the current situation, in connection with Vietnam as well as in connection with any actions that would be taken within the movement generally, the agreement of those two great parties and countries is necessary. Why? They are the largest socialist powers and because of that they have a have a great weight in any joint action. If this condition is absent, therefore, the most efficacious weight is also absent. In consequence, the enemy will not be impressed and the lack of unity, the lack of cohesion will be revealed. This is for us, likewise, a point of principle. We cannot give our agreement on any action even when it only regards Vietnam without the participation of the two large countries.

A second condition. It is necessary to establish a close connection for the reciprocal sharing of information, for exchanging opinions regarding the actions that you will undertake in Beijing, when Zhou Enlai goes to Bucharest and in other cases. It is necessary that we act together, let’s establish whether the form of the connection will be in Hanoi or Bucharest, whatever is best.

Cde. E. Bodnaras:  When we were thinking about the form of such a manifestation – I say manifestation and not declaration or something similar – we started off from the basis of the problem. The basis of the problem is the question of Vietnam. Here, at present, the most acute battle is being given. In the second place, we calculated that within the framework of divergences that presently exist between the socialist countries, there is a manifest interest for resolving this problem. There is only one solution for the Vietnamese problem, that which you have foreseen, the solution given by Vietnam itself. We can draw all of the socialist countries, our communist movement, together in solidarity around this solution. Such a manifestation of solidarity would have special importance not only from the political point of view but also from the practical viewpoint. We see the special value of such a manifestation only and above all in the interest of a just resolution of the Vietnamese problem, only and above all in supporting the position of Vietnam. On this question we do not have two opinions.

We see the great importance of such a joint manifestation of the socialist countries also in the perspective of the future. The socialist countries, through the example they offer to the rest of the world, through their political, military, and economic capacity, can influence the development of events. The Suez example is wellknown, when a firm position manifested in unitary fashion by the socialist countries, made the aggression futile.[2] Today Vietnam is attacked; tomorrow the German Democratic Republic may be attacked, and the day after tomorrow, Albania etc. The Imperialists only respect the strong, and we will be strong if we are united. Look, De Gaulle is an intelligent member of the bourgeoisie. Even though he pursues the policy of his class, and despite the fact that he would have nothing against taking the place of the Americans, we agree with his anti-American orientation. We support Vietnam from a position of class. What is happening here in Vietnam makes necessary a clear, joint affirmation of our class position, or everyone’s, indifferent of what we call this manifestation.

At present, declarations are made. But it is bad when different declarations are made in Moscow, in Budapest, in Beijing or elsewhere. Of all of the positions declared, the only correct position is that of Vietnam, the position that we support completely. We would be very poor chemists if we did not adopt the same position, if we did not use the same catalyst produced in the region of Southeast Asia in order to try to determine a joint manifestation of all of the socialist countries, with political effects both in the struggle against the American imperialists and in the general interest of the communist movement.

It is clear that without the adherence of the Soviet Union and China such a joint manifestation is not possible. But we must seek the ways and means for demonstrating to both China and to the Soviet Union that such a joint manifestation is necessary and useful. It is better to let them convince us that it is not possible.

We retain what you said, at the respective time, to the Chinese comrades regarding your opinion.

The problem that arises is: how we should proceed, how should we act?

We have received the mandate to present here our considerations. We are glad these considerations meet with your agreement in principle. When we will be in Beijing we will present what we have discussed with you, we will support the point of view of a joint manifestation. But we are thinking that our position on this problem will be discussed in detail with comrade Zhou Enlai in Bucharest by out leadership. We will say to the Chinese comrades: China has many good things that must be applauded, but there are also things that we do not understand. People are alienated by so much injurious rhetoric. We are of the opinion that you can criticize a leader in order to help set right errors while remaining solidary with him. This is a rational solidarity. Now China criticizes the Soviet leaders. To the degree that criticism is comradely, without injuries, to the degree that it is a comradely discussion, it is good. But when personal attacks, when injurious rhetoric replaces logical argument, a solidarity is formed around the one so criticized. In this case the solidarity is not rational; it is sentimental. We want to explain this to the Chinese comrades. The manner in which they act may enter into their logic, but in the logic of other parties, and not only those of Europe but also as you see here in Asia, no one can accept these attacks. We will say this to the Chinese comrades.

