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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 03, 1966

TRANSCRIPT OF DISCUSSIONS HELD BY COMRADES ION GHEORGHE MAURER AND PAUL NICULESCU-MIZIL WITH THE DELEGATION IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM

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    This document is a transcript of some of the exchanges between Romanian officials Ion Gheorghe Maurer and Paul Niculescu-Mizil and the delegation from The Democratic Republic of Vietnam, including a discussion of certain points of contention within Romanian relations with the Soviet Union and the possible courses of action for Romania regarding the Vietnam conflict.
    "Transcript of Discussions Held by Comrades Ion Gheorghe Maurer and Paul Niculescu-Mizil With the Delegation in The Democratic Republic of Vietnam," October 03, 1966, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, ANR, Fond CC al PCR, Secţia Relaţii Externe, 127/1966, dosar nr. 3345, 31.XII.1966, f. 1-110. Translated by Larry L. Watts https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/122581
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The delegation was formed of comrades: Pham Van Dong, member of the Vietnamese Workers Party Central C.C. Political Bureau, Prime Minister of D. R. Vietnam, Nguyen Duy Trinh, member of the Political Bureau, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Xuan Thuy, member of the Central Committee, Head of the Committee for Foreign Relations of the Vietnamese Workers Party C. C.

3 October 1966

The discussions began at 1000 hrs.

[…]

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  From the international point of view, Romania has a very large array of relations. You know well our policy. We believe that it is good to develop as much as possible our relations with all socialist countries. We consider that it is good and we desire, at the same time, to ameliorate the relations that have suffered some deterioration, to put it one way, between ourselves and the Soviet Union, not because of us but because of the fact that we have openly expressed our intentions and desires to be masters in our own house. At the beginning this was a little difficult, it was not a language with which they were accustomed. However, little by little this policy began to be, in not quite understood, at least accepted. We will see what the future holds for us in this regard.

Nevertheless, it must be said that at the beginning we committed an error because, in affirming the principles that stand at the basis of relations between socialist states, we withdrew a little, maintaining an attitude of reserve towards the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries, which shared the Soviet point of view. That was a mistake. It was not well thought out. It was more akin to an irrational, emotional reaction.

Then, after the change that was necessary to be undertaken within our party leadership after the death of Gh. Gheorghiu-Dej, we decided to repair this mistake. We made a visit to the Soviet Union, manifesting all goodwill to improve our relations without, however, renouncing any of the principles that must stand at the basis of these relations. I believe one could say that we noticed a greater understanding for our positions. In any case, any opposition in the Soviet attitude towards this policy was less pronounced, although I am not convinced that it is a profoundly sincere and totally accepted attitude. There are, nevertheless, in our opinion, some elements that seem to indicate the tendency of the Soviet Union to reclaim certain prerogatives that it exercised earlier over the ensemble of the socialist world.

Within the discussions in Moscow there were many points of view regarding which we reached agreement, many things that we discussed in detail and which were identified in the common communiqué. Nevertheless, the manner of expressing the principles that stand at the base of relationships between fraternal parties, between socialist states, is the principal element of this communiqué. There were also issues over which divergences persist. It is true that we promised not to speak of  these divergences, however, we believe that we have been freed from that promise to some degree because the Soviets were the ones who first publicly presented some of the things upon which we had agreed [to keep quiet].

We are speaking, in the first place of a completely bilateral issue. We have requested the return of the gold transported to Russia during the War in 1917, invoking also a decision of Lenin, who said that this gold must be restored to Romania at the moment that power will be taken by the Romanian people. Regarding this issue there have been and there still continue to be divergences.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: Permit me a question: if you can, could you please tell us what argument do the Soviet comrades invoke for not satisfying this request?

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  I will tell you their arguments. I say arguments, because there has been, in fact, a succession of arguments.

First, they said that they didn’t know anything about this gold. Another response was that the gold had been transported to the south and there was stolen by counterrevolutionary bandits. Then an article appeared in the Soviet press itself, saying that, in truth, the gold really had been stolen by a band of counterrevolutionary “Whites,” but that it had then been recovered by the Red Army.

Finally they have invoked the fact that, through its participation in the anti-Soviet war launched by Hitler, Romania had produced losses in the Soviet Union and that this gold should serve and had served as compensation for those losses.

It is known that there is an accord between Romania and the Soviet that fixed the compensation for wartime losses at a value of 300 million dollars and which has been paid.

Given that, we have said that this problem remains open and that we cannot renounce it. “If you do not want to discuss this and resolve it today – we told them – then we will discuss it tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and forever, until it will be resolved in a just manner.”

Cde. Paul Niculescu-Mizil: Romania paid in full for those war losses!

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  We have had divergences, which still persist, also in regard to the activity of the CMEA. Some tendencies toward economic integration still exist. There has even been an attempt to complete this economic integration through military and political integration. From this was born the idea of modifying the Warsaw Pact, of creating supranational organisms, which would have the right to decide not only on military questions, but also that we should revise our earlier decision regarding the constitution of a singular military command. We are requesting the reorganization of this command in such a way that it respects the independence and sovereignty of the participating countries. We could not resolve this problem, it still persists, but in the end we stated the fact should be taken into account that Romania is not disposed to conceive of its military obligations towards the allied socialist states in a way other than that set out in existing documents.

We make this exposition in order to explain the care with which Romania has acted to strengthen, on the basis of principle, its relations with the socialist countries.

Regarding our relations with China, they have cooled a bit, if I can phrase it so, during the visit that Zhou Enlai made to Bucharest. Comrade Zhou Enlai wanted to present, during his discourse, certain appreciations that he found just and necessary regarding the Soviet Union and its policy. We requested comrade Zhou Enlai not to do this during his visit with us. In the end, a solution was arrived at, and he did not make the respective exposition. However, it seems he was very dissatisfied with this. For us, it was a question of principle. We did not want one socialist state to be attacked from within our home by another socialist state.

Along the same lines, when the media of socialist countries has taken, in our opinion, an inappropriate line towards the Cultural Revolution in China, we have abstained from participating in the action. It is true that we do not know very much about this Cultural Revolution. But it is certainly wiser not to speak of something of which you have no knowledge and we did not want to make of ourselves, in no way whatsoever, the spokespersons for some inappropriate appreciations addressed at the Chinese comrades.

When we decided to come here, as I also told you last night, we knew that this visit was not to the liking of the Chinese comrades. We thought nonetheless that it is useful and necessary and thus we addressed the request for you to receive us. We proceeded with the Chinese, telling them that we would be very happy if we could have an exchange of views with them regarding what we considered was necessary to discuss with the Vietnamese comrades. The response of the Chinese was a little cool. In particular, they did not consider that a discussion between us would be useful and possible. In other words, a visit at this moment would be inopportune.

At the moment we had your agreement, we asked the Chinese comrades to allow us the right to fly through their airspace. The reception awaiting us on our arrival in Beijing was not only correct, it was even friendly. That evening, we dined with comrades Zhou Enlai and Chen Yi. During the discussion on that occasion, we expressed again our desire to see the Chinese comrades on the return from Vietnam and to have a conversation with them. This time, comrade Zhou Enlai demonstrated his agreement regarding the discussion, which proves that the initial rigidity had attenuated. I would like to believe that we could nonetheless preserve with the Chinese comrades the relations that we desire to have with China, that is good relations, very good, friendly, sincere, considering that, in the final analysis, the visit of comrade Zhou Enlai to Romania had not only inconveniences but also advantages. I consider that our relations with China are good and it must be said that, in my opinion, the methods used within this relationship are more honest, more correct, and more open than in other cases. With the Chinese comrades we have no need to decipher the meaning behind their words.

Regarding our relations with the other socialist countries, they are certainly dominated by the attitude of the Soviet Union, especially under the aspect of official relations, because we have the impression that the ideas that we advocate regarding the independence of the parties, the mutual respect which they are due, with regard to the independence and sovereignty of states, non-interference in the internal affairs of parties and states, are ideas that begin to have an increasingly attentive audience.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: We must militate for these principles to be applied in everyday life.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  That is the situation regarding our relations with the socialist parties and states.

With the communist and socialist parties of other states, we have very good relations. We received visiting comrades from many non-socialist countries – from developed capitalist countries, from countries in the course of development. We have had very interesting discussions with them. We have observed that there is an increasingly pronounced interest in our way of thinking and we can say that there are no communist or socialist parties with whom we have poor relations.

Our relations are pretty good with capitalist countries as well. They are first of all good from the economic point of view. We have developed economic relations with the capitalist countries and we believe that we have done well to do so because, in this way, we could supply our industry with modern technology, in advantageous conditions. With these countries we have cultural and scientific relations, considering that this permits us to train cadres, to send our young people there for specialization in the domains of activity in which this can be realized neither with us at home nor in the other socialist countries.

With these countries we have good political relations.

I will begin with France. Our relations with France are, I can say, very good. From the political point of view, we consider that France has introduced something in East-West dialogue that was missing, namely: affirming the right of peoples to dispose of their own destinies themselves, the affirmation of the idea that nations must be independent and sovereign. From what I know, in the East-West dialogue that has already begun it may be that these ideas were understood on a subconscious level, however, in any case, they were not formulated in their entirety or publicly.

[…]

Several years ago now we proposed to improve our relations with the U.S.A. To this end a Romanian delegation traveled to Washington and concluded an agreement to promote and develop economic and cultural relations. We have sent several technicians there to study, which they have done, and we have concluded several agreements for the supply of installations that we desired to obtain.

Later, the aggression against your country was produced. This has led to a worsening of our relations with the Americans to a certain degree. We have insisted on frankly expressing our attitude towards this aggression and we have never lost an occasion to tell them our opinion in a civilized, polite manner, but firmly. Personally I have had two such discussions. The first, with Ambassador Crawford, on the occasion of his definitive departure from our country, when he visited me to say his farewells, in which I explained to the ambassador, who is an very intelligent man, our position and that which we believe is necessary to be done to resolve the conflict.  I demonstrated to the Americans that it is necessary for them to get out of Vietnam. It is evident that our demonstration did not convince the Americans, however, this things were said in a very categorical manner. I have also had another discussion of this type, after which there were indications that our observations were signaled to the U.S. Department of State, because we received a message on behalf of Dean Rusk, in which he said things of which you are aware, because we informed you at that time.

This, in general lines, is the state of our relations with the U.S.A. We have not considered that we should break off diplomatic relations. We have appreciated, however, that we must clearly express our disaccord and, much more than that, to condemn their attitude in the Vietnam problem. We have calculated that we must show openly what are, in our opinion, the possibilities for exiting from the current situation, but we considered that we must preserve these relations.

Why did we decide to come here? During the visits that we have made in different countries recently, within the discussions that we have had on these occasions, one problem, the Vietnamese problem, was invariably raised. Certainly, we explained our position in adequate manner, because we want to make ourselves understood; we have no intention to make propaganda but to engage in a discussion, which might furnish material for reflection for these countries. We made a general exposition of the problem of Vietnam, underscoring first of all the aggressive character of the American military actions in Vietnam; we then stressed the series of errors that the Americans have committed regarding their appreciation of the evolution of the actions undertaken and we especially underscored the fact that the Americans have continually underestimated the situation, that they believed at the beginning that they could achieve what they wanted in Vietnam sending about 20,000 men; these calculations have proven false.

They have believed that they could count on the nonintervention or the very limited solidarity of the socialist countries. Perhaps they were led to this conclusion also by a certain lack of unity in the orientations of the socialist countries. However, we have underscored that this is a great error because, little by little, this solidarity will become more and more powerful, eventually reaching its full potential. This was the second major error committed by the Americans.

The third major error is that of believing they can resolve this problem militarily. We have underscored the specific character of this war that the U.S.A. must face. While recognizing the superiority of the military power of the United States, we underscored at the same time the impossibility in which the U.S.A. finds itself, unable to terminate this conflict through military means. We have affirmed that in the end the Americans will be definitively stuck in this action and they will be defeated.

Underscoring thus series of errors, we have told our different interlocutors that it is necessary for all countries interested in peace to do everything possible in order to convince those in whose hands now rests the resolution of the problem, to do what is necessary so that this conflict ends, that is, to advise the Americans to reconsider the problem. Doing this, we have insisted especially on the interest of the small countries in attaching themselves to this action, because the small countries are the ones that will pay for the broken eggs.

It seems to us that this manner of discussing the problem has found a large audience in these countries, with the exception of Switzerland, where during my stay there for a medical treatment, I was invited to breakfast by the president of the Federal Council with several of his friends. During the course of this extended breakfast, we had an unofficial discussion, during which I introduced, as usual, the problem of Vietnam. On this occasion, the others riposted saying that – although we were not speaking about them, the Swiss, but of “the others” – [the Americans] had as yet not done anything more than to reply to the aggressions of North Vietnam.

The Swiss case constitutes the exception. Apart from it, I have not met with a single other case, although I discussed it with the Shah of Iran, with the King of Greece [Constantine II], with the President of the Council of Ministers of Turkey [Suleyman Demirel], not to mention [Prime Minister Jens Otto Krag of] the Social Democratic government of Denmark. Not one tried to deny the aggressive character of the American actions in Vietnam. On the contrary, all have manifested the disquiet that the existence of this conflict produces and the danger that this has for all countries and especially for small countries.

I will try to present in several lines their manner of rationalization. They told us: “The Americans have assured us that they do not desire the escalation of the war or the expansion of this war in a way that compromises the possibilities for peace, that they want to restrict it within local limits. This is what the Americans have told us. However, if it is true, as you have said, that things stand otherwise, that the Americans will not succeed in winning the war; and if it is true that the Americans cannot win in Vietnam through military means then what will they do?”

There are two possibilities: one, that they will listen to the voice of reason and say that under these conditions they must pack their bags and leave Vietnam. However, there also exists another possibility for someone who is powerful (and sometimes those who are powerful are inclined to replace intelligence with force). Having very powerful military means at their disposal, which they have not yet used fully in this war, they could say: “Let’s make a desperate effort to end this,” and they gave me the example of the justification used by Truman for dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. “They said that in order to defeat Japan, if the bomb was not used, 2 million more Americans would have to have died; and in order to prevent the death of 2 million Americans, [the U.S.A.] dropped the atomic bomb to end the war. If such a moment arises, what will happen?”

