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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 13, 1963

CABLE FROM THE CCPCC INTERNATIONAL LIAISON DEPARTMENT AND THE FOREIGN MINISTRY, 'KEY POINTS OF THE CONVERSATION FROM CHAIRMAN OF THE CCP CC COMRADE MAO ZEDONG’S RECEPTION OF THE SOVIET AMBASSADOR TO CHINA COMRADE CHERNOVENKO'

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    Mao Zedong discusses the relationship between China and the Soviet Union and the debate between the two Parties, proposes a meeting for fraternal discussion, and commits to countering Western imperialism.
    "Cable from the CCPCC International Liaison Department and the Foreign Ministry, 'Key Points of the Conversation from Chairman of the CCP CC Comrade Mao Zedong’s Reception of the Soviet Ambassador to China Comrade Chernovenko'," March 13, 1963, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 109-03861-03, 13-17. Translated by David Cowhig. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/123881
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Soviet and Eastern European Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Division × #4

March 4, 1963

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Top Secret Telegram

Approved by Wu Xiuquan and Zeng Yongquan

Sent See headers, Outgoing (63) B-Yin-692

Priority: Very Urgent

For the Party committees of embassies and offices abroad. Notify comrades at various missions to international organizations: (Top Secret)

The Chairman hereby transmits to you the key points of his conversation with Chervoenko on February 23 for internal research.

Central Committee International Liaison Department

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

March 13, 1963

Key Points of the Conversation from Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China Comrade Mao Zedong’s Reception of the Soviet Ambassador to China Comrade Chernovenko

On February 22, 1963, the Soviet ambassador passed along a letter from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on February 21.

On February 23, Comrade Mao Zedong met with the Soviet ambassador.

In his conversation with the Soviet ambassador, Comrade Mao Zedong discussed the letter from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and expressed the views of the Chinese Party on the current debate between the fraternal parties.

Comrade Mao Zedong first said that he welcomed the letter from the Central Committee of the CPSU. He believed that the attitude of this letter was basically good and reflected a spirit of consultation on an equality. But there are still some areas in which we hold different opinions.

Comrade Mao Zedong was extremely dissatisfied that Comrade Khrushchev, at the German Party Congress, proposed ending the debate, while he himself has had made personal public criticism of the Chinese party and other fraternal parties in public debate.

Recently, the CPSU published four articles criticizing the Chinese party, two of which were speeches by Comrade Khrushchev and two Pravda editorials. We published these four articles to let the Chinese people know the views of the CPSU. We will also publish articles from the French Communist Party and the Italian Communist Party that criticize the Chinese Communist Party. Now, forty-three parties openly criticize us. This criticism is normal. Criticism is right, it should be criticized; if the criticism is not right, then there is nothing to worry about. We all reserve the right to answer these criticisms.

Comrade Mao Zedong told the Soviet ambassador that the Chinese party is preparing to publish three articles, not to criticize the CPSU, but to criticize the comrades of the French, Italian and United States communist parties. The Chinese party is not responding to the four articles from the CPSU for the time being.

Comrade Mao Zedong pointed out that the Chinese party first proposed, before the opening of the 22nd Congress of the CPSU, not to hold an open debate. Recently, at the congresses of five fraternal parties several dozen parties openly and by name attacked the Chinese party. This is very good. It places the issue before the people of the world, before Communists all over the world, and before the imperialists and the reactionaries.

Comrade Mao Zedong asked would it be possible for the Chinese party’s article be published in the publications of the forty-three fraternal parties that attacked the Chinese party, modeled after the Chinese party’s approach, so that they could comment on the Chinese party's points and have a frank debate.

Comrade Mao Zedong believes that this debate is not a terrible thing. The sky won't collapse.

Comrade Mao Zedong pointed out that the main issue in this debate is how to properly understand Marxism-Leninism and how to understand the Moscow Declaration and Statement.

Mao Zedong then discussed a proposal to hold a meeting for brotherly conversations. Comrade Mao Zedong pointed out that the Chinese Communist Party's letter to the CPSU in late April proposed halting public attacks, suggested a meeting, and created a good atmosphere for such a meeting. However, this most recent letter from the CPSU only mentioned the letter of the CPSU to the Chinese Communist Party of last May. It makes it appear that the initiative to stop the attack and propose meetings invent the meeting belongs was originated by Moscow and that Beijing played no part in it. In fact, the Chinese and Soviet parties can only claim a small part of the credit. The first to propose this were the Indonesian, Vietnamese and New Zealand parties.