But it will not be sufficient if only we say it. Vietnam, you, the Workers Party of Vietnam has a very important word to say. From the moment that you said such a joint manifestation is good, it is good to affirm this. What we say you also support. You should say that Vietnam is of the same opinion that such a manifestation of solidarity is necessary, that in the first place Vietnam is interested, that the participation of China and of the Soviet Union is necessary for such a manifestation.

We desire to be of assistance to you. You know that we have had problems with the Soviet leadership, with their tendencies towards hegemony. We succeeded in parrying these tendencies. We did not, however, descend into invective. We did not withdraw into a shell, as some try to characterize us, calling us “autarkic,” “isolationists,” and “Romanians who sell their souls.” We have gone and discussed with them. Of course, we did not go to the March meeting because that meeting was directed against China. We will never and on no occasion do something against someone else. We do not want to repeat the initiative of the Poles.

Maybe, I say maybe, the Polish comrades sent the known letter to the Chinese comrades with the not with the thought of realizing a joint action but in order to add yet another document in the anti-Chinese dossier. We responded in the manner known to the Polish comrades because we wanted to show the clear disaccord of our party, to the fact that the Polish comrades went for the problem of Vietnam not to Hanoi, where it should have gone beforehand, but to Beijing. Good manners required them to go to Hanoi first.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: Honor requires it as well.

Cde. E. Bodnaras:  Here in Vietnam there is a party and a people who achieved [the victory at] Dien Bien Phu and which must be respected. We do not desire to proceed as the Polish comrades proceeded. We wanted to come to you already in March, before the 23rd CPSU Congress.

We know that this is a difficult action, but precisely because it is difficult we must act. This is necessary for your war. This is necessary for the unity of the movement.

Practically speaking, what must we do? Vietnam must enter into the arena with all required tact, but also with all conviction and all responsibility. We want to demonstrate that this is the perspective. The problem will unfold itself over time. Whether or not we want it, at the upcoming meeting in Bucharest of the Warsaw Pact countries, this problem could be raised. The most senior level comrades will be at this meeting. Such a [joint] meeting [of the Warsaw Pact and the CMEA] has not taken place since the fall of Khrushchev. There are two problems to be discussed: the CMEA and the Warsaw Pact. Both in one sector and in the other there have been confrontations of opinions in which we have supported the principle of equality, independence, sovereignty, non-interference in domestic affairs and mutual advantage. We support these principles in all domains. The discussions in July must consecrate these principles. This is the basis upon which the collaboration between our countries develops.

We are in general against military blocs. We created the Warsaw Pact as a riposte to NATO.

There is a tendency to institute supranational organizations. This tendency exists also at present. We have affirmed and we will continue to affirm the abovementioned principles and we assure you that no measures in the sense of supranational organizations can be taken.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: Were these tendencies only in the time of Khrushchev or do they exist today as well?

Cde. P. Niculescu-Mizil:  Regarding the July meeting some preparations [along these lines] have been made. Meetings at the level of deputy ministers of foreign affairs and defense have taken place. During these preparations concrete proposals appeared to institute supranational organisms both in the domain of foreign policy and in the military domain, which should coordinate and direct the foreign policy of the socialist states or should conduct military issues.

At these meetings our representatives clearly explained that we hold the position of developing relationships of collaboration, and they made proposals in this sense. At the same time, they explained that there is absolutely no need for supranational organisms and that the institution of such organisms is in contradiction with the principles underlying the relations between socialist countries.

Romania will never participate in any supranational organism, neither in (or out of) the CMEA, nor in (or out of) the Warsaw Pact. This is our position of principle. We have said that if someone desires to found such supranational organisms they are free to do so, but they will assume the entire responsibility for it.