They asked me this question. Certainly, I could not and I cannot respond. I cannot guess what might happen. However, one thing is sure: a moment of very great gravity would then be created for the entire world. This is the essence of the rationale presented by our interlocutors.

We have thought a lot about this way of thinking and we have also reached the conclusion that the possibility of such a danger exists.

Things have gone even further in these discussions and Krag openly raised to me the following question during his speech at the banquet that he offered when I was in Copenhagen. He told me: “I do not understand why the Vietnamese refuse to discuss things.” Certainly, privately, in the framework of our discussions, I responded that: “I believe the Vietnamese do not want to discuss because they consider that the Americans are not sincere, that they do not wish to discuss except under one condition, namely, that their point of view is accepted.” In my public responses I have said nothing. I have preferred to overlook this question, without giving any response. I must tell you, however, that this question was constantly put to me in the discussions that I had there and in the other countries.

What does this prove? This proves that American propaganda finds, from this point of view, a certain echo and, what is most interesting for us, that it finds an echo in countries that do not contest the aggressive character of the American military actions in Vietnam and the justice of the Vietnamese resistance.

We have even met with ideas of the following nature: Demirel, for instance, said: “I know the Americans very well and they are tired of this. I believe that they see at the present moment that they committed a series of errors and that they have been uselessly circling around there, creating displeasures that begin to make them uneasy, but not knowing how to escape the situation.” In continuation, he told me, “I will ask you a question and please respond sincerely, because I am trying to understand things a little. Why this rigidity on the part of the Vietnamese, is it not the consequence of a political conception that foresees the launching of a world war in order to accelerate Communist takeover?”

(Laughter)

I have told you all of this in order to recreate a little the atmosphere of these discussions and in order to draw a conclusion that to me seems justified.

At the current moment, Vietnam benefits from a pronounced sympathy on the part of many countries, even those engaged in very close military and political alliance with the U.S.A. and, in the current circumstances, it would be possible to use this atmosphere in order to place pressure on the U.S.A. Not to mention the fact that, even in the bosom of American public opinion, one can observe a rather great repulsion towards the war that the U.S.A. prosecutes in Vietnam; there is a rather large number of people there conscious of the stupidity of this war.

Before presenting you with some of our opinions, taking into account the fact that you have received many visits and that you have been obligated to digest many ideas, I would like to present again the clear position of Romania, of the Romanian party and government. I can say not only the position of the party and government but of the entire Romanian people, who understand and support this policy. We consider that it is impossible to end this armed conflict before the Vietnamese people – and especially the people of southern Vietnam – are assured the right to freely decide their fate. This is our firm position and I ask you to retain the fact that we consider that the armed struggle must continue up until the moment when there is certitude on the assurance of the right of the Vietnamese people to freely decide their fate. I believe that on this point we have the same opinion as you on the objectives of the war, on the necessities and means of carrying out the war.

Given that, it seems to us that it would be necessary to analyze a little more closely the struggle that the U.S.A. carries out through political means. They have a rather simplistic way of presenting the problem: “We do not want anything from Vietnam. We do not want to overthrow the government of D.R. Vietnam. We do not want to maintain troops in South Vietnam; we want to leave Vietnam. We have no other object than that of negotiating with North Vietnam.” Of course, to this simplistic way of presenting the problem one could respond: “If you want to negotiate then you should not send troops there.” Nevertheless, the American way of presenting the problem finds a certain echo and, to the degree that situation is aggravated and the danger for the entire world grows, it may find an ever-increasing echo.

And that is why we consider that something must be done to counter this propaganda of the U.S.A., and we are thinking as to what is possible to do.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: And therein lies the problem!

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Of course, viewing things from Bucharest, and not from Hanoi, we have calculated that it is possible to say, for example, “Our political position, our objectives, our aims are these. We will continue to maintain them with arms in hand until the moment when they are achieved. However, because you say that you do not want to impose any regime on the Vietnamese people, let’s talk anyway.”

It seems to us that many advantages could be derived from such an approach. First, all of the countries in which the justice of the Vietnamese point of view currently finds echo and very pronounced understanding will be disposed to support this point of view more or less firmly, more or less efficiently. In this way an increasingly large force will be created, as the efforts of many more parties conjugate. And then, such an initiative will probably have a rather favorable echo in American public opinion, where the large percentage of undecided people will probably adhere to those who say they must end the war, that the Americans must leave Vietnam.

Let there be no doubt, we do not believe that the American government wants to abandon South Vietnam. We see no such intention, but if the means will be found to make this debate more public, it could in the end demonstrate what is the real value of the declarations made by the Americans. In other words, the Americans could be unmasked and this unmasking could increase the pressure from those [Americans] who desire an end to the war [and] the pressure exerted on the U.S.A. [from outside].

At the same time, these things could become known both to the South Vietnamese soldiers and to the American soldiers and, in the final analysis, they could also be made aware of the cause for which they die.

We have concluded that all of the forces about which we have spoken could develop into a process that will not be immediate but which, over a prolonged period and in parallel with the armed struggle that remains the principal means of assuring the achievement of the proposed objectives, you should, likewise, use political action. You cannot calculate with any precision the chances [of success] but, theoretically, there is the possibility that the Americans will reach the conclusion that wisdom dictates, and say: “We accept the conditions that you raise within the framework of our negotiations.”

For this reason, we have concluded that it is well for you (and you are the only ones who can do this) to think with all seriousness about the reflections that we have presented to you, and to ponder how and eventually when this tactic could be taken into consideration and applied. This is the main problem which we considered it our duty to come and present to you.

A second problem is that of seeing how, if there is still any possibility, to reestablish a unity of views and actions within the socialist world on a single issue – the issue of Vietnam. About the possibility of arranging things on all issues, that is an illusion. We have the impression that also on this issue we may be deluding ourselves, nevertheless, we should not despair.

When comrade Zhou Enlai came to us, we clearly explained the fight that we have undertaken in the interior of the socialist system in order to clear the terrain of any initiatives on the issue of Vietnam that could conceal damaging elements. In the conversations with Tito and Kocea Popovici several months ago, on the occasion of a visit there, this problem was also discussed. We told the Yugoslav comrades at the time: “To support Vietnam from the material point of view, to furnish them with assistances and the means necessary for fighting and at the same time to publicly predict negotiations means to support the policy of Johnson. It also seems to us that the Vietnamese have need of political and military assistance in the same measure. But if you believe that negotiations are necessary and useful, and that they can lead to something, you should say so in the appropriate framework, and not in your public positions, because, adopting this public position, you do nothing other than give credit to the Americans.”

We were obliged to speak with the Hungarians in the same manner as well. It is true, they did not say this in public. However, within [private] discussions they have had the same point of view and it could be that at a certain moment this manner of thinking could be made public. Given that, we believed it was necessary to make this demonstration.

The same thing was said to Gomulka as well, in a manner that determined him to have a certain reaction at the time. However, we were obligated to say it: “By having this point of view, you press the Vietnamese towards capitulation.” The Poles did not say it in public, but this point of view exists [among them].

Cde. Paul Niculescu-Mizil: This point of view was expressed not only at the [July 1966 PCC] meeting in Bucharest [but elsewhere as well].

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Gomulka was invited by comrade Ceausescu. The problem was discussed and comrade Ceausescu demonstrated that public and even non-public affirmations of this point of view, in discussions with personalities from capitalist countries, does nothing other than consolidate the position adopted by Johnson.

All of this proves the necessity of the conversations that we had with the abovementioned comrades. The opinions of which I have spoken still persist. We must nevertheless think that the elimination of these opinions from the socialist countries will strengthen their solidarity with the Vietnamese people. Given the above, we consider that, without ceasing for a moment the armed struggle, it is well to find the means for beginning talks, which will contribute, among other things, also to opening the eyes of these comrades. We find that this tactic is useful not only from the perspective of the interests of the socialist world, but also from the point of view of strengthening the solidarity of the socialist countries with the struggle of the Vietnamese people.

Thus, as I have told you, in regard to strengthening solidarity, when comrade Zhou Enlai was in Bucharest, after I explained, among other things, that we had refused the Polish proposal to convoke a meeting on the problem of what should and should not be done in Vietnam, we said that, nevertheless, a means must be found to coordinate this assistance.[1]  Likewise, we want to explain to you our motives for which we rejected the Hungarian proposal regarding a meeting devoted to the coordination of the assistance that must be accorded Vietnam.[2] We responded no, because we considered that the proposal could be suspected as being an attempt to organize, to constitute a supranational organism and, at the same time, a means of pressure in order to determine a certain course of the policies of the Government of Vietnam and of the National Liberation Front. Given that, we said that we were not in agreement, that it is not possible to discuss in a matter other than that in which we discuss it now. Without the accord of the Vietnamese and without having the agreement of all of the socialist states that help Vietnam, it would mean to accept a schism, which, unfortunately, already exists and is rather profound. Nonetheless, we consider that certain things must be done.

What is happening at the current moment? The Chinese say that the Russians do not help Vietnam; the Russians say the Chinese do not allow them to transit material to Vietnam, that the assistance that they send to Vietnam is retained in China. Thus, a series of allegations that one throws upon the head of the other, matters that could be resolved and whose resolution could lead, in the final analysis, to the organization of a collective effort.

We have spoken about with this with comrade Zhou Enlai, but he did not want to listen to us. He said that nothing could be done at the current moment with the Russians, that the Soviet leaders are some traitors. Of course, regarding the sincerity of the Soviet leaders and the methods that they use we also have serious reservations. However, we do not consider them to be traitors or agents of the Americans. They are men who have their own points of view, aims and objectives, which sometimes are not expressed and other times cannot be expressed, but they are nonetheless the leaders of a great socialist country.

Of course, it is simple enough to say: “We do not talk with you because you’re a bunch of crooks.” In the final analysis, even if they really were a bunch of crooks, they nevertheless lead one of the socialist countries, thus a means should be found to discuss with them. This manner of judging things is the only just manner, however, it has not found any echo up to the present among our Chinese comrades and comrade Zhou Enlai has rejected it in the discussions that we have had together. We believe that, [when stopping off in Beijing] on our return, we will touch upon this problem again, making a very succinct presentation, but covering as completely as possible the basis of the ideas that we have presented to you today in the framework of our discussions.

Aside from this, if you see any means of broaching these problems regarding the relations between the socialist countries and, in the first place, between China and the Soviet Union, with regard to the assistance that we all must accord to Vietnam, if you see any possibility, maybe you can give us some suggestion, and we will try to introduce it into the discussions that we will have with comrade Zhou Enlai and with other comrades. We cannot do otherwise than to underscore again the inconveniences that exist. We cannot do otherwise than to note the negative effects of the dispute between the Chinese and Soviet comrades with regard to the assistance accorded to Vietnam.

Cde. Paul Niculescu-Mizil: I would like to add just a couple of things, because comrade Maurer has given a complete presentation. The point of view presented was very closely examined and much debated in the Permanent Presidium of our Central Committee. I would like to tell you that among us, this issue that we discuss for the first time with you has not been discussed outside of the Permanent Presidium, nor has it been discussed in the Executive Committee. This issue preoccupies us.

You know the position of our party leadership. We consider that the Vietnam issue is an issue for the Vietnamese; that the Vietnamese comrades are in a better position than anyone else to decide the tasks and the forms for reaching their objectives. Vietnam is their country. They are ones who have suffered aggression. The right of the Vietnamese people to dispose of its own fate, of its own destiny, is being raised in discussions and no one other than the Vietnamese people is in a position to establish the tasks and forms of struggle. This is our position of principle with regard to noninterference in the affairs of others and it is, above all, especially a problem of principle in the problem of Vietnam.

Given that, we have expressed this both in public as well as in private discussions, about which comrade Maurer has spoken; and the number of these discussions can be increased. We have had discussions with comrades from the fraternal parties, with comrades from socialist countries, with people from other countries, with the participation of the General secretary of the Central Committee, the President of the Council of Ministers, the President of the State Council and with other comrades.

At the same time, the struggle of the Vietnamese people preoccupies our country and party because in a certain measure it concerns us all. We are a socialist country, we are united through fraternal solidarity, we actively manifest this solidarity and we are not indifferent to what is happening in Vietnam, just as we are not indifferent to what is happening in other socialist countries.

Given that, we have repeatedly discussed the problem with which we came here in the Permanent Presidium of our Central Committee. We believe we should underscore that we have not arrived at a certain conclusion. We do not want to say something concrete with regard to what should be done today or tomorrow, but we think that within the struggle that the Vietnamese people conduct with arms in hand against the American aggressors, we, the socialist countries, do not do enough for conducting the war with means other than arms, namely with political means, with diplomatic means. We have said this also to the other comrades from other socialist countries. At the [PCC] meeting in Bucharest last July we said that we were not satisfied with the political and diplomatic assistance being accorded Vietnam. We have possibilities to give them more support, both in regard to material support through the unification of our efforts as well as in regard to political and diplomatic assistance.

At every meeting in which we have discussed the problem of Vietnam, we have observed all the more that there is a position favorable to the struggle of Vietnamese people, which transcends the popular masses, transcends the sentiments of those in the working class, for a people that fights for independence, for liberty. The taking of rational positions can even be observed among bourgeois leaders who see that American policy is becoming mired down, that it can only lead to failure. Under these favorable conditions, there is, in our opinion, the possibility of using political and diplomatic means more actively.

The discussion with the Shah of Iran [Mohammad Reza Pahlavi] was very interesting in this sense. I did not participate in that discussion, comrades Ceausescu, Maurer and other comrades participated, but I know how the problem was framed. He is the Shah, he represents a social regime that is not advanced; but with all of that, during the discussions, he manifested – of course not in the form in which we manifest – sympathy towards the Vietnamese people. He went so far that in a common communiqué signed with socialist Romania he spoke about this sympathy with the struggle of Vietnam, about the right of the Vietnamese to decide their fate alone. This is a significant thing, which speaks to a certain correlation of forces, about a certain orientation that is making a place for itself in the non-socialist world.