Speaking to the issues of Albania and Yugoslavia, Comrade Mao Zedong pointed out that there are twelve countries in the socialist camp. Without an international conference, no one can expel Albania. As for Yugoslavia, at the meeting of the fraternal parties of 81 countries, it was determined that Yugoslavia has betrayed Marxism-Leninism. The Chinese party has down to the present been acting according to that resolution. The Chinese party believes that the conclusions of fraternal parties of the 81 countries with respect to Yugoslavia is well-founded.

Comrade Mao Zedong mentioned that the passage in the letter from the CPSU states that "Whether we can move ahead together as a team ... depends on us, depends on our party, depends on whether our policies are correct". He said that the Chinese party with this statement. Indeed, whether we can move forward as a team in the future is an issue. As for saying that we are being dragged into a serious and unnecessary competition, that is going a bit too far. The struggle is not so arduous and this struggle is non unnecessary. No. If it was unnecessary, why then did the CPSU publish two speeches and two editorials articles? Why did forty-three parties openly attack the Chinese party by name? This kind of struggle is always necessary!

The letter from the CPSU stated: "If we cannot find the courage and strength to overcome the differences according to the principles of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism, then future generations will not forgive us." Comrade Mao Zedong pointed out that this passage is quite correct. Don't wait until future generations fail to forgive us, the masses of today will not forgive us. We have the courage and strength to overcome differences. As long as we have the courage and strength to quarrel, we will also have the courage and strength to the strength and courage to resolve our differences and achieve unity.

The letter from the CPSU mentions that "our two parties have the obligation to find a way out of the current situation and to bravely and firmly remove obstacles to our friendship. This is the only way that Marxists can and should follow." Comrade Mao Zedong said: This is very good. The Chinese Party fully agrees, but this is still only a document. Action is needed.

The letter also addressed the issue of a time and place for talks between the Soviet and Chinese parties. I once asked the Soviet ambassador whether Comrade Khrushchev could make a stop in China for talks between our two parties during his trip to Cambodia. If that is not convenient, the Chinese party could send a delegation to Moscow for talks. However, Comrade Mao Zedong himself is not prepared to go to Moscow, because the main person in charge there often scolds him so it is better that he keeps a little distance. The Chinese party asks the CPSU to consider this proposal.

Comrade Mao Zedong told the Soviet ambassador that the Chinese party will reply to the letter from the Central Committee of the CPSU within two weeks.

Finally, Comrade Mao Zedong also talked about some of his views that big troubles are arising in the relationships between the current imperialist countries. He pointed out that not only is France quarreling with the United States, but the fact that West Germany is standing behind France. The contradiction between Britain and the United States is not serious. The contradiction between Japan and the United States is now beginning to sharpen. What we are talking about is not only the contradiction between the Japanese people and the US imperialists, but also the dissatisfaction the Japanese monopoly capitalists have with the US monopoly capitalists. These are indirectly allied troops. Their quarrels are good for us. We are now coming together. We can solve the problem of our disagreements. Well, we'll resolve as much as we can for now and push the rest down the road a bit so that we can make the deadlock that now confronts us less serious.

The Soviet ambassador did not speak much during the entire conversation. When the Albanian issue came up, he said that certainly Albania has not been expelled from the socialist family. It is a member of the socialist family. Regarding the question of who will participate in the future fraternal party meeting, he said that it will be decided by the fraternal parties. It seems that Albania will participate in the meeting like other fraternal parties. As for the issue of Yugoslavia’s participation in the meeting, he also believes that through consultations among the fraternal parties of various countries, it will be resolved through consultations with the Chinese party and other parties. He also said that although the Yugoslav issue is important, it is not one of the main issues. It can be one of the major issues discussed. Finally, the ambassador said that he would pass along the ideas of the Chinese party to the Central Committee of the CPSU.

International Liaison Department note: This record is subject to the approval of the Chairman, Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping and other responsible comrades of the Central Committee. This article before being issues shared with the Central Committees of the fraternal parties of Algeria, DPRK, Vietnam, and Indonesia. The Chinese Ambassador to the Soviet Union Comrade Pan Zili was also informed.