I must tell you that during the work of the 23rd Congress comrades Brezhnev and Kosygin made a visit to our delegation, led by comrade Ceausescu. During this visit comrade Brezhnev declared that we must place an accent on what unites the socialist countries, not on what divides them, that at the approaching meeting of the countries of the Warsaw Pact and of the CMEA we will focus on common points of view, not on the points of view in divergence. Brezhnev repeated this declaration at the meeting with party and government leaders of the Warsaw Pact and CMEA countries that took place in Moscow in order to deal with the organizational issues of the July meetings. The leadership of our party positively appreciates this declaration of Brezhnev.

Cde. E. Bodnaras:  Thus, the first secretaries and presidents of the Councils of Ministers of these countries will meet. They will discuss the problems of the Warsaw Pact. Is it possible that not a word will be said about such a war as that conducted in Vietnam, about the solidarity of the socialist countries with Vietnam? It is difficult to presuppose that no proposals or initiatives will be made in this sense. Up until the present there has been no initiative in this order of ideas, but they could arise. We believe that a manifestation of solidarity with Vietnam would have all the necessary force only if it is produced on behalf of all socialist countries and not only on the part of a restricted number of socialist countries. Of what could such a manifestation consist? We have not discussed this. But I think that such a manifestation should make a characterization of the situation, a qualification of the aggression, it should take a position of total solidarity with the position of Vietnam, and it should express the determination of each and every socialist country to support Vietnam. We are speaking, therefore, of a political manifestation.

Cde. P. Niculescu-Mizil:  It must be added that each and every socialist country has said this in one form or another. We believe that if we say it jointly, the force of this solidarity will be much greater.

Cde. E. Bodnaras:  We will have in view that nothing is undertaken under any form that could represent an interference in the manner in which the war is conducted, in the solution which you have given to this war.

The ideal would be if this manifestation of solidarity could happen before the Warsaw Pact meeting, thus before July of this year. That would also considerably ease the issues of prestige, avoiding problems when [non-Pact countries like] China or Korea will come to adhere to what others have done. We must say to you once again that we do not have a precise image of any of the problems of detail. We have presented our point of view in principle.

We are glad that our common accord has been manifested on the problem in principle.

We are in agreement with you also with the idea of maintaining permanent ties between our sides. We have 7 weeks before us up until the meeting in Bucharest. To find the forms of acting in the agreed sense.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: When will Zhou Enlai visit Romania?

Cde. Emil Bodnaras:  China initially agreed to the middle of May, and then it proposed May 24. We do not know if that date is definitive.

Cde. P. Niculescu-Mizil:  Comrade Bodnaras had presented completely the principled considerations of our party in connection with a joint manifestation, a policy of solidarity with Vietnam. I would like to further add several elements.

Above all, the leadership of our party considers that in order to undertake something in this sense it is necessary to discuss with the Vietnamese comrades because they are the most directly implicated, the most interested.

I want to explain that, like a red line, the idea runs through the manner in which our party thinks and acts, that the problems of the international communist and workers movement can be resolved over the long term only with the participation of all of the communist parties, of the communist parties of all of the socialist countries. This is our point of view expressed in the Declaration of 1964. We are guided in all of our actions by this point of view and you know well that in Bucharest we have had several opportunities in which representatives of the communist parties of all the socialist countries participated to manifest the same. We do not conceive of our participation in any sort of action directed against China, just as we do not conceive of participation in any sort of action directed against the Soviet Union. I say these things in order to underscore that in the problems discussed there is a common manner of thinking both in the leadership of the Romanian Communist Party and in the leadership of the Workers Party of Vietnam. Just as you, we conceive the manifestation of common policy, about which cde Bodnaras has spoken, as a positive manifestation if, in the first place, Vietnam participates, and in the second place, the two large socialist countries – the Soviet Union and China – participate.