This is the essence of our thinking, which we believe that, comradely, within the framework of good relations between the leaderships of our two parties, it is good to present to you.

We have met before as well. We have had discussions that our party leadership has considered especially useful. Given that, we decided to consult closely on problems that are associated with this issue and our party leadership received this idea with great seriousness and with a desire to give life to these consultations, to these exchanges of opinion with the Vietnamese comrades.

Comrade Maurer referred to the issue of the way in which some comrades from the socialist countries openly express, in public, some differences of opinion with the Vietnamese comrades. I would like to say more about that. We, in a more restricted framework, in the discussions with the leaders of socialist countries and fraternal parties, have given a very serious riposte to such opinions. On behalf of our party leadership, I have had the task of informing your ambassador about the work of the PCC meeting in Bucharest, where the problem of Vietnam was discussed very much. I must tell you that a resolution was presented by the Polish comrades that, had we accepted it, would have been unfavorable to Vietnam. [It was] a resolution in which the support which must be accorded to Vietnam was not affirmed with all force, a resolution that did not unmask the American aggression, a resolution in which the principal issue was to press Vietnam towards negotiations with non-socialist countries – clearly referring to the United States of America – without any principled basis.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  And that negotiations should replace the armed struggle.

Cde. Paul Niculescu-Mizil: The discussion between comrades Ceausescu and Gomulka took place during the meeting of all first secretaries of the socialist countries at which comrade Ceausescu also said that, to accept that point of view, means to push the Vietnamese to capitulation.[3]

Cde. Pham Van Dong: No one can push us towards capitulation.

Cde. Paul Niculescu-Mizil: This is the sense of the resolution proposed by the Poles. On the basis of this appreciation, we came here to discuss with you. Certainly, these are points of view that we present to you, and you can think about them, reflect upon them. We are convinced that this problem preoccupies you. We are convinced that you the first to analyze all of these manifestations of our contemporary life in connection with Vietnam, because it is your cause first of all. However, we are also convinced that it is our duty to inform you about the facts that we have observed in connection with Vietnam, about the phenomena that we observe in relations with the other countries, about the way that we think. It is our duty to hold this exchange of opinions. Surely, it is no longer necessary to add that everything I have told you, everything that we discuss with you falls within this exchange of opinions, just like with us at home and will not become the object of discussions in larger circles of comrades, except to the degree in which a certain conclusion is reached.

With regard to the second question, it is difficult to say more. I would like to add that we consider that our principled policy for the development of our relations with all socialist countries in spite of the great difficulties that exist in the socialist world is a good one and we will militate with perseverance for it, even if we appear to be pig-headed, to say that it is necessary, at least in the case of solidarity with Vietnam, to find common ideas, forms and joint actions.

That is what I wanted to say in summary. Otherwise, comrade Maurer has expressed the thinking of our party’s leadership.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: We thank you comrades, both on behalf of our party and on behalf of the Vietnamese people. You know the struggle that we undertake. We fight for the most sacred of rights and we fight with the heroism with which you are acquainted. And if we fight with such heroism, this is because we defend our most sacred rights. This struggle cannot have but a single end – that of our victory. We cannot negotiate when it comes to our sacred rights.

We thank you because everything shows that you are on our side, you stand beside us. The exposition of comrade Maurer proves this. On this subject I believe that nothing more is necessary to be said. We have observed that you are very much preoccupied with the problem of Vietnam. It must be said that this is also our preoccupation. For entire years, day after day, this problem has worried us. We think about this day and night. Why? Because we know very well that it means to defeat an extremely powerful adversary, that it is necessary to defeat him and all of his friends, of course, with the help of the socialist countries. We must defeat them on the battlefield; we must defeat them in the international arena, through all means possible, including diplomatic means.

In principle, we are in agreement with you; we agree completely, and that is our position of principle, even from the time of Lenin. Lenin was the one who applied these principles so magisterially, however, unfortunately, Lenin was alone. Now we are more numerous without, however, in this domain, being more intelligent than Lenin.

Now, comrades, I believe that I must present the problems as you have done. Even in their examination, these problems must be separated. Is this also your opinion?

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Meaning the two problems that we have presented: the perspective of struggle, the forms of this struggle and the problem of the solidarity of the socialist countries on Vietnam. Yes, we agree that we must discuss them separately.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: That means that the two problems are not necessarily connected to each other. There are different forms of solidarity: bilateral, multilateral.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  That is absolutely true.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: Then, comrades, I ask you to tell us if you have any more concrete opinions on this problem of principle.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  What I can tell you is that we have given a lot of thought to these problems. It is difficult to have concrete opinions, because we also have arrived at the conclusion that the best positioned to think concretely about this problem are the Vietnamese themselves. It is difficult, from Bucharest, for us to say what should be done specifically; it is hard. On the other hand, we have reached some opinions that can only be of a general order. Concretely, however, this is a problem that must be analyzed especially by you and the manner of initiating this tactic depends not only on international considerations but also on the internal conditions in the development of this struggle, I would say even in the same measure at least. If in regard to the international conditions of the struggle we also have possibilities to investigate in order to know these conditions, regarding the internal circumstances of the struggle you are best positioned to appreciate them.

A concrete problem now exists and is clearly profiled: the machinations that the U.S.A. now makes in the UN. Our attitude is clear. We will say that this problem cannot be analyzed there. This will be said and will be sustained with firmness, however, we must not delude ourselves. There are many countries that manifest sympathy for the struggle of the Vietnamese people, however they do not understand this [refusal of negotiations]. It is very probable that, in the end, the Americans will even go with a resolution to the UN, for a neutral resolution, in any case, that indicates the necessity of peacefully resolving the Vietnamese problem. I believe that this cannot be avoided.

We must think also about this. Not within the framework of concrete possibilities for dealing with this new tactic but because this eventuality is of a nature to force us to think about whether it is better to wait for or to prevent a resolution. This depends on the circumstances regarding which you are the only judges. If we must wait, then there is nothing to be done to delay it, to temporize. If we should prevent it, we must do everything possible and impossible in order to delay things. We must see what is to be done, because, without a doubt, this decision will have a great resonance in the entire world, in many countries.

From this cause, we thought the problem must be discussed between us in an urgent manner. Otherwise, it could be said, this is a problem that could be taken into consideration later. However, thinking to this eventuality, and to the echo that an eventual resolution could have in world public opinion, we decided to accelerate a little this exchange of opinions. Moreover, there may also be other concrete possibilities. Perhaps there is an opinion that does not come to my mind at the current moment. Maybe it is a case of aspects over which one should mediate longer. In the final analysis, just as the Americans make declarations abroad, the Vietnamese leaderships can make a declaration as well.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: The problem arises, what should we declare? We would be happy to receive a suggestion from you.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  In my opinion, [a declaration] in the sense of the presentation that we have made. I do not see any position of ours that could be weakened if we said, for example, that: “Up until now we have defended, with arms in hand, our aims (which are the following): we will continue to do this. You say that you want nothing from us; that you only want to talk with us. We will fight, but while fighting, we will talk.” This is one way of putting the problem. There are, however, others as well. This, as I’ve said, is a hypothesis, however, others can also be imagined. The possibility can be imagined of a contact, which is not public. However, the advantages and disadvantages must be weighed because the principal motivation of the suggested discussions is to counteract American propaganda, which seems to us to have achieved certain political results.

It seems to me that in one way or another this question must be raised publicly, because the Americans also make such public declarations. Like you, we consider that there is very little chance that the Americans desire to recognize the justice of the aims for which the Vietnamese fight and die. We are not so naïve as to believe this.

However, it seems to us that, analyzing concrete means, the possibility must be found so that the discussion should be public, so that it is known what is desired and sustained by the Vietnamese within this discussion and what is desired and foreseen by the Americans. This way the tableaux of intentions, of true intentions, will be set out more accurately, because the Americans are sufficiently clever to counteract these arguments. Given that, all of these arguments must be thought through with the greatest attention.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: Doubtlessly you know our last declaration, made by me, on the three points. What is your opinion of it?

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Starting off from the system of rationality that I have presented to you, it means that you are conditioning the beginning of talks on the acceptance of a certain minimum, which represents, in the final analysis, the program in four points [of the D.R.V.] and that in five points [of the NLF]. The Americans have said that they are ready to discuss those 4 points. What does not emerge clearly from your declaration is whether any talks must be preceded by the cessation of the armed struggle or whether it should take place under conditions of the continuation of hostilities.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: We have said neither yes nor no.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Maybe it would not be bad to discuss this; this could give results. We do not believe it, but lets try and do this as well.

In any case, there are some problems that are clear to all of us. First, it is not possible [and] in no case should you interrupt the armed struggle unless you renounce the aims of this struggle. This thing is certain, just as you have said; this is about the most sacred rights of a people.

Cde. Paul Niculescu-Mizil: In no case would we accept a “Pax Americana.”

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  A second factor: until you are certain that the right of the Vietnamese people to decide its own fate is assured, the armed struggle cannot cease. This is clear.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: Agreed.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  This fight can only terminate through the victory of the Vietnamese people. This is also absolutely certain. The armed fight will continue, but talks could give certain results. You could say to the Americans, for instance: “See, these are our objectives. We can discuss them with you, if you assure the recognition of the sacred right of the Vietnamese people to decide for itself on its destiny.”

There would be in that way the possibility to say the truth to those people who begin to give a certain credit to the Americans. You must appreciate whether it is possible that in these conditions, with arms in hand, the dialogue should be continued or not.

It seems to us rather difficult to find a formula that would conceal to the end the true intentions of the Americans. I have never met, in my discussions, anyone who said that Mr. Ky represents the Vietnamese people. Not even the Swiss.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: But Johnson will tell you that.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Johnson is something else. Nevertheless, the people will take away certain elements from these discussions, namely, the aggressive character of the American actions. It is not known if the South Vietnamese people want to be communist or capitalist.  Doubts can be expressed regarding it. There are some who believe that the South Vietnamese desire another regime.

However, one thing must be clear: that the presence of the Americans is neither desired nor accepted by the South Vietnamese people. This is the second conclusion: Ky does not represent the Vietnamese people. No matter how the talks unfold it will be hard for them to avoid bringing clarity regarding the positions of the two parties and from this point of view another advantage could result: unmasking American intentions, which will create even greater pressure on the American leadership, both domestically and from abroad. Theoretically, it is possible to imagine that the Americans will reach the conclusion that they no longer have anything to do in Vietnam. All the better. Certainly, this possibility is completely theoretical. The chances of realizing it are almost null.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: However, that will not always be so.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  It may be achieved through discussions, if it is possible.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  In some small measure.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  In any case, the principal means for us and for you remains the armed fight, which you should not cease and which should be supported.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  We look with all seriousness to the struggle in the international arena, to the diplomatic struggle, under conditions in which it remains to be foreseen and defined in the most secure manner possible. We have the initiative in our hands. This is our principle. In this sense, we have formulated the four points. I recently read an article in “Le Monde,” signed by Phillipe Deaillier[4], which comes to the conclusion that we, the government of D.R. Vietnam, had taken the initiative of peace and of peace negotiations. Now it is the turn of the Americans to say their piece. It is good the article was written by a French journalist.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Especially in the newspaper “Le Monde.”

Cde. Pham Van Dong: We have thought very seriously about the beginning of peace negotiations and if they have not come about, it is the fault of the Americans. The three points and the four points are very important for us. This is how the problem is raised for us and it should be raised in the same way for all of those who are preoccupied in one way or another with the problem of Vietnam. We have been attacked; the bandits have entered our home and everything must be done so that they leave. This is how we put the problem. The U.S.A. government must cease any act of aggression against us so that negotiations or something of that nature could begin. It would mean to request of us something totally impossible that we should sit at the conference table so long as they continue aggressive actions.

Regarding the third point, it is understandable in and of itself. In that way, the three points that were the object of our declaration constitute the current expression of our position.

Our declaration represents at the same time a kind of offensive, after the last declarations and taking of positions by the Americans at the UN and in other parts.

As we have said, we agree with you. In principle, we do not reject the struggle in the international arena, we do not reject the struggle on the diplomatic plane. We even consider that the armed struggle must be combined with the political struggle and the diplomatic one. These are different forms of struggle, however, [they are] indispensible. The diplomatic means must contribute to the final victory, which cannot be obtained except in the first place on the field of battle. In that way, we do not believe that we could force the Americans to leave Vietnam only through discussions.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  That is also our opinion.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  We are likewise in agreement that the two that can take place at the same time. One can talk and at the same time continue the fight. If in the international arena we could obtain certain advantages, this would contribute towards the final victory. We are in agreement with all of this and we will study the conditions, the means that could have [36] the greatest chances of success. For the time being, however, we consider that the conditions are not yet ripe for certain negotiations. This is a very important thing. I wish to underscore that for the time being the conditions are not ripe, given that at the present moment the Americans are on the point of intensifying the aggression. They have their plans, which we know. They are actively preparing for the future steps of escalation. We consider that under these conditions it is not indicated on our part to begin discussion.

If things are done frivolously, nothing good would come of them, rather, something bad, even more so since the enemy is extremely clever and dishonest. We are very reserved and prudent and we consider that we must think to all aspects. If today it would be thoughtless to undertake something in the direction of negotiations, it is possible that tomorrow circumstances will be more favorable. We, who participate in the fight, who make the sacrifices, consider that all the possibilities must be created for negotiations. On the other hand, it would be a crime for us to neglect any occasion that could serve to obtain victory in the shortest time possible, to limit the war. This is our strategic line and we remain faithful to this line, doing everything possible to apply it both on the battlefield and in the international arena and on the diplomatic plane.

We receive your opinions with total agreement. We have thought about these things. We very sincerely ask you, if you have certain specific recommendations, to tell them to us.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Very sincerely, comrade Pham Van Dong, I tell you that we do not have specific recommendations, because, as we told you, in order to make specific recommendations we must have the tableaux in all its specifics. I refer to the specifics of internal forces and, when I say “internal,” I do not refer only to the internal forces of the Vietnamese people but also to those of the American army. The explanations you have given complete the tableaux of our thinking. On the perspectives of escalation you are better informed. You know all of this better and because of that I believe that our comrades, when they are acquainted with these details will have the same point of view. One must weigh carefully what must be done so that the actions undertaken should not be interpreted as a sign of weakness. On the contrary, they must show force. Do not undertake a poor business.

