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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 30, 1965


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    Ben Bella shares his views on the revolutionary situation in Africa, particularly developments in the Congo.
    "Cable from the Chinese Delegation in Algeria to the Foreign Ministry, 'Main Points of Conversation with Ben Bella '," March 30, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 203-00651-03, 99-101. Translated by Stephen Mercado.
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Ministry of Foreign Affairs Telegram Received

Level   Extra Urgent    
Received from Algeria Desk
Foreign Ministry Incoming (65) Mao No. 60

Main Points of Conversation with Ben Bella

Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

In a conversation on the afternoon of 30 March, Ben Bella made the following main points:

1. Africa since the Second Conference of Non-Aligned Countries has entered a new period, the major characteristic of which is the United States expanding aggression in Africa in supporting Tshombe, directly using force, and adopting something resembling the “escalation” carried out in south Vietnam.

2. There are positive and negative factors the development of the situation in Africa. Positive factors are the fall of [Ibrahim] Abboud’s regime and the establishment of a new government. Algeria has sent 12,000 to 13,000 arms via Sudan to the patriotic forces in Stanleyville. The Congo (L) patriotic armed struggle is holding firm. Negative factors are: neighboring countries of the Congo (L), such as Burundi, have changed, other friendly countries are oppressed and threatened, and imperialism is scheming to change the regimes of these countries or their current policies.

Under the goading of the new colonialism, countries of the former  French “Community” recently met in Mauritania and passed resolutions favorable to [Moise Kapenda] Tshombe (Mauritania played an active role in the conference.). In response to the imperialist plot, Algeria, Mali, and Guinea held a conference in Conakry to strengthen further relations among the three countries (Ghana’s attitude was not so good. It did not participate in the Conakry conference. Ghana has given only moral support to the Congo (Leopoldville) patriotic movement, engaging in no concrete action.).

Ben Bella believes that, in spite of the negative factors, Africa remains in a revolutionary situation at high tide.

3. Ben Bella also stated that the issue of Africa is also that of Algeria, Algeria is determined not to submit to imperialism but to fulfill its responsibilities. However, Algeria’s subjective conditions are limited and Algeria still has to rely on Soviet and Chinese aid. Algeria is grateful to China for providing aircraft and steamers.

4. Ben Bella stated that the issues facing the various factions of the Congolese (Leopoldville) patriotic forces are unity and the establishment of a politically, militarily, and organizationally united front. Algeria’s position is to encourage these alliances. It is not to encourage them to oppose one another. Whoever obtains power in the end depends on who is a truly revolutionary force.

In addition, Ben Bella also mentioned:  

1) Relations with France. Algeria and France are negotiating a new agreement to do away with the Evian Accords, and its signing is expected in May. Relations between Algeria and France will improve because of this. However, France remains an important competitor of Algeria and holds an important place in Algeria’s foreign policy. 2) Algeria’s unconditional support of the Arab countries against Israel. Ben Bella expressed his gratitude for China’s consistent support of the just position of the Arab cause. 3) Generalization of relations between Algeria and Morocco. Because Morocco recently executed 14 persons by firing squad, there have been demonstrations in Morocco and the conference between Algeria and Morocco that had been scheduled for the 28th has been postponed. 4) The Asian-African Conference. He indicated that he was willing to hear the Premier’s views and purely material reasons for postponing the session. It is presently scheduled for 29 June, which will not change.

The Premier spoke of the situation in Southeast Asia and explained the reality of the Vietnam issue, expressed his firm support for the struggle for liberation in Vietnam, and exposed the “Peace Talks” plot. In addition, he also clarified China’s position on the United Nations.

[Chinese] Delegation [in Algeria]

31 March 1965

(Authority to issue on 1 April)