We have a good experience. When we had certain divergent issues, and you know that such issues have not been lacking, we raised these problems in a comradely fashion and we militated for their just resolution. You know the problems that we have had to revolve in connection with the Soviet comrades. At the same time, you know that our party undertook those actions in 1964 when it was in Beijing, in Phenian and in Moscow. What has this experience shown? Although not all of the problems were definitively resolved, nevertheless the comrades had to take into account the points of view raised. The Chinese comrades, even if they do not openly engage in self-criticism on some issues nonetheless when they run up against life, against reality, they take corrective measures. I am saying all of this in order to demonstrate that given the situation in which we find ourselves, with a just position, it is worth trying, it is worth acting and it is not possible that in the end this point of view will not be taken into consideration. Even if we do not succeed in producing the manifestation that we are initiating, it goes without saying that the Soviet comrades and the Chinese comrades must take into account the opinions of the other parties. Given that, it is worth the attempt.

In this connection I want to say that the attempt can succeed only if made by as many parties as possible. Our party has good relations with both the Soviet comrades and with the Chinese comrades. We will act in the agreed spirit. Your party, likewise, has good relations with both the Soviet comrades and with the Chinese comrades. Thus, you also should act in this sense. If we, if you, if the Korean comrades, if the other communist and workers parties will act in this sense, if they discuss with both one side and the other, it is simply not possible that no result will be achieved. That is why our party leadership considers that it is worthwhile to exert every effort in order to determine a joint manifestation of solidarity with Vietnam.

The Chinese comrades say that, on the issue of Vietnam, the Soviet comrades conduct a policy of complicity with the United States; they accuse it of treason. I do not wish to enter into the foundations of this problem but, if we admitted the logic of the Chinese comrades, then in this case a common manifestation of solidarity with Vietnam is useful. If there is such a policy of complicity, then come on, lets get together and everyone can declare publicly that we are solidary with Vietnam to the end and then would it not clearly make the pursuit of such a policy of complicity, if it exists, even more difficult? Such a joint manifestation of solidarity with Vietnam will engage even more countries; it will engage each and every one to support with greater decisiveness the war against the American aggressors.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: We agree with your principled position.

In the presentation that you have made the comrades have demonstrated to the extreme that this position is unassailable. Our party will speak about it with the Soviet comrades and with the Chinese comrades. We will not cease to seek all means, all possible paths in order to find something in this sense. This cause is so very important that it must be attempted. We will think upon it and we will find the modalities for practical action.

In connection with the position of principle, everything has been said. Now we must see how to act upon it.

You have spoken with tact, decisiveness and responsibility. Let’s concert our actions with tact and subtlety. This is valid also for the information contacts between us. It is not admissible to make a single wrong step, a single imprudence on this question. I propose that we consecrate a new meeting to the continued discussion of this problem.

Cde. Emil Bodnaras:  I agree, let’s discuss the concrete problem, regarding modalities of action.

At the conclusion of the meeting it was established that General Ionita I., during the visit he would have with General Giap after lunch, should finalize the details connected with the proposal of our party leadership to supply a battalion with weapons, transmission, communication and other equipment, in addition to the assistance established in the domain of aid given Vietnam.

***

Note on Second Restricted Meeting of 10 May 1966

The same comrades from the 1st [restricted] meeting also participated in this meeting.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: We have studied your exposition of yesterday with comrade Ho Chi Minh, Le Duan and other comrades. We are mandated to reaffirm that we agree with the action that your party proposes. We view this initiative with warmth. Regarding our side, we will participate. We reaffirm our position that any taking of positions by the socialist countries must have the agreement of the Soviet and Chinese comrades.

Cde. E. Bodnaras: That is our thinking as well. We are equally categorical in our belief that without Vietnam nothing can be done.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: This position of ours takes into account not only the issue of Vietnam but other problems of the movement as well In this meeting we want to present to you, in general lines, our position towards the Soviet Union and China.