Given that, concretely speaking, we do not know what could be done, especially under current circumstances, because the tableaux has at least two faces and you are the ones who can appreciate it best. This is how we see it. We did not come to give you recipes, but to acquaint you with our opinions. We are glad that you are thinking permanently about all the possibilities.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  If I insist that you present to us the object and result of your reflections on the problems that so closely regard us, it is precisely in order for us also to reflect on them. It is true that it falls to us to take a decision, that we are the only ones in a position to appreciate these things in their entirety, but in order to take a decision in full possession of the facts, we ask that you tell us everything that you have thought of regarding this issue.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  I have told you what we are thinking. Recently, we reached the conclusion that if there are not determining motives of, I could say, a “local” nature, it seems to us that it is possible even now to make such a declaration.

Cde. Paul Niculescu-Mizil: Or to find a corresponding formula, to make use of the existing circumstances. We do not have any solutions in our pocket. If we did, within the framework of the principles that animate us and in the framework of our relations, we would have told you. We have no such recipes. If we had a solution, we would have told it to you.

We were sent by our party leadership in order to discuss with you and to make known our opinions. The contacts that we have had with you allow us to tell you that in the current international situation, in the current correlation of forces, the American failures justify the search for such a type of attempt.

We judge the problem with great attention. The Americans conducted such a war before, not long ago, in Korea. There they had 14 capitalist states alongside them. Today there is not a single serious capitalist state that sent troops into South Vietnam. On the contrary, even their military alliance partners seek to equivocate. Not to mention France. All of these countries are members in NATO, SEATO or other political and military alliances [with the Americans]. Today there exists a situation that could be used to advantage. Given that, we have proposed to show the Vietnamese comrades these reflections of ours, to make and exchange of opinions. At the same time, we ask, for our part, that if you have certain thoughts [or] concrete ideas that you share them with us.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  I regret that I am not a god that has everything well in hand. If I would be a god, I would organize things in the best manner.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: I propose that we continue the discussion at 1500 hrs.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  I think that we will finish today. If it will be necessary, we will continue tomorrow. However, as I told you yesterday, it may be useful not to prolong this visit both from the point of view of encumbering your activities and from the political point of view. A prolonged visit could lend these discussions an air of pressure. In that manner it could be exploited by our adversaries or perhaps even by our friends. The shorter these discussions are, the more they will appear correctly as a discussion between friends, with common ideas.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: And that nothing unsettling is happening.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  We consider that if we could leave the day after tomorrow, it would be good. Tomorrow we could see something of the city. If necessary we can discuss again tomorrow at lunch, in the evening, or early in the morning the day after tomorrow.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: We have no objections. We are in the midst of war, thus all problems must be resolved at an operational rhythm, because the war is the central problem.

The discussions ended at 1300 hrs.

Afternoon Discussions began at 1500 hrs

[…]

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  Concomitant with the preparations for a prolonged war, the so called people’s war, which will last as long as the aggressor wants – we make every effort to win the war in the shortest time possible and with the minimum sacrifice possible. It is possible that this objective should be realized by combining military efforts with political efforts in the international arena and in the diplomatic domain. If I insist on this point it is to declare our complete agreement with your reflections. We have every motive to understand the value and necessity of combined action, in all domains: military, political and diplomatic, as well as the necessity of combining our efforts with yours. If we undertake the greatest efforts, with greater intelligence and greater efficiency, everything seems to indicate that we will succeed in defeating American imperialism. We consider that this objective is realizable.

[…]

[Jean] Sainteny was here and he presented the position of France, and we presented our position. We told him that we will beat and that we will defeat the Americans at any price. He said that the Vietnamese are beaten today only on points, but they are not yet down on the mat and he gave us to understand that if we will accept no kind of compromise, the Americans will use extreme measures and it will be terrible.  We told him that Johnson has never responded to those four points of ours and in these conditions discussions are not possible. I believe that [it is] the Americans [who] are beaten on points, which represents a great achievement of ours. This indicates, likewise, the fact that if we combine well military actions with political ones, both at home and on the international plane, success will be on our side.

[…]

I have said this in order to express our will to fight. If there did not exist such a will, to provoke considerable losses for the enemy and to defeat him, what could be realized on the political and diplomatic plane?

From its founding until now our republic has done only one thing: it engages in war. In those 21 years from the creation of the republic we have done nothing else but fight. We are “warriors” (warlike). However, at the same time, permanently, we negotiated with the French. Now, likewise, while we conduct war, we do everything possible to negotiate.

[…]

Now I would like to speak about what we have done up to the present regarding our actions vis-à-vis negotiations.

This morning I told you that we understand the value of consequent action to obtain peace on the national and international planes. Already from the beginning of 1965, when Johnson was preparing to intensify the war, we made known our point of view with regard to a negotiated solution. I am speaking of the four points. Experience has shown that these four points are an expression not only of the Geneva Accords but also of our most fundamental demands. This clearly and plainly expresses our position. Through this we have not only taken the initiative but even the offensive, and the article about which I spoke demonstrates in a positive way that we have placed our enemy in a position of being unable to respond to this peace offensive. I believe that is the way the problem should be framed. We have always said that we must hold the flag of peace high and show all countries who the aggressor is; to show that the Americans are the ones violating peace.

Very recently, in order to support this offensive, I made a declaration in a speech at a meeting with a Czech delegation about which I reminded you, which comprised three points. I consider that it is necessary to reaffirm the significance of these declarations.

The first point is in fact a reaffirmation of the older four points.

Point 2 foresees the acceptance by the Americans of an unconditional cessation of the bombing and any other acts of war against D.R. Vietnam. For us this is very important and corresponds to the desires of immense sections of public opinion. According to information at our disposition, in all countries the same thing is being asked of the Americans as an extremely logical step.

If we look at the origin of this war, we note that the Americans conduct a war of aggression against the South, and because of the fact that they have suffered defeats in the South, they have sought to compensate those defeats by attacking the North. So, the Americans attack us in an attempt to beat us and, in that way, to win the South. They attack us under the pretext that the North is the aggressor and they will not recognize the National Liberation Front as a legitimate interlocutor, as an authentic representative of the South Vietnamese people.

Saying all of this underscores that our claims regarding the North are fundamental.

It is no wonder that the entire world reacts through an increasing support in our favor. Recently, a significant declaration was made in Tokyo.

Our last declaration consisted of those three points, which constitute the expression of our position. This represents a new offensive, to which the U.S.A. will be obligated to respond. If public opinion will be mobilized in order to oblige the Americans to respond, they will find themselves faced with very great difficulties.

I believe I should give a brief overview, without, however, omitting the essentials, about the contacts established with the U.S.A. or with their intermediaries. Up until the present, we have always considered these useful for us and we do not refuse contacts, and therefore we ask our representatives in different capitals of the world to receive good faith contacts, every chance they get. In this manner, various contacts were established in Paris, Rangoon, Algiers, to a certain measure in Cairo, and to a certain measure in Moscow. Whether one talks of U.S. ambassadors or other intermediaries, we have never closed our door.

What was done in the course of these meetings with the U.S. representatives or their intermediaries? They tried to present their position in a polite way, more or less intelligently, and we defined, likewise, the objectives of the struggle that we conduct and our position towards peace. These contacts have not given any results, because the U.S.A., in parallel with its development of the war, seeks to sound us out, to take our temperature, to feel our pulse, to see what the effects of the war are, the effects of the bombardments. However, each time they have run up against our resistance and our determination to obtain victory.

Referring to these contacts, one episode is worth mentioning, namely, our contacts with the Canadian [Chester] Ronning, contacts that took place two times. The first time, he had the aim of knowing our position. I received him and I defined our posture – the 4 points – as well as our claims regarding the North. Before departing, he let it be understood that there is a glimmer of a chance for arriving to a solution of the problem. He went to communicate all of this to Prime Minister [Lester] Pearson and, after that, to the Americans. Then he received a note from the U.S.A. through which we are asked, as compensation for the cessation of the bombing, to end the hostilities in the South, the withdrawal of our assistance to those in the South, or something similar. Since that time we no longer received him and we communicated to him that it is unnecessary to come here as the spokesman of an impossible message. He had not come, as he said, as a man of good faith, but as a representative of the U.S.A.

We are discussing a very important subject – the permanent and unconditional cessation of U.S. aggression against our republic. I must demonstrate that this is extremely important, because only through the cessation of the aggressive acts against the North can the war be limited and can the North and the entire socialist world be protected. Exactly through this can the good faith of the U.S.A. be put to the test. If they are for peace and are animated by good faith then the U.S.A. should accept this.

I repeat to you what I told Sainteny with regard to a negotiated solution. He always asks me to undertake something. I told him: we have the Four Points, to which is added our request to stop the aggression against the North. I explained that this last point is a kind of pole that we extend to the U.S.A. to grab, if it wants to prove its desire for peace. He said that this is a condition. I said to him: “Yes, it is a condition, because we are the victims of the aggressor. It truly is a condition, but a well-founded one, a just one, one which anyone of good faith must support.”

And that is the situation regarding contacts. I can tell you that we have not had other contacts. We have not had other contacts also because they could not give results while the U.S.A. is determined to continue the war. At present the U.S.A. wants to continue the war, hoping that it will win. [Secretary of Defense Robert] McNamara, the Pentagon, [Chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board General Maxwell] Taylor and others were sure that with 200,000 American soldiers they would win. They were absolutely sure, their logic being very simplistic. They considered that if at the beginning of 1965 there were only 30,000 men and at the end of 1965 there would be 200,000 men, there were no reasons why they would not win victory. This was a very simple calculation and logical. However, reality did not unfold in that manner. At the end of 1965 and in the dry season, they suffered great losses from every point of view. At the end of the year there will be 400,000 men and they are less certain that they will win. They believe, however, that they can assure certain military advantages and, on that basis obtain some political advantages. This is their calculation. They want to obtain political advantages, to weaken the liberation army and the N.L.F., to “pacify” certain regions and to consolidate the puppet army in Saigon in order to obtain certain advantages following a negotiated solution. If they cannot obtain a military victory, they will try to obtain a kind of negotiation from a position of power.

To this are added the bombardments of the North. It is absolutely certain that they will intensify these bombings, which should contribute to their military advantages, in the sense of isolating the South from the North, weakening in that manner, in their opinion, the military forces of the National Liberation Front.

Under these conditions – and here we arrive at a problem that preoccupies us – it must be noted that the U.S.A. is determined to obtain a military victory, either complete or partial, and for this the Americans use every possible means. Among these means we number military, political and diplomatic means. I can tell you that they use all of their political and economic potential in order to impose peace maneuvers.

We are the object of certain pressures from many countries, pressures that are at their origin American. We know that the U.S.A. acts abroad in order for their peace maneuvers to be supported. The Americans have not neglected nor do they neglect a single means, not a single possibility is missed to have these maneuvers bear fruit. They exert pressures on us in order to bring us to the negotiation table and there force us to accept their conditions. At present there are indications that they do not accept our four points, that they are not sincere. Thus, there cannot be sincere and honorable negotiations. The intentions of the Americans; their desire, is to put their hands on the South. When Rusk declares that the Americans have no ambition to dominate us, it is possible that it represents the truth at that moment. However, they have their plans with regard to conquering the South, desiring to make the South into a kind of semi-colony, a military base of the U.S.A., something that we cannot accept. At this hour, when almost 400 thousand men are in South Vietnam, we do not see how we could reconcile our objectives with theirs and how eventual negotiations could have any chance of success. It is something absolutely impossible at the present moment.

See why, comrades, as I told you this morning, that in this period it is not indicated for us and it is totally impossible for us to begin certain negotiations. All that we can do is to define and redefine our position of principle, all of that having as its aim the presentation of our claims to public opinion, and in that way send the ball into the adversary’s court.

I desire, likewise, to present our line. We consider that the moment has not yet arrived; the conditions are not ripe, because we know what the adversary is doing both in the South and in the North. We know that he intensifies the war of aggression and that he is very far from giving satisfaction to our positions of principle. There is not an objective material possibility, so long as there is no crumb of good faith on the part of the Americans.

We agree with you that we must intensify political actions. In this regard you are perfectly right. You have contacts in many countries, you discuss with personalities of various countries, in various circles, beginning with the leaders of the socialist countries up to the Shah and Western personalities. It is true that American maneuvers, tactics and propaganda have to a certain degree born fruit. It is true that from the point of view of propaganda, of the struggle for informing public opinion regarding the objectives of this war, the socialist countries have not done all that they could do. We, the Vietnamese, are conscious that this effort was insufficient and we regret it. It should be that we do more. And the same applies to you. If we had done more, if our propaganda had been better, more efficient, maybe we could have presented our position better to the world, to public opinion. Given that, we agree with you that it is well to intensify our political actions, of propaganda, for mobilizing the popular masses, for mobilizing public opinion in our favor.

Regarding diplomatic activity, it is true that we could have done more.

In the days and months that follow, we will study better this problem.

If we had more contacts with the third world countries, with various organizations and political circles, we could have presented our position in a convincing manner and we could have better unmasked the enemy. However, unfortunately, we did not do all that we could have done. In this way, Johnson succeeded to exert pressure on many people. It must be said, likewise, that the U.S.A. disposes of many means but we, for our part, have not done all that we could have done.

Moving to the second problem, regarding the unity of action of the socialist countries. During the visit of the delegation led by comrade Bodnaras we spoke of this problem. This was the principal object of our meetings at that time.  We said that we agreed in principle, that it is an invincible principle, that our actions should be coordinated and the strengthening of the unity of our countries realized. On this principle we were in agreement. However we explained that there are many difficulties in this regard. We have every motive to note these difficulties. Then, you Romanians, you did all that you possibly could. We know this. And now you come again in order to talk about this unity of action. Very well, comrades, we appreciate your determination, your tenacity. These are things that are worthy of all congratulations. We, when it is a question of principle, likewise fight for it. However, regarding the opportunity of discussions we do not delude ourselves. It may be that at the current hour the difficulties are even greater than usual. We are conscious of all of these difficulties. The problem is then, what is to be done?