You know the position towards the CPSU. At their 23rd Congress the Vietnamese delegation presented its position. This is our fundamental position. But it does not impede us Vietnamese from thinking about their policy nor do we miss any occasion to say what we think to them. We are not in agreement with everything the Soviet comrades do. We have different perspectives in some problems. Under Khrushchev it was difficult to express one’s opinion. Basically he did not stand with us. We must say that today, with the current CPSU leadership, one can discuss things. We have and we have had such discussions on the occasion of visits from Kosygin and from Shelepin as well as when our comrades were in Moscow.

We must tell you that we have many contacts with the Chinese comrades. They spring from the situation in which we are in, from old revolutionary ties. The Chinese comrades have done many things for us. They occupy an extremely important place in the workers movement. We are neighbors and we help each other. Our party appreciates very much the assistance that the Chinese C.P. accords us. All of this does not impede us from having views different from theirs. We tell them about them. Thus, we have told them that our party considers the Soviet Union a socialist country, and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union a Marxist-Leninist party. Regarding the current CPSU leadership we have expressed our reserve when their position is inappropriate. We must say that the assistance the Soviet Union gives us is sincere, corresponds to our needs, is in the service of Vietnam, of the Soviet Union, and in the service of the national liberation movement.

The Chinese comrades do not agree with us on this point.

Cde. E. Bodnaras:  How do the Chinese comrades view the position of the Soviet Union towards Vietnam?

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  The arguments of the Chinese comrades are two. 1. They say that Soviet assistance is insufficient and far below Soviet possibilities. The Chinese comrades say that the Soviet Union can help Vietnam much, much more.  2. The essential criticism of the Chinese comrades is the following: They say that the assistance given to Vietnam is interested and dishonest, and that the Soviets will sabotage the struggle in Vietnam and collaborate with the Americans in this sense. This is the essential criticism given by the Chinese comrades.

We have responded to the Chinese comrades that we are masters of our political line, of our political and military strategy and tactics, etc. No one can change this political line. We, the Vietnamese, believe that the Soviets are honest in their position. At the same time we follow the deeds, the way in which these deeds are implemented. This is our position that we have expressed openly to the Chinese comrades. Their response was that this is only in appearances.

We have had the same attitude towards the other parties and socialist countries. All of the comrades have come to us who desired to come on behalf of the communist parties of France, Italy, England, Canada, Hungary, Japan and other parties. This was in our opinion very useful both for us and for the comrades who came.

Permit me to say in connection with your very interesting and complete presentation that we have a divergence of opinion. Concerning Yugoslavia. Our position on this question is known. In 1964 there was a conference of the non-aligned countries in Belgrade. This conference had as its true aim to engage negotiations with the United States, negotiations in order to preserve South Vietnam under American control. We judge such positions very harshly. We have rejected with all of our force all of those who have had such a position. I wish to remind you in this order of ideas of the action conducted by La Pirra. We received him at his request. We explained our positions to him. He tried to explain the arguments in favor of the Americans. Then we again showed him our point of view. To our great surprise, on his return to his country he published the documents of which you are familiar. We had to unmask him and to unmask him with all firmness, simply but firmly.

In connection with this divergence of ours, with the presentation that you have made, we want to say that there can be divergences between parties, but this does not impede us from having common positions, to go forward together, hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder. It is best if we remain in constant contact, discussing and working together, just as Lenin taught us. If we were asked to be in agreement on all things it would be ridiculous.

I want to reaffirm to your our attitude in connection with the initiative that you have had and which we support. You have our agreement. This initiative has a considerable importance for Vietnam, for the workers movement, for its future. We appreciate as completely just your decision to go forward with tact, with firmness, with responsibility. We know what is happening here in Asia. The American imperialists have big plans that present great danger. They are very dangerous and especially they are more dangerous in what they want to do than it what they are doing. In Asia they rely on Japan, in Europe on the Federal [Republic of] Germany. There reactionary forces are being reborn. If there were no Soviet Union, no socialist camp, in those 21 years since the Second World War, then another world war would have begun. What would Hitler’s descendants have done if there had been no socialist camp force? That is why we must unite.