On your return you will meet with the Chinese comrades, you will speak with them. I do not know what results those discussions will have.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  I do not think there will be any at the present moment. Perhaps something for the future.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  That is the situation. The Chinese comrades know you and this is a good thing. We congratulate you, likewise, because the Chinese comrades know you. It is well to examine this problem together with them. Regarding us, we will do all that is within our power. One must proceed with patience, with delicacy, with intelligence, in order to realize something step by step.

I want to express our decision to work with patience but also with tenacity to obtain, if not very much, at least something, and over time we will see.

We have very good relations with the Chinese comrades; likewise with the Soviet comrades, and we will continue to develop these relations. They also give very good results. We do everything possible to ameliorate the difficulties between the Chinese and Soviet comrades. Regarding the Vietnam problem, we know, for example, that the problem of transiting arms is very complicated, because the two sides do not get along very well; we, however, must ameliorate these divergences. We have not always succeeded, however, in general, things go well and we appreciate very much these successes. The Chinese comrades do everything possible to ensure the transit of Soviet materiel and materiel from the other socialist countries that is destined for us. This is a communist attitude. The Soviet comrades also do everything they possibly can. As do the other comrades.

In Beijing, we say everything positive about the Soviet comrades. In Moscow, we say everything positive about the Chinese comrades and request that an accord be reached between them on this problem of transit. We will try to do the same in other domains.

These are the things that I can tell you regarding our position. Do you have any questions?

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  I have no questions, however, I would like to share some of my reflections.

I believe that we can note the identity of our points of view on all problems, maybe with a single exception. I was thinking first of saying what I think is most essential with regard to our position.

We are in agreement, first, with the fact that the extension of escalation is proof of the lack of military success that you have imposed upon the Americans in the South. There is no other explanation. We entirely agree with you that, for the moment at least, the Americans have no ambitions of dominating the North, but that they do not want to abandon the South at any price, even it they leave it militarily.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: This is another thing.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Thus, we are in complete agreement with you that the danger of escalation exists, because we share your opinion that from the military point of view the Americans are unable decide the fate of the war in South Vietnam. From this flows the fact of the existence of a great danger not only in regard to the extension of war with local character but also the breakout of a war of large proportions. We consider, without knowing what the Americans are thinking in particular, that this extension of escalation could take place in a rather short period. We have observed, likewise, many facts that demonstrate the intensification of American preparations.

We are completely in agreement with you that the basis of any possible negotiations will be the successes that the Vietnamese register on the field of battle. Without this type of success negotiations are not possible. If an adversary is not beaten on the battlefield, he will seek to impose conditions on the peace and, thus, we could experience a defeat.  I would like to repeat what I said at the beginning, namely, that no initiative that leads to the cessation of military actions, no intervention that seeks to end military operations is justified, even more so because it is harder to re-mobilize forces that operate against the Americans than it is for the Americans to bring troops back.

We completely agree with you that this war must be supported by all of the other socialist countries, on the basis of a unitary conception regarding the objectives sought and the means that must be used. From this point of view, we have remarked, as have you, that such a unity does not exist at the present moment. Given that, we must work to realize this. Certainly, I have not speaking of material assistance, which is something easily understandable, but of the political and diplomatic support of the other countries. We are totally in agreement with you that more needs to be done from this point of view.

It may be that we have not emphasized enough the necessity of immediately ceasing acts of war against the North. However, regarding the importance of this condition, we are completely in agreement with you.

We also completely agree with you regarding the objectives that the Americans have established for arriving at a negotiated solution. In addition, as I have told you, in all of the discussions that we had with diverse personalities we underscored the series of errors committed by the Americans, the errors of appreciation, of calculation, regarding the possibility of defeating, of destroying the resistance of the Vietnamese people. As do you, we believe that at the present moment they are less sure of obtaining victory, thus they think the means remaining at their disposition (I refer to military means) are of a nature to give devastating blows. On this point as well we totally agree with you.

Likewise, we are in complete accord with you with regard to the tasks that result from this ensemble of considerations, thus the intensification of material assistance and, in parallel with that, the intensification of political action. I refer, in regard to the socialist states, to political action that seeks to demonstrate the true face of the adversary, the truth about so-called desire for peace of the Americans.

There is a single point on which our opinions are not in accord. I underscore this point, because I consider it something that obliges both of us to further reflect upon it.

We consider there to be an advantage in beginning if not negotiations then talks, while preserving intact and intensifying the war effort. We have told you, regarding ourselves, what are the advantages that we consider we can obtain from this. These advantages are, without a doubt, hypothetical. There is no certitude in this domain and we do not have the possibility of demonstrating mathematically, as we can say that one and one make two, the justice of these advantages.

If we underscore this different way of viewing things regarding a certain, one could say, non-essential problem, it is in order to explain through fact that we, starting out from this tactical orientation, consider it a problem worth taking into consideration. We will think further on this problem. I believe that you will also do so, and, later, we should organize better the exchange of information that we could have.

I believe that we will continue to have contacts at the highest level with many countries. In these contacts, without a doubt, a certain problem will always be present, namely, the Vietnamese problem. Through this, we will obtain other information as well, which could be of use to us.

At the same time, I believe that what I told you with regard to political and diplomatic action is true. The insufficiency of political and diplomatic action is, among other things, a consequence of the absence of a common point of view on the objectives and on the evolution of the war, even among the socialist countries. Thus, in this regard, more still remains for us to do.

I must confess that we are happy for the possibility of having this exchange of opinions. Regarding ourselves, we now have a much clearer vision of things, a larger view, which permits us to better orient our actions. We will profoundly analyze these discussions within our party leadership and we will elaborate a plan for our political and diplomatic work in such a way as to have greater efficiency.

As you, we do not have great hopes regarding the possibility of immediately achieving solidarity among the socialist countries. Obviously, I am referring only to the Vietnam problem. Nevertheless, on this issue we will also speak with the Chinese comrades. Without doubt, this imposes the necessity of meeting again. We are at your disposal anytime. We do not, however, want to abuse your time. We will think seven times before making a proposal. I believe that this habit of talking is a good thing.

On our return we will present to the Chinese comrades, in a rather general way, the content of our discussions. We would have nothing against your transmitting to them everything that we have discussed together in its entirety. I think that would assist us so that we would not have to stop too long in Beijing. We will do the same thing with Moscow, possible something less, because the Soviets also do many things about which we are not consulted. The information obtained from the international press is sometimes more complete than that which we receive from our Soviet comrades. Nonetheless, we will pass through Moscow and we will inform them, in a general way, about this exchange of opinions, about our agreement on all of the essential problems. Likewise, we will see what is the best modality of presenting these things.

We must, likewise, organize our action in the UN, because, without a doubt, there will be two moments when it becomes obligatory for us to occupy ourselves with the Vietnamese problem: on the occasion of the discourse in the general debates, where I believe that you must demonstrate that the solution of peace is in Washington, and at the moment when the resolution regarding the existence of conflict would be proposed in the General Assembly or in certain commissions. Then we must maintain the principle that the UN is not competent to decide on this problem.

At the same time, we must demonstrate the possibilities for putting an end to this situation, explaining what must be done and who must do it.

I consider that this is the conclusion that can be drawn from these discussions.

If comrade Paul Niculescu-Mizil has something to add?

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  Before comrade Mizil speaks, I also have something to add.

In your last intervention, you raised a number of very important problems about which I believe I haven’t said anything. You said that there remains one point on which we do not agree. In truth, I have been thinking about this problem since this morning. You consider that the problem of talks with the U.S.A. could be raised independently of any other problems, regardless of their importance. That is one idea. You start off from certain premises, namely, that the talks cannot in any way influence the general situation, especially the military situation. On the one hand there are talks and, on the other, the fight continues. At the moment we are speaking of armed fighting. We will continue and we will intensify the armed struggle and we will do everything possible in order to succeed. This is what we also did with the French.

It would not be out of place to tell you, in short, that the negotiations with the French started unofficially long before the battle of Dien Bien Phu. An agreement was reached that a conference should meet in Geneva to discuss this problem.

From the beginning of 1954, we came to realize that a great battle had to be given and we said that we needed to obtain a decisive victory in order to place the Geneva Conference on a solid footing and to assure its success. And it is significant that the battle of Dien Bien Phu was won on May 7, while the Geneva Conference began on May 8, thus, a day later.

The other comrades who were with us in Geneva were not too sure. However, that is how things came to pass.

Now, returning to the problem that preoccupies us. In your opinion, talks could be started on any other problems because they do not tie our hands. This is your opinion. However, our opinion is that which I told you. We ask things that have a very great importance and we want especially to put the good faith of the adversary to the test, because if our adversary is not of good faith, then what results could talks give? They could not give any good results. On the contrary, they could give birth to certain misunderstandings. On the other hand, we would desire that the talks should take place in such conditions that they constitute a contribution to our political and diplomatic struggle on the international plane and to our military struggle, on the field of battle.

We take all of these problems into consideration. This morning, you explained different advantages that we could obtain in these conditions. You enumerated them completely and you said clearly that the talks would be of a nature to bring great disorder among the ranks of the American military combatants and those of Saigon. We know all of these things. You see why, when we think about this questions, we try not to neglect anything and we should study this problem in all of its complexity, under all of its aspects, and with all of its repercussions. You see why, in the months ahead, we will study this problem in the most profound manner.

And now let’s enter the domain of concrete things.

In regard to the unity of the socialist countries, truly, you have brought important clarifications. We are not speaking of unity from an organizational point of view, but of a unity in the domain of orientation, in the domain of coordinating bilateral and multilateral actions. This unity necessitates a certain ensemble vision.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  A certain common doctrine.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: That is an idea, because without this unity there cannot be a coordination of common action.

Regarding the United Nations, you say that it is possible that certain countries, even a certain number of countries, should arrive at a kind of resolution. In discussions with the socialist countries and with other countries with which we have contacts, we have requested that they oppose any sort of resolution, because a resolution can only give further fuel to the Americans in a manner more or less obvious.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  We agree. We must do everything possible to prevent this but we must not delude ourselves on our possibilities within the UN. I repeat; we should not delude ourselves. Even if unity of action on behalf of all of the socialist countries were realized, it would still not be sure that we could block a resolution of the UN General Assembly regarding the Vietnamese problem.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  Then what is to be done?

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Nothing other than fighting there as well. There is a chance of winning and of losing. What else is there to do? Without a doubt, we will vote against it and we can try and convince others. However, the result? Regarding myself, I am skeptical. There certainly will be some cards to play on this problem. I believe that the position of France in the UN will be a position in support of our point of view. And this constitutes a strong card because France is a capitalist country, not a socialist country. It may be that other countries as well will do the same, even if they are not socialist countries. A fight it will be, but we’ll see what the results will be.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  I am not sure. Do you have some information?

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Specifically, we do not have information and must wait and see. At the UN we believe that this problem will appear because we already have acquired a little experience regarding the general mentality. We will seek more profound information on this problem because our representatives at the UN could discuss it. Our possibilities there are large enough. We have access to almost all of the delegations, we have friendly enough relations and we can sound them out. When we have more precise information we will bring it to your attention. Without a doubt, in the framework of the general discourse, we will be obliged to concern ourselves with this problem, in the sense in which I told you.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  Behind the scenes it is possible that pressure will be exerted, in the sense that the Vietnamese problem will be raised in the UN General Assembly, coming with a tendentious resolution. However, we count upon the socialist countries and on other countries. Our position is that the UN is not competent to discuss the Vietnamese problem, even less so since we are not represented there.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  But if they invite you there?

Cde. Pham Van Dong: We will not come.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Our adversaries could take recourse to other maneuvers as well. For instance, an organism could be constituted that would occupy itself with this problem. In order to elude the lack of UN competence on the Vietnamese question, they could respond that the UN is not addressing the problem itself, but the threat to peace. In reality, there are many countries that could support this rationale, supporting more or less openly, but in an efficient manner the American point of view. This being the case, we must watch these realities with all attention.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  Truly, the problem is not a simple one.

Cde. Paul Niculescu-Mizil:  I would also like a few words on the second question.

First of all, I want to say that what comrade Maurer has said, with regard to how we view these things represents the fruit of the long-term collective thinking of our party leadership and I can only subscribe to everything he has said.

The first question. We are completely in agreement with regard to the objectives of the war in Vietnam, on the just character of this war, on the fact that the Americans are the aggressors, etc. We agree, likewise, on the fact that the result of the war will be decided on the field of battle. No matter how capable the negotiators, when it comes to war, the result is decided by the correlation of military forces, by the blows that are given the enemy, by potential forces, by the potential capacity to inflict blows. Thus, on this problem there can be no discussion. The war must be conducted with arms in hand and Vietnam has the right and the duty to conduct this war.

The problem that arises is this: knowing the intentions of the Americans, knowing that their words about peace negotiations are designed to conceal their war-like actions, that they are designed to conceal new steps in the escalation of the war, is it or is it not necessary to undertake political and diplomatic actions?  We have worried over this problem for a long time and we have reached this conclusion, these reflections that we have presented to the Vietnamese comrades. We have nothing to lose if, while developing the struggle further, we will beat the enemy not only on the battlefield but also on political and diplomatic terrain. I completely agree that Vietnam has done much on this political and diplomatic terrain. The socialist countries have done so as well, but we consider that the socialist countries, that all of us, can do more.

We see these talks not as a means of resolving military problems but as one to unmask the aggressor’s intentions. You’ve added something that, personally, I did not know in connection with the French. The decisive blows came after the talks began. It seems to me that this fact strengthens our conviction in the sense of the reflections that we made. You see, the Americans wave their intentions in an effective manner. What do we have to lose if, while doing everything to strengthen combat capacities, if while preparing for any possibility, we take this political weapon from the hand of the Americans. I am not saying what results will be obtained, but there is the possibility of unmasking them through political and diplomatic means in order to show public opinion that everything the Americans say is not true. Our opinion is that many things can be done using this tactic as a weapon for unmasking them, as a means of political struggle, as a means of countering American pressures on various countries, on various governments. Of course, in my opinion, if such an action is well undertaken, if we succeed in unmasking the American plans along this path as well, we will make their ability to conduct the war even more difficult and, without a doubt, this will also influence the development of the war.

You see why we have raised the problem of talks, as an object of reflection. This is the first question.

The second question is in connection with the cessation of bombing against North Vietnam. We have not had the possibility before leaving of examining the speech given by you, comrade Pham Van Dong, because we left immediately. However, we have listened to you now and I would like to share several of our thoughts with you.

Many times, in our party, this problem was raised. Comrade Ceausescu has raised it many times himself: why can we not undertake a great worldwide diplomatic and political action on the problem of ceasing the bombing of North Vietnam. We have everything necessary to do it. The War in South Vietnam has gone on for several years, without North Vietnam being bombed. The bombardment of North Vietnam is a new measure. Why haven’t we mobilized our communist parties, public opinion and democratic people, the large masses, to fight against the bombing of D.R. Vietnam? Not even the capitalist countries that support the U.S.A. can agree with such a barbaric act. When Hanoi and Haiphong were bombed, [British Prime Minister Harold] Wilson, otherwise a friend of the U.S.A., declared that he does not agree with such an escalation of the war. Thus, the bombing of D. R. Vietnam by Americans is an act around which a very serious political and diplomatic campaign could be developed.

We have expressed the opinion – and I am saying something that we all share, both those of us here and those at home – that, in such a problem, we can develop concrete, immediate actions. You can see, Wilson reacts differently to those four points, but about the bombing of D. R. Vietnam he says he does not agree. In connection with the cessation of the bombing of D. R. V., we can mobilize a great number of governments from the Third World, we can mobilize very large circles of public opinion around the entire world under the slogan: “Cease the acts of aggression against D. R. Vietnam.”

I wanted to add these words, in order to underscore the manner in which our party leadership thinks, that it considers there to be larger possibilities from this point of view. Both in the domain of work among the masses, and in the diplomatic domain there are possibilities to engage in such tasks immediately, which lead to concrete results. Given that, I consider that there is a reason for satisfaction that in his speech, comrade Pham Van Dong has especially underscored this. We salute this fact and we consider that in such problems we can find a larger field of action, we can find more varied forms, including talks. That’s it for the second question.

I want to conclude and to underscore, as a participant in the earlier discussions in May together with comrade BODNARAS and in those here now, the utility which we have derived, which our party, our party leadership has derived from close relations with the leadership of the Vietnamese Workers Party, with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. We have benefited in the forming of our own thinking from the discussions with the Vietnamese comrades. Our party leadership salutes this form of fraternal collaboration. I believe that, as comrade Maurer has said, future consultations between our parties and countries, at different levels, including at the highest level, also cannot fail to be useful to both parties in order to know better the problems and coordinate better the struggle that each conducts by itself and, at the same time, together.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  I agree with that.

Comrade Mizil has given certain clarifications. With regard to the first point, I am in agreement. You have underscored the idea that one can profit from talks by unmasking the enemy. This is an idea. It is not a question of us reaching a certain result with the adversary, but this will help us to unmask him. This is an idea. In any case, I tell you sincerely that we will study all of these problems.

What you have said regarding the cessation of hostilities against the North is very just and we are happy that you also appreciate the entire importance of this problem. This will fall to you, the socialist countries. We would like the socialist countries and other countries to militate in the future for this demand of ours, because it is exactly our slogan: to defend the North, to liberate the South and to reunify the fatherland.

These three aspects are tied closely together and, if we will succeed to make the Americans respect the sovereignty, integrity and security of the D. R. Vietnam, this will be very good and through it the war would be limited. If the war is limited only to the South, it will be won.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  [An] Extremely great [thing].

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  If the Americans accentuate the extension of the war, if it undertakes a new escalation in the North, this will determine a very powerful action against the aggressor. To the socialist countries will fall the task of militating for this [cessation]. We will do what depends upon us. However, we are not the ones who must underscore this [demand for cessation] too much.

During the course of the second visit by Sainteny, he said that: “If you insist on the cessation of bombing, it could be interpreted as a weakness.”

These three things – the defense of the North, the liberation of the South and the reunification of the country – are closely tied together in the entirety of our revolutionary activity. On the other hand, we, those in the midst of the fight, are aware of the importance of the North for revolutionary activity in the entire country. The North is the principal engine. If the North is strong, everything goes well. If, in spite of the bombing, we do everything in order to maintain and strengthen our current potential it is to support the South and to strengthen it. Given that, if it is possible for the North to be protected and consolidated, that is very important. All of these things are closely tied together.

Cde. Paul Niculescu-Mizil:  Thus, it is worth it for us to fight for such an issue: for cessation of the bombing.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  This idea is understood and supported by the great majority of world public opinion. And in this newspaper “Le Monde,” there are many articles on the first page that try and support the idea that the American bombing of D. R. Vietnam is a fiasco.

Comrades, how do you see your program tomorrow?

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  I think that we will profit from the suggestion you have made, to visit Hanoi. In the morning we will see a village that has been bombed, an anti-aircraft defense unit, a museum and in the afternoon, if there are still problems to discuss, we should meet and discuss them.

In any case, the discussions that we have had today have permitted us to make a tour d’horizon on all problems. There is no aspect that was not made clear; at least that is what I believe.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  I believe so as well.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  We believe that we see things in the same manner. This can illuminate our future activity in very useful ways and will give us the possibility to increase the effectiveness of our actions. I could say that we have done this completely. There are certain things over which we must think and other things regarding the way we must act.

Cde. Xuan Thuy:  Elsewhere you raised the problem of the United Nations. Will it be possible that you can prevent or impede the adoption of a resolution or another document regarding Vietnam? Would it be possible, likewise, that the U.S.A. succeeds at the United Nations to have a document adopted on this problem?

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  It is not only possible, it is probable.

Cde. Xuan Thuy:  Regarding yourselves, you will do all that is possible to impede the U.S.A. from accomplishing this. However, for the moment they have the majority in the General Assembly and if they have the intention to do something, it is possible they will succeed, as they have in the past in the Hungarian or Korean problems. We have energetically protested against the American maneuvers. However, in the last instance, they succeeded to realize the maneuver. Practically, however, the resolutions of the United Nations on the Hungarian and Korean questions brought no important results. You see, at the beginning there may be different opinions on this problem but what is important is the reality of things. Practically, the reality is resolved on the field of battle, and the support of the socialist countries constitutes a very important assistance. To the degree that Hungary consolidates from one day to the next, the resolutions of the United Nations become frivolous, useless. This is due both to the efforts of the Hungarian people and to the support received from the socialist countries.

That is why the attention that you accorded to the Vietnamese problem at the UN session is just. I am convinced that many more representatives of the socialist countries will express their opposition to the American maneuvers from the tribune at the UN General Assembly. I am sure that your efforts to impede the U.S.A. from realizing these maneuvers will continue. If we do not succeed in impeding the U.S.A. from realizing its aims, I am sure the socialist countries will continue their efforts to impede future American maneuvers. That is why we appreciate very much your efforts. Even in case we do not succeed in impeding the maneuvers of the U.S.A. to have a document adopted on the Vietnam problem, we are sure that the socialist countries will continue their efforts to support Vietnam in the future. We propose to the socialist countries to do all that is possible in order to impede the U.S.A. from obtaining the adoption of a resolution with regard to Vietnam.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  It is certainly the case that our common struggle does not depend on a single resolution, favorable or unfavorable, of the United Nations. This is so evident that it does not require us to lose any time over it. No resolution will stop our common struggle.

Nevertheless, we should tarry a bit over the importance of such a resolution. Without a doubt, the resolutions of the UN General Assembly cannot be imposed on countries. Many times, especially when they are not just, they end by losing all validity. However, at the beginning they do have a certain value. What the Americans would win if they obtained this resolution is a political advantage.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: Which they need at the present moment.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  An advantage, however, that will not last very long. More or less, this depends on how we act to annihilate that advantage. Nonetheless, I think that it is reasonable that we know that a resolution adopted by the UN presents a certain political advantage for Americans and because of that we must make efforts to impede the adoption of such a resolution. If it would not bring advantages to the Americans, we could stick our hands in our pockets and say: we cannot do anything, it doesn’t concern us. In reality, however, we must impede this and, in order to impede it, we must make the effort. It is a righteous cause and we should militate for it within the framework of our international relations, with every country that participates in the UN.

Cde. Xuan Thuy: The first possibility is that we impede the realization of American maneuvers at the UN. In this case, we could only congratulate ourselves. In case we do not succeed to impede this maneuver, we will continue our efforts to impede the realization of American objectives.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: Comrade Janos Peter, the foreign minister of Hungary, came especially for this problem and we discussed it at length with him. In general lines, we told him the same thing and, before leaving, he expressed his complete agreement with our point of view, in the sense that we should do everything possible to impede this type of maneuver on the part of the Americans. We should not engage in wishful thinking because there is an American majority at the UN, but we should show that the socialist countries that are represented at the UN constitute a force that enjoys an increasingly important audience. Even more so in that the Vietnamese problem is a rather clear problem and the U.S.A. cannot do what it likes. That is why I consider that the socialist countries that are members of the UN will coordinate their efforts, will act behind the scenes in order to diminish the chances of the adoption of such a resolution. The countries that survive with American help and are subjected to the Americans are known.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  France can be counted upon, and some francophone countries and other countries that see things the same way. A third bloc, so to speak, is constituted by the undecided countries, which can be convinced to a certain degree.

I agree with you entirely. This struggle is not without hope. However, it is a serious struggle. As comrade Xuan Thuy has said, there are two possibilities, but one of them is more probable.

In regard to comrade Janos Peter, I am a little disoriented, because he requested that we participate in a resolution that the socialist states were to have proposed in order to counter the resolution of American inspiration. We considered that to propose such a resolution meant to request that the UN take the decision on this issue and implicitly recognize the competence of this organization in the discussion of the Vietnamese problem. We must not submit a resolution. We should only oppose any resolution on the topic. There will be, then, a single resolution, that of American inspiration, against which we must pronounce.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  We were of the same opinion.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  We did not know of the visit of Janos Peter, he told us nothing about it. He said only that he has a resolution to submit.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  He explained that, at the instigation of the Americans, some countries would propose a draft resolution. “What should we do?” he said. We must submit a counterproposal. I told him that we must not do this and he was convinced.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  We, in any case, have supported the point of view that the socialist countries should be the ones to combat the resolution of American inspiration, without however, submitting a counterproposal.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  At the present moment, the U.S.A. has need of some sort of political and moral support from the UN and they have need of this also regarding the [1966 mid-term Congressional] elections.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  For a multitude of considerations, a lot can be done with UN resolution without it, nonetheless, being an essential element. The problem, however, cannot be solved through a UN resolution. But it can create much confusion and many difficulties.

Cde. Nguyen Duy Trinh:  We told comrade Janos Peter that the Vietnamese problem differs very much from the Korean one, regarding the submission of a resolution counter-draft, because in the Korean problem the Americans succeeded in internationalizing the conflict, and in our case there are international accords that must be respected. That is in the first place.

In the second place, through the resolution it inspired the U.S.A. tries to internationalize, in a certain way, the Vietnamese problem and create certain difficulties for us. Thus, we should combat this resolution and we believe that we have the necessary forces in order to combat the American maneuvers. We believe that the conditions are there to create a favorable climate at the United Nations. If at the present moment, under the current correlation of forces, the U.S.A., Japan or another country would present a resolution to the U.N., where it would be discussed, this would not affect in the least degree our decision to continue the fight.

In the end, comrade Janos Peter was in agreement with us. We told him that the United Nations should be impeded from any discussion of the Vietnamese problem, and, at the same time, to use the UN tribune in order to unmask American aggression.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Sometimes, rather bizarre ideas spring forth [when a unified orientation is lacking]. I do not know how it happens that such ideas make their appearance. For example, Gomulka’s letter, in which there is a strange idea – this project for a meeting of the European socialist members of the Warsaw Pact in order to coordinate the assistance accorded to Vietnam. The Hungarians have proposed to us, likewise, to meet in order to coordinate assistance that is accorded to Vietnam.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  Political assistance?

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Assistance of any nature.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  Perhaps political assistance.

Cde. Paul Niculescu-Mizil:  The Hungarians wrote us a letter, signed by Zoltan Komocsin, which says that it would be good for the representatives of the Romanian Communist Party, the Bulgarian Communist Party, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, the Party of Socialist Unity in [East] Germany, the Polish United Workers Party and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to meet regarding the coordination of the assistance that is accorded to Vietnam and they offered Budapest as the location for the meeting. We responded to them through a letter in which we explained that we have accorded and will accord support to Vietnam; but that any coordination of assistance for Vietnam must be done in the first place in consultation with the Vietnamese comrades, because Vietnam is the one that needs the assistance; and that this gathering should include the participation of all of the socialist states that accord assistance to Vietnam. Only in that case, would such a gathering be efficient. In conclusion, we said that we do not see such a meeting as opportune.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  There are such ideas, which have appeared in the last years, and which are not seriously thought through. I do not know the motives for their appearance.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: Comrade Janos Peter spoke to us about a kind of coordination of assistance from all of the socialist countries in the political domain. That is how we understood it. Now you have brought certain clarifications, which give us pause for thought. Up until now, we believed that it was a question of a kind of coordination of political assistance from all of the socialist countries.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  We have nothing against bilateral or multilateral discussions in this direction. However, what we consider to be unjust is the constitution of an organism in this scope. The discussions must take place and we carry out such discussions. I do not remember any discussion of our party and government with any other party or government that has not analyzed this problem, in which we have failed to express our views on the practical methods that must be used. However, we consider that the creation of an organism for the coordination of this assistance is not indicated, especially given the fact that will only be partial.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  It is not realizable.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Not all of the socialist countries would enter into such an organism.

Cde. Paul Niculescu-Mizil:  Comrade Janos Peter proposed a conference of foreign ministers in order to hear our presentation on the situation in Vietnam, on our strategy and tactics in this fight, saying that at such a conference no decisions would be taken and, because of that, it would be possible for the Albanian and Chinese comrades to participate as well.

Cde. Paul Niculescu-Mizil:  That is another problem entirely.