We want to suggest one thing to you. You would like at the conference in July to unite all of the socialist countries. We ask you to reflect on the following problem: isn’t the timing rather short? Will the comrades have sufficient time to think about this? Likewise we want to say that the location of the reunion is not too important. Maybe the location should take into consideration suggestions made by all of the comrades. Thus, we want to say that much subtlety I needed to change ideas, to suggest things that would appeal to more comrades.

Cde. E. Bodnaras:  We thank you very much and we are happy for the agreement given by your party to the initiative of our party. This agreement characterizes the trust that you have place in us, in the Romanian Communist Party and its leadership. We will do everything to expand the bounds of this trust. We must in the first place expand the bounds of trust among the socialist countries. Only in this way could we more forward.

We view with faith that which we are about to undertake. It is a vital problem of the present, both for today and for the situations whose counters will become clear only later, taking into account the role of American imperialism, and the role of a reborn Japanese imperialism. If we succeed in removing the barriers to trust, to reach understanding on the problems regarding which we are objectively united. We will move forward with all faith.

Out countries are small countries and perhaps because of that we inspire fewer motives for suspicion than do large countries.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: Countries that are small and not directly interested.

Cde. E. Bodnaras:  Regarding Yugoslavia I just want to say that the divergence is only apparent. Our party does not support the understanding of the non-aligned countries to conduct negotiations with the Americans. We have not supported and we will not support any sort of understanding made at the expense of Vietnam.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: I want to declare here that Socialist Romania is supporting us to the very end both in regard to the defense of the North as well as in regard to the liberation of the South. We thank you for this. We are the masters of the situation in our country. You Romanians can have all faith in the Vietnamese.

Cde. E. Bodnaras:  During the course of Tito’s visit in Romania, as we told you, we discussed the situation in Vietnam. Tito declared that he supported the struggle of Vietnam. Of course, our opinions are not absolutely identical. Given that, in the Romanian-Yugoslav communiqué we found the formulation that we proposed, namely, as I explained, after we presented the positions on this problem we affirmed the solidarity of the two sides with the struggle of the Vietnamese people. In the course of the conversations comrade Ceausescu explained to Tito that our party sent a delegation to Vietnam with the mission of expressing its solidarity with the struggle. In regards to Yugoslavia, we consider it a socialist country in spite of the fact that the Yugoslav comrades have certain points of view with regard to the construction of socialism, of the party. But, comrades, we did not come here for the issue of Yugoslavia.

In regard to the date of the meeting in Bucharest I must tell you that it is not a fatal date. We have explained that there is the perspective of the meetings in July and that at this meeting the problem of Vietnam may appear. That requires us to take action, to be prepared. Given that we begin preparations now. If we have a favorable perspective, if we could find a solution for achieving a joint manifestation of all of the socialist countries, then we will find a solution for the meeting in July as well. Either we will postpone the discussion of this problem taking into account the fact that it will be discussed with all of the socialist countries, or, in the end, we will find a solution. The problem is to begin preparations, to begin to act, certainly, without considering ourselves as tied to any specific date. The form in which we act, the place where we can gather will be better defined when we have sounded out the various opinions, when we reach understanding with everyone. We have presented only some general considerations. We have not thought of the concrete forms of action. We wanted first to take council with you.

We did not think that all of the socialist countries should meeting in Bucharest in July. We only explained that there will be a conference of the member states of the Warsaw Pact and the CMEA in Bucharest, that the problem of Vietnam could appear, and that it would be a shame if, in this case, all of the interested countries did not participate. The main thing is that we agree on a joint action, that we begin preparations, that we initiate contacts. We will go to Beijing and we will explain what we have done here, what we have seen, what we think. We will explain that from our contacts the thought emerged, a common opinion of the Romanians and of the Vietnamese, namely, the inexorable necessity of achieving a public affirmation of solidarity of all the socialist countries with Vietnam against the imperialists. The form of this manifestation remains to be determined. That is how we are thinking to speak with the Chinese comrades.