Cde. Nguyen Duy Trinh:  We said that we would study this, but it is rather complicated.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  For today, I think we are done.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Yes. We can say that we will study, both you and we, what has been discussed.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  We will do this with the same intensity with which we conduct the war. The basis is the military struggle. However, that fight must be supported also by the political struggle, leading to final success.

We conclude for today. Tomorrow you go to visit the city and maybe tomorrow afternoon or the day after tomorrow before your departure we will discuss more.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  I agree.

The discussions ended at 1800 hours.

4 October 1966

The discussions began at 1500 hours.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  You can continue, comrade Maurer.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  I have nothing left to say. Everything I had to say, I have said. I’ve emptied my sack. I can say that our contacts have been useful and that they should be continued. Regarding us, we have nothing to add except our decision to ensure that what has been noted by us is translated into practice, in conformity with our common conception. Otherwise, we would only be engaging in Platonic philosophy, a philosophy that has been obsolete for quite some time.

Without a doubt, we will present a detailed report on these discussions to our comrades on the return home. We will inform them meticulously on the discussions. To a certain measure, we anticipate little with regard to this analysis because we know what the position of our party leadership on some analyzed aspects will be.

As you can see, our way of viewing the problem is s common one; there are no divergences. There are perhaps certain different nuances, however, aside from them, on the essential ideas of the problem there is nothing less than complete accord. I do not see how we can do otherwise except to continue with even greater vigor that which we have done up to the present, certainly, within the limits of possibilities, because no one can ask us to do the impossible.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  So every communist proceeds.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Our discussions with the Chinese comrades will depend upon them. We would desire them to be sufficiently broad, in order to comprise within the sphere of discussions the problems that interest us. In any discussion there are two sides and there must be an agreement of both parties in order for problems to be discussed.

Then we will go to Moscow. We will make a short presentation about our visit to Vietnam, in the aforementioned sense.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  In regard to us, we were able to present a detailed report of our discussions to our Political Bureau. The comrades on our Political Bureau and especially comrade Ho Chi Minh congratulate you on your visit, they are glad of it, of the discussions we had together, of our exchange of ideas. Our comrades consider that your preoccupations are also our preoccupations, that your concerns are also ours, and that our relations are inspired by our common ideology, our common objectives, and our solidarity in the struggle. It is indicated, useful, and even indispensible for us to continue to have this kind of exchange of opinions.

We consider, likewise, that we are in agreement on the basis of the problems. We agree with you on the necessity of conducting a political fight on the international plane and of conducting an intense fight in the diplomatic domain. For our part, we will study with great seriousness and in detail all of these problems, because they are of primary interest to us. Certainly we have in view the object and the result of your reflections, as you have expressed them. On these problems we are in agreement. Regarding the form, the modalities of action, we will see, comrades.

You have said that it remains to appreciate if these things are possible and that this depends upon us. We consider that in the current hour the conditions are not good and that the moment must be chosen in such a way so that our action will be crowned with success. This will occur in the near or more distant future.

Our Political Bureau considers that your visit is useful, that it has brought us new elements upon which we will reflect. You are a country well placed to have vast relations and to know better the opinions of one or another [country], which allows you to have ideas and suggestions, from which we can and could profit.

Now, comrade Maurer, because we have the necessary time, I desire to know more profoundly certain things about which you have spoken.

Regarding the unity of action of the socialist countries, you have said that they should reach agreement on certain modalities of acting on the basis of a common doctrine. What is your understanding of [how to achieve] that?

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  First of all it seems to me necessary to clarify that this unity cannot be realized on an organizational basis because there are a multitude of obstacles that are very difficult to surmount. We have studied this problem and have reached the conclusion that for the moment satisfactory results [along organizational lines] cannot be obtained. What is more important, in our opinion, is to have unity of doctrine, because with regard to the definition of the aims and means that will be used within the framework of this crisis, I believe that there are some ideas, which are not absolutely identical in all of the socialist countries. Thus, work must be done in this sense.

As we have told you, we have done what we thought could be done, because we had discussions with the leaderships of the different socialist countries. Within these discussions, we sustained the common points of view that we have discussed in our interviews. We believe that we should continue our efforts and we believe, likewise, that you also have something to say in this regard. I think that it is well for you to have contacts and discussions with the leaderships of different parties of the socialist countries and to make, on such occasions, a tour d’horizon, just as we did here, in order to facilitate the establishment of a common point of view on all of the aspects of the principal problems.

It is no secret to you, for example, that some comrades such as comrade Gomulka, harbor certain special ideas. I have the impression that he believes that a victory of the Americans must be translated into fact, at the moment when they employ certain military means. This implies a certain orientation. This explains the idea, which I have the impression that he harbors, with regard to the necessity of negotiations and the idea of replacing the armed struggle with negotiations. Without a doubt, he supports your effort. Gomulka does not make public declarations [to your detriment]. However, the manner of his thinking about these problems in itself proves that he lacks invention in seeking what is best to be done, in order to promote a manner of action that seems to me adequate.

I have the impression that the Hungarians also have rather confused conceptions regarding the precise definition of the situation, of the aims and the objectives to be attained, as well as of the means that should be used.

For our part, we have discussed with almost all of them and sometimes these discussions have been rather “heated.” An acceptable formula was found, expressed in the Declaration of the Political Consultative Council of the Warsaw Pact members adopted in Bucharest [in July 1966], which could have been even better, but which nevertheless is not far from corresponding [to current needs.]

We will continue these efforts because we also have contacts with these parties, in various circumstances. Firstly, we owe several countries visits and, likewise, we are due visits from party and government delegations of other socialist countries. This also raises the possibility of exchanges of views.

Soon, we will meet each other in Moscow, where the leaderships of all socialist countries participating in the Warsaw Pact have been invited in order to visit a cosmodrome [space facility]. Here will be a new occasion to discuss this problem, because it is impossible to avoid a discussion of the Vietnamese problem, even if there were a desire to do so.

In this sense I believe that action must be taken in order to reach a true unity of views.

This is also another aspect. Sometimes certain declarations appear. It seems to me that comrade Liu Sao-Tsi declared that the Geneva Accords have lost any value. This declaration surprised us very much; it appears as nonsense to us, because this point of view is also shared by General Ky.

Cde. Paul Niculescu-Mizil:  Even today we were informed that General Ky has made a declaration in this sense.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  The Geneva Accords constitute a very important thing. They constitute the essential justification of your position, of our position. If these accords did not exist, the problem could be raised in the manner: do you have the right to exist or not?

Given that, any declaration must be viewed with utmost attention, thus avoiding declarations that not only do not serve but even turn against us. It is true that the problem of Vietnam is a problem, in the first place, for the Vietnamese. However, at the same time, it is a problem of all of the socialist countries. If each begins to say anything that passes through their minds, what will happen? I argued this during the discussions with our partners in the Warsaw Pact. We cannot admit any public discussion on the Vietnamese problem without consulting Vietnam. If Vietnam agrees, then anything can be done.

Cde. Paul Niculescu-Mizil:  And all of the other countries should consult with them on this problem.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: That is the rule; that is a principle of behavior.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  I believe that within the Warsaw Pact this discipline is beginning to be introduced.

Cde. Paul Niculescu-Mizil:  Only just beginning.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  When I arrived here I found out that Janos Peter had the initiatives to speak with you about a conference of foreign ministers. This is useful and Janos Peter could have the imagination to find interesting topics. It is not at all bad that he comes to discuss with you and if he obtains your agreement he can move to the implementation of his ideas.

Cde. Paul Niculescu-Mizil:  In any case, if Janos Peter says that he has taken council with the other socialist countries then he should at least take council with them. We knew nothing about raising in discussion a meeting of foreign ministers. Such cases are many, when action is undertaken on the international plane in the name of some socialist countries without specifically identifying those socialist countries, and without others being consulted. In any case, on the basis of the Warsaw Pact there is an obligation to consult the countries participating in the treaty on problems that affect their interests.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  This is the way we see the problem of the possibility of establishing the unity of doctrine, as a prior condition of any organizational unity, which will be achieved when “God” agrees to it!

Cde. Pham Van Dong: You are right, comrade Maurer. We also think in absolutely the same manner and we consider that it is our duty to inform you about our situation, about our struggle, about our aims and objectives, as well as about the means and methods that we use in all domains. On this basis we request your support and assistance, on this basis we try to realize the coordination of our actions, especially in the domain of international policies and in the diplomatic domain. We are entrusted with this and it is our duty to do this. From this perspective, we have done everything in order to have contacts with comrades from the communist parties.

We have had contacts in many places but especially here, and there is something remarkable: that when the comrades come here, they declare themselves in agreement with us rather easily, even, I would say, very easily. All of the comrades that come here, after they become acquainted with our situation and listen to our exposition they realize on the spot the realities of the struggle and they reach the conclusions that what we are doing is good, justified and necessary. We appreciate this as a very good thing, both for us and for the respective comrades.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Have the Poles come?

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  They are coming in the month of November. We have had many contacts with them. However, we have not discussed the basis of the problem. Maybe when they come we also will have such a discussion.

Cde. Paul Niculescu-Mizil:  The issue with the Poles is an example, because we have no problems with them. At the Meeting in Bucharest we reached agreement with everyone about the document that was adopted and which is a good document. But we gave this example in order to illustrate a principle. A war is being conducted by a fraternal socialist country and that is not a “business as usual” issue, it is an issue that touches upon our vital interests; certainly, in the first place those of Vietnam but, at the same time, the interests of the entire socialist system. Given that, in such a problem, the Vietnamese must be consulted in the first place, and in the problems that regard our interests, everyone’s interests, all of the socialist countries [must be consulted as well.] If each of us acted according to his own whims then where will we be?

Of course, this does not mean that one cannot come with an initiative. We have had, for example, a problem that preoccupies us; we came to discuss it with you. Certainly, you have a certain view on a certain aspect, and we another view. But a certain form of coordination is necessary, of acting jointly. We are speaking of principles in the resolution of problems that touch upon our vital interests; it is about the principles, the methods in the relations between our countries.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  We are not only in agreement with what you have said, we consider it an extremely important thing and we have every motive to know how important it is.

The action that you have undertaken has the aim of helping us, of constituting a contribution to our victory, which is also your victory. We thank you for this principled position, for this principle of behavior.

First, we should see what could help us. This presupposes that everyone coordinate with us. Given that your action regards us in the first place, we consider it welcome, because it is in the sense of attaining our objectives and aims. You see why we are in agreement with you on the necessity of the different forms of consultation, in order to see the best methods. For this an international conference is not necessarily needed. It would not dictate our internationalist duty to us.

Given that, we consider that it is good also to discuss in the future the problems that interest both us and you, in order to use the means of which we dispose in the best conditions.

You have spoken about the declaration of comrade Liu Sao-Tsi regarding the Geneval Accords. We discussed this with our Chinese comrades. They agree with us that the Geneva Accords must be maintained. They agree with us because they understand that the Geneva Accords are fundamental for us. They explained to us that if sometimes they take certain liberties, they do it only for propagandistic aims, valuable for a certain situation.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Excuse me, I’ve grown old, my temples are gray, but I do not understand this rationale.

The Americans are not part of the Geneva Accords. They did not sign these accords, they have not assumed their obligations and thus they can contest these accords.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  Not only did they not sign them, they even sabotaged them.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  But if there is a representative of a socialist country who says to “no longer preserve the Geneva Accords,” the Americans will easily come and say: If you can do without the accords that you have signed, what do you want us to do with them?

The Geneva Accords are international accords. It makes no difference whether someone signed them or not, if they are accepted by someone or not; they must be respected because the interested parties at their conclusion have signed them. These things must be seen as they are because otherwise we could wake to some rather nasty surprises. We cannot permit juridical fantasies ad infinitum. We must proceed with great attention because there are certain things that can be turned against us.

Take, for example, the declaration of Tito. I talked personally with Tito and I had the impression that he also understood that it was not called for to present publicly the ideas in which I presume he sincerely believes, because, publicly expressing such a position means [not] to give a certain material assist to the Vietnamese but to support, from the political perspective, Johnson. We said this to Tito. I personally spoke with him. He asked me: “But who is doing this?” I responded to him that everyone who adopts such position, even if they do not say so publicly but they say it on the occasion of private talks with Americans or with other non-socialist countries, that is, with countries that are not interested in a victorious end of the war in our favor. Even if you do not say these things publicly but you say them in discussion with an American ambassador or minister, it is the same thing.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  You know our position in this regard. Tito did something very dangerous. The Belgrade declaration of the non-aligned states was a stab in the back. Now he again tries to do the same thing. Given that, we are very vigilant in regard to these issues, which we consider shady and very dangerous.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  I think that the orientation of Nasser is good. I do not know what he is thinking in his heart of hearts about the possibilities for resolving the Vietnamese problem, however, I have the impression that he does not want to anger the Chinese.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  That is possible.

They understand our position, because the struggle against imperialism is inseparable from their struggle. However, they cannot support exactly our opinions. Given that, they find certain means to do something and they try to reconcile the irreconcilable. We know of their attempts because they have contacts with us. Up to the present, Nasser has not pronounced himself officially. Unfortunately, there are others who are not so wise.

If you have no other subjects to broach, we could discuss off the cuff, so to speak, without an agenda.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Please.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  What is you opinion about U Thant?

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  The fact that he resigned from the function of UN Secretary General supports our position. Certainly, as a solution for the termination of this war, his position does not seem to me to be the most just. However, the fact that he resigned, among others, because the world is not capable of finding a solution to this problem, is favorable to us, because it underscores the importance of the problem and forces people to some small degree to think more profoundly about this situation.

I consider that in the current moment the Vietnamese problem is the object of preoccupation for the entirety of the international press, not only from the aspect of reportage, of the articles relating diverse facts, but also from the perspective of analyzing the problem. And when the problem is broached in this way, there are many chances to arrive at the truth quickly. I believe that the decision of U Thant to no longer run for the post of UN Secretary General has the advantage of pushing the interest of international public opinion forward on the Vietnamese problem.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  He has not affirmed that he would not go back on his decision.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  He as reaffirmed many times his intention of not running. However, he may reconsider; everything is provisional, there is nothing definitive.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  What do you thing about the three points of his declaration?