Of course, at the first opportunity you have and that you choose in the course of discussions with them you will tell them the same thing. Regarding ourselves, we have the approval of the leadership of our party to speak of this with the Chinese comrades. But, in our opinion, the difficulty will not be with the Soviets but with the Chinese. We will then speak with the Koreans, and with the others, but we must assure ourselves that Vietnam agrees. No one could speak on this in discussions with them if Vietnam has another opinion. Of course, we will do this calmly, and without any sensational elements. If there will be criticisms of our position, and certainly there will be such criticisms, we will head them off. There is a powerful common basis among the communist parties. The thesis that nothing unites us and everything divides us simply cannot be argued.

I would also like you to tell us your opinion of how to assure a reliable connection between us. Perhaps through your ambassador, and maybe through ours. Perhaps a meeting will be necessary at a senior level here or elsewhere.

Regarding the discussion with the Chinese comrades in Beijing, it will be a discussion along general lines. We will mark only the respective problems because we do not want to anticipate the detailed discussion that will take place in Bucharest with our party leadership, after we have informed them of the discussions which we had with you.

Cde. P. Niculescu Mizil: In connection with the Yugoslav issue raised by cde. Pham Van Dong I wanted to insist on a consideration of more general order. I won’t talk about the problem of Yugoslavia, because that question is not the most important in our discussions. On the other hand, if we discussed in greater detail this problem with you I am sure that we would arrive at a common viewpoint. Socialism in a country is a state of objective affairs and not the result of subjective appreciations. However, in connection with the question discussed, I want to underscore the manner of thinking of our party with regard to the possibility of the existence of different opinions between communist and workers parties.

In the international relations of our party, the party leadership starts off from the point of view that differences of opinion can exist, that the existence of these differences of opinion is a normal thing. The conditions in which the communist and workers parties work are very diverse. Each party forms its own opinions, its own judgments. Given that there can also be differences of opinion. The question is that when such different opinions exist they should be discussed in a comradely fashion, calmly, finding forms in the spirit of respect and esteem for the opinion of the other in order to discuss these issues. We should note the problems in which we have reached a common point of view, leaving those in which we have divergences for another time, letting life show which point of view is just, helping to find some common positions. Given that we are glad of the fact that in the relations between our party and Workers Party of Vietnam, even if there would be differences of opinion with regard to one problem or another we are expressing here together the opinion that these differences of opinion cannot impede us in any way whatsoever from the development of good relations between our parties, the development of contacts and exchanges of opinion. What also characterizes our discussions is the fact that they develop in an atmosphere of mutual esteem, trust, respect for the opinions of each and, on the fundamental problems, I could say in all of the problems discussed, the same manner of judgment was manifested.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: I agree with what you have said.

Regarding our position towards the initiative of the Romanian side we declare that the Chinese comrades must be approached. We will we likewise speak with them. We await the result of your discussions and then we will also speak [with them]. We are of the same opinion that it is possible that the obstacles will not come from the Soviet comrades. The plan that you have presented here is reasonable. You will announce to the Chinese in Beijing along general lines and then in Bucharest you will conduct detailed negotiations. We await the results of those discussions. We want very much to be informed of the discussions that you will have both in Beijing and in Bucharest. We insist on having your information.

Cde. E. Bodnaras:  And if the Chinese ask any questions before Zhou Enlai leaves for Bucharest?

Cde. Pham Van Dong: We are ready to respond. We want to say yet once more that we must be constantly informed through our ambassadors.

To the degree that a senior level exchange of opinions appears necessary we will come to an agreement.

Cde. E. Bodnaras:  Regarding the location of new meetings we have no preference and we do not insist on any particular place. Maybe Hanoi would be appropriate.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: No. It is not about Hanoi. I raised the issue of the location of meetings only in order to underscore the necessity of being supple in action with very much tact, to handle delicately any sort of sensibilities.

Cde. E. Bodnaras:  If need be we will also go to Beijing.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  Lets maintain contact through the ambassadors in Bucharest and Hanoi and with those in the other socialist countries.

Cde. E. Bodnaras:  In case if you think a meeting necessary then you should consider us under obligation to accept your invitation.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  Agreed.

Let’s keep each other informed reciprocally and in a timely fashion. Let’s provide information on all issues. Regarding the [Warsaw Pact] meeting in July, that is a problem regarding yourselves. You discuss your own issues. But if you desire to raise the issue of Vietnam we very much ask you to tell us, so that we can inform you in time. We will gladly make suggestions on that issue.

I propose that everything we discussed should remain in a strictly domestic, confidential framework.

Cde. E. Bodnaras:  Now after we have finished discussion of the problems to which we consecrated these meetings I would like to raise the following issue. We desire to develop the relations between our two parties. We invited a delegation of your activists, we have also invited your activists to vacation [with us]. We make formal invitation to cde. Ho Chi Minh, cde. Pham Van Dong and to the other comrades to visit Romania but we know that you are very occupied, we know that there is a war going on here and that it does not depend only on yourselves. Nevertheless, we desire to tell you that you are welcome at any time.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: Thank you for your amiable invitation. We ask that you receive in your country students, workers, and specialists [for training and education] because we have great need of this. This problem was raised with your ambassador. We would like to establish an agreement in principle of how many people to send annually.

We are interested in closer cooperation in the domain of science and technology, domains in which we have much to learn. Likewise, we desire to have an agreement in principle and then we can see more concretely what we have to do. In connection with this we read the report of cde. Nicolae Ceausescu to the Grand National Assembly and we found it very interesting.

Regarding economic problems maybe the comrades can come to your Political Bureau.

Cde. E. Bodnaras:  We will inform our party leadership about all of this, but I believe I can communicate to you now our agreement in principle. We want to tell you that anytime the Vietnamese comrades come to us they will be well received; we will receive them with an open heart.

In continuation, comrade Bodnaras made a warm appreciation of what [the delegation] had seen concerning the activity of the Workers Party of Vietnam as well as the manner in which our delegation was received. He thanked the Workers Party of Vietnam and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam for the warmth and hospitality with which the entire visit of our delegation was organized.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: We are moved by the words you have spoken, by the manner in which you have spoken them.

Now at the end, we can tell you that the visit has been a good one; it was not an ordinary protocol visit. You came to Vietnam to send a message of solidarity from the Communist party, government and people of Romania. It was heard. It is something of which we have great need. You transmitted this message with great force, with all possible energy. We must declare to you here that we have received many visits from comrades who have come here and have expressed their positions. But you have done so with an extraordinary force and energy, with all of your heart, and with a high spirit of responsibility. All of this has moved us very much. Our people in the North and in the South who live and fight have heard you. We thank you for all of this.  We thank the leadership of the Romanian Communist Party, and the Romanian people, with all our heart. I do not believe it could be said better.

You have come for a very important issue; maybe the most important, the issue of a manifestation of common solidarity of the socialist countries. You have underscored, comrade Bodnaras, the passion, the energy, and the responsibility. We know in which we are engaging with this question. I want to underscore the tact, subtlety, and patience. Together we are in accord. Let’s go forward. From this visit, from these contacts something worthy of us should result that serves all of us.

20 May 1966

GE, IM. 5 ex.

[1] Aside from almost a dozen meetings with Soviet authorities, the Romanian delegation generated transcripts and reports on their meetings with representatives from Brazil, Vietnam, North Korea, Portugal, Yugoslavia, Spain, Chile, France, Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Republic (Egypt and Syria), Ecuador, Israel, Italy, Finland, Venezuela, Poland, Mali, Angola, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Argentina, Canada and East Germany. See ANR, Fond CC al PCR, Secţia Relaţii Externe, dosar nr. 25-28, 30-59.

[2] This refers to an interpretation given the 1956 Suez Crisis within the Soviet bloc that considerably exaggerated socialist influence in its resolution.

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