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  I cannot say that I have not studied the three points of U Thant’s declaration, although I have not been personally preoccupied with this issue. His way of putting the problem is not absolutely correct.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: In any case, his position is not accepted by the Americans. There are divergences between the positions of U Thant and Goldberg at the UN.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  In any case, the position of U Thant implies first of all the cessation of military operations, which seems to me to be debatable. Here I will tell you my personal opinion. To stop the military operations before having a certain guarantee on the realization of the right of the Vietnamese people to decide their own fate is a rather delicate undertaking.

According to the way in which we have thought about this problem, there is the possibility that the problems could be weighed in such a manner that a solution could be arrived at that truly guarantees the free exercise of this right. At the moment that it is realized, military operations stop and the struggle is continued on diplomatic terrain through the discussion of all of the issues that derive from it. However, in my opinion, military operations must not stop until this guarantee is obtained.

This guarantee must, in the end, result from many circumstances. The existence of this guarantee must not be viewed only in one sense. There are an ensemble of circumstances, which, in the final analysis, could result in the assurance of this right. Nevertheless, so long as this guarantee has not been obtained there are two things to be done. First is to continue the fight and second, to engage in talks in order to arrive at this situation.

Cde. Paul Niculescu-Mizil:  If it is necessary, even with U Thant.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: That is one rationale.

You said that the right to continue the fight until we receive the guarantee that our national rights will be respected belongs to us.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  And at the moment in which you reach this conclusion, you can say: “Look, we conclude an armistice or we embrace on the firing line.”

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  Absolutely right, only that in the international domain we, Vietnamese, have not sought to express in sufficient measure the basis or lack of basis of these things. People confuse certain things.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  And the Americans have an interest that things should be confounded.

Now everyone begins to be afraid of the possible evolution of this crisis and it is very possible that the governments of many countries will give a greater and greater attention to this because, in all of the talks that we have had, people have accorded great attention to this problem. This proves that this preoccupies them; it worries them.

Certainly, there is a sensational aspect. Everyone wants to appear as a kind of messiah, a peacemaker, and many people are tempted to be the initiator of some action. There is, however, in any case, an increasingly pronounced preoccupation for the solution of the problem.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  As I have told you, we, the Vietnamese, we have not done everything we could in order to clarify these things. We consider that it is also the duty of the socialist countries to do this.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  We do this as well. In the last months we have made 4-5 visits abroad and the Vietnamese problem was one of the most debated problems.

If you have any more concrete suggestions about what should be done, please make them. We also seek to imagine all that is possible to do. If you have certain ideas, please tell them to us.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  There is no doubt that this problem must be examined by us in the near future and we should make declarations, we should undertake actions on the international plane. However, at the present moment, when a new escalation of the war is underway, the conditions are not the best, and a fundamental element for us is that the Americans respect the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Discussing this problem with comrade Niculescu-Mizil – and I believe that this will be the opinion of our entire Permanent Presidium, when we give the report of our mission – we thought that, without a doubt, we have to do something. We must intensify the struggle for the cessation of bombing against the D.R. Vietnam. This is not an easy thing but the possibility must be found of explaining the advantage of this cessation. The Americans can say that they have done this thing on their own initiative for a month and that it did not produce anything at all. What are we then to respond to them? This does not mean that there is no possibility to say, as we have: “With what right does one country bomb another independent and sovereign country.”

I have told you this because if there is an apparent legality for the aggression in South Vietnam, there is not even that for the aggression against North Vietnam. We have said to them face-to-face that the aggression of the U.S.A. in Vietnam is an aggression that makes a mockery of the most elementary rules of international law and of justice in general.

Cde. Paul Niculescu-Mizil:  It is possible that we intensify our actions for obtaining the cessation of the bombing of North Vietnam.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Within the debates at the United Nations Organization, we will press the pedal down hard. This is only to create an opinion, because it cannot serve other purposes.

The Americans will say: “Fine, we stop the bombing, but what do you give us in exchange?” Or they will come to the conclusion that there is nothing more to be done. This could happen more rapidly if the armed struggle is artistically combined with the diplomatic struggle. For us the main thing is now to increase the pressure of world public opinion on the United States of America, and the pressure of the American masses on the American government.

You understand that if Johnson will be compelled to abandon Vietnam, then his situation is lost and not only his, but also that of Dean Rusk, McNamara and the others who have advocated this policy. We must win public opinion. The Americans have succeeded in introducing much confusion in public opinion. This is the reason that convinced us to come here and to talk with you about a series of hypotheses.

There are enough people who desire to take a just position. I remember Krag, who said when I was in Copenhagen that he did not understand why the Vietnamese do not want to talk. Of course, I responded, when we were around the table as we are here. I can tell you that he did not spare the Americans in our discussions. He did not say that the Americans are right to intervene in Vietnam. However, for him, in the final analysis, the problem is phrased in this manner: whether in this way a world war breaks out? In order to avoid this, the war must end.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: The Americans seek to reinforce this fear of war. They have the material means, both militarily and propagandistically, in order to do this. It is a point of blackmail, but at the same time, a possibility. I do not know what is true in all of this, because many times you read things in the newspapers that are the fruit of an imaginative journalist. I saw an article in “L’Express” in which it speaks of the possibilities of the U.S.A. in Vietnam; explaining that these possibilities would be remarkable, something that would give the U.S.A. a great freedom of action in other conflicts, even in the case of a conflict with nuclear powers, in the hypothesis when the launching of a nuclear attack is limited. I do not know what is and what is not true in this.

If an atomic bomb is dropped by the U.S.A. in Vietnam will there be a nuclear reaction from the socialist system? Yes or no? Can we raise this issue?

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  I do not know. I can neither say with my hand on my heart that it is not the case nor, even less, that it is so.  Evidently, this is a simple hypothesis. No one knows what would happen then. It depends also on the evolution of the circumstances.

On the occasion of the Political Consultative Council Meeting that took place in Bucharest, the Soviets said at one moment that [Soviet Defense Minister Marshal Rodion] Malinovski will make a presentation on the situation in Vietnam. The moment he began the presentation I left because we had other business. Malinovski spoke about the superiority of the Americans; that the American military operations will increase.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  We were not acquainted with this, but we know that Malinovski is not too sure of the success of our fight in the South.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  He made a presentation in which he explained that the Americans are not using all of the forces of which they dispose and that the correlation of force between the Vietnamese and Americans is favorable to the Americans.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  What was the aim of the presentation?

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  To discuss military problems. He said that he wanted to make a presentation of the situation in Vietnam. Especially as the Vietnamese problem was under discussion, at one moment he said that it is useful to give this briefing on the military situation in Vietnam, for information purposes.

For this reason, I say that greater work must be devoted to assuring a unitary point of view on the Vietnamese problem. This is not an easy thing to do.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  That we know.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  It is very probable that the Soviets have more detailed information on this issue than we have. They can say more precisely what American forces are being used and what forces are at their disposition. About these things we have no knowledge.

From this point of view, the presentation had a strictly military character, with maps, with demonstrations.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  This is conceivable, but we are not in accord with this opinion.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  This is what I also said: If we want to have a complete briefing, lets bring a Vietnamese and, you who are a specialist, you adopt a critical attitude towards his exposition.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  Independent of the personality of Malinovski, who is very important, we are speaking here about an issue of capital importance, about our struggle for national liberation. If he starts from the premise that we can do nothing against the American armed forces then what remains for us to do?

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  There is also something else, from the perspective of the reality of things. We know that here a struggle has developed over a certain period of time. Then we should analyze how this war continues. This is a war with a special character. It is not a game of two constituted armies in which the victory is decided through the defeat of one or another army. It is a completely different war. It is not new in history because similar conflicts have existed in the past, for example in Spain, during the time of Napoleon, in Russia in 1812, and there are also other numerous similar cases. But if one makes such an analysis even from the military perspective, it may be that things do not stand exactly as presented by Malinovski.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  An analysis from the Marxist-Leninist perspective.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  From the strictly military perspective. When the French decided to withdraw from Spain, there were no Marxist-Leninists that advised them, but they withdrew because they could no longer resist. Of course, they had defeated the royal [Spanish] armies, but they found themselves facing the [Spanish] people.

All of these are interesting aspects. There is a great diversity of ideas about the fundamental aspects.

Thus, greater attention must be accorded to this fact in order to furnish these comrades with the data that can assist them in reaching more precise appreciations.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  I agree with you and we will make every effort possible without, however, being sure that we could convert everyone.

I would like to ask you another question with regard to a point of view from yesterday’s presentation.

You said that, even after the departure of the American troops from Vietnam, the Americans would try to maintain their presence. Something of that sort.

Cde I. Gh. Maurer:  Yes, they are disposed even now to abandon Vietnam militarily, with the condition of preserving their presence there politically, because they are convinced that the situation is not ideal for Americans to have military forces in Vietnam. They are not happy with this situation. However, they will resist from the political point of view; that is to say, they will impede the change of the regime convenient to them in South Vietnam. I do not want to say that the U.S.A wants to organize the administration there, however, they do want to realize the [sort of] relations that exist between developed imperialist and undeveloped countries, countries that are led by governments subordinated to them.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  I agree.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Because, from the military perspective, I have the impression that if they reach the conclusion that they have obtained this political situation, they will organize the withdrawal of the troops in 24 hours. The objective of the Americans is not the occupation of South Vietnam. They did this because they had no other possibility. Their aim is to organize a political regime convenient to them there.

Because of this, the problem cannot be set out only from one single point of view. The Vietnamese people must be assured their right to decide their own fate.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  From these observations there is but a single conclusion that is imposed, that which you have said: To allow our people to decide their own fate.

However, the question is, how do we make the Americans leave?

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  There is no other possibility than through the force of arms and the force of the political struggle. Using only military force, it is evident that we diminish considerably our means. In order to make them leave militarily you must have military superiority, and this superiority must be realized over the Americans in order for you to throw them into the sea, and that is a difficult thing. We must associate these two forms of struggle. We should create the conditions necessary to force them to abandon Vietnam since military superiority cannot be assured.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  Such things were seen in Algeria.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Algeria is the most significant example. The same tactic was also used there: They fought, but at the same time, they talked. The Algerians also had the luck that they met with De Gaulle. This man has certain principles. I do not know if the same may be said about Johnson.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  No.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  But the existence of a positive personality is not the decisive issue. That would ease things, but it is not decisive.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  It creates objective conditions.

Cde. Paul Niculescu-Mizil:  And the political forces, the pressure of public opinion.

Cde. Pham Van Dong:  We agree.

Comrades, we consider that our interviews have given results. We understand you well and, I would like to say, in a rather profound manner. I do not dare say more but, nevertheless, we believe that we understand you and we are in agreement with you, with you way of viewing things, with the theses you have supported.

We are glad of this agreement between us, because it is not an easy thing to achieve. We have spoken here of very important matters, which for us are fundamental and which experience, which life has shown us to be so.

I add that for our part, we will profit from everything that was said here. We will think upon these matters and it is very much indicated, even indispensible, that in parallel with the military action we should develop the political and the diplomatic action. However, we must ponder long on this issue. We should examine all of the conditions, and appreciate both the advantages and disadvantages, we should neglect nothing and, on this basis, we should take concrete decisions and initiatives. We should take the offensive. This is a factor of victory.

We thank you for coming; we thank you very much, because you have made this long journey. We appreciate the entire value of this gesture, which constitutes the expression of our solidarity, the expression of our relations, our rationale for being and for fighting. I thank you.

The best way of thanking you is to take seriously all that you have said to us – the object and the result of your reflections. I say all of this in my quality as a communist. We are determined to win this war. This matter is vital for us; there is no other solution. It is a matter of our national independence, of our most sacred national rights. Our people are a proud people. We must win this victory by every means possible, with the help of all of our friends, thus with your help. We will accord the greatest attention to the fight in the international arena and in the diplomatic domain, which we will develop.

I will profit now from your presence here in order, in the name of our government and people, to express our sentiments of gratitude to you, for the economic and military assistance that you have offered us, on the basis of the accord concluded on the occasion of the visit to Romania of our delegation led by cde. Le Thanh Nghi. I thank you once again. It is a generous assistance. In comparison with the size of your country is a tremendous assistance. We find ourselves at war and we have need of your help. Given that, we are glad that you have offered us this help, the discussions that we have carried out were very fruitful, very easy and if I recall all of these matters it is in order to profit from the occasion to thank you and to express our sentiments to you.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  Romania does everything that is possible because we consider it a duty of solidarity. It does everything it can and it will do everything it can do in the future as well.

Cde. Pham Van Dong: Tomorrow you leave; you will see the Chinese comrades as well.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  We hope to do so, because after the discussion with comrade Zhou Enlai, discussions were planned on our return, especially since we have to wait for a day or two while our plane is being repaired. We will have enough time; and we will briefly present what was discussed here.

Cde. Paul Niculescu-Mizil:  We will inform them of the discussions.

Cde. I. Gh. Maurer:  We will do the same in Moscow as well, where we will discuss it, although more summarily, because we will again have the occasion to meet with the Soviet comrades. I believe that we will receive a visiting party and governmental delegation of the USSR, the visit is to take place as a response to the visit made by us last year. On this occasion we will have the opportunity to further discuss this problem as well.

The discussions ended at 1700 hours.

8.X.1966

127/1966 October 2-3, 1966

[1] For discussion of the Polish proposal see Documents 8-10, 12-13 above.

[2] The Hungarian proposal was presented during János Kádár’s official visit to Romania (May 10-11, 1966). ANR, Fond CC al PCR, Secţia Relaţii Externe, dosar 19/1966, f. 1-83.

[3] Minutes of the Romanian Party Politburo Meeting, Report on the PCC Meeting by the General Secretary of the PCR (Nicolae Ceauseşcu), July 12, 1966; Minutes of the Hungarian Politburo Session – Report on the PCC Meeting by the First Secretary of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party (János Kádár), July 12, 1966, http://www.php.isn.ethz.ch

[4] Phillipe Deaillier, “The Key To Peace Is In Washington,” Le Monde, September 18, 1966

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