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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 01, 1970

EMBASSY OF THE GDR IN THE PR CHINA, 'NOTE ABOUT THE CLUB MEETING OF THE AMBASSADORS AND ACTING AMBASSADORS OF THE GDR, MONGOLIA, CZECHOSLOVAKIA, THE SOVIET UNION, BULGARIA, POLAND, AND HUNGARY ON 28 AUGUST 1970 IN THE EMBASSY OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA'

This document was made possible with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)

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    Socialist bloc diplomats analyze the latest developments in China's foreign and domestic policies.
    "Embassy of the GDR in the PR China, 'Note about the Club Meeting of the Ambassadors and Acting Ambassadors of the GDR, Mongolia, Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Poland, and Hungary on 28 August 1970 in the Embassy of Czechoslovakia'," September 01, 1970, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PA AA, C 1364/74. Translated by Bernd Schaefer. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/209148
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Embassy of the GDR in the PR China

Beijing, 1 September 1970

Note

about the Club Meeting of the Ambassadors and Acting Ambassadors of the GDR, Mongolia, Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Poland, and Hungary on

28 August 1970 in the Embassy of Czechoslovakia

On Domestic Issues

According to the Ambassador of Mongolia, changes in foreign policy are also leading to changes in propaganda directed at the Chinese people. About a month ago, the instruction had gone out one will now have to deal with foreign policy issues. The line of argumentation was about like this: foreign policy relations of the PR China are on the rise, especially with the DPRK and Romania. Many foreign delegations are visiting the PR China. The foreign trade volume is increasing as well. During the "Cultural Revolution” foreigners were sometimes badly treated, now this is no longer warranted. According to rumors, they are even said to have used the argument that all foreigners are guests of Mao.

According to observations by Czechoslovak transit travelers, life in border areas of Heilongjiang Province appear quiet and normal. In the region of Inner Mongolia there is apparently a lot of construction going on. Probably people from other regions are settled here, because the train stations are packed with civilians. The Army is now replaced at train stations by members of the People’s Militia who, among else, are doing identity checks there.

After a hiatus of many months, it is said that on 18 July 1970 there was a public show trial in Shanghai again, where also some death sentences were handed down.

Concerning the subject of convening the National People’s Conference, the Chinese side said at a film and cocktails event of the Soviet Embassy for the members of the Chinese [border] negotiation delegation (during a river cruise): Preparations [for the Conference] are underway. This is a complicated question. A date for the opening has not yet been determined.

Regarding the festivities planned for the Chinese National Holiday on 1st of October, the Chinese side explained there will be a manifestation held. As far as participation of foreign delegations is concerned, there do not exist any concrete plans yet.

On agriculture, the Chinese side said they are expecting a very good summer harvest this year. The main mission is to increase crop yields and improve their quality.

According to observations by the Hungarian and Mongolian comrades, currently a part of Chinese embassy employees in the foreign representations here [in Beijing] are replaced by army members who earn a so-called guaranteed salary and are tasked with monitoring the other Chinese employees. There are tensions occurring between both groups.

The Mongolian Ambassador reported that during the “Cultural Revolution” many experienced medical doctors were pushed out of their positions. However, a new generation of doctors still does not yet possess sufficient experience. An indication is the outbreak of several diseases, for instance Schistosomiasis[1], especially in the countryside. For that reason, doctors are now sent to the countryside with priority.    

On Foreign Policy Issues

Trip by Zhou Enlai

The Czechoslovak Ambassador reported, according to rumors Zhou Enlai will visit the following countries after the 1st of October: Romania, Albania, Tanzania, Zambia, People’s Republic of Congo, South Yemen, Sudan, and a stopover in Pakistan. The official reason is said to be the inauguration of the new air corridor China, Pakistan, Albania, Tanzania.

According to information from the Congolese Ambassador, Zhou Enlai’s travel is to be expanded to 11 countries.

PR China - United Nations

The Czechoslovak Ambassador is thinking that a couple of African countries are noticing indications that the PR China is again seriously interested in a [U.N.] membership. At receptions, the Chinese side repeatedly thanked some countries for their support in the United Nations. This year the Chinese side has not yet directly criticized the U.N. but only went against its abuse [by superpowers].

It can be expected that the Central African Republic will vote for China’s accession this year.

Before his travel to the U.N., the Norwegian Ambassador was received by Deputy Foreign Minister Luo Guibo[2] who showed major interest in details of practical work of U.N. delegations.

PR China - Soviet Union

According to the Soviet Ambassador, the Chinese Foreign Minister has handed a protest note to him. It is a protest against an article in “Sovetskaya Rossiya” dealing with the winning of new [fertile or habitable] space on islands close to the Soviet border.

PR China - Czechoslovakia (Occupation of Cambodian Embassy in Prague by Students Supporting Sihanouk[3])

The Czechoslovak Ambassador reported about the situation in context of the occupation of the Cambodian Embassy in Prague by Cambodian student sympathizers of Sihanouk, and the defection of 2nd Secretary Ghanty (employee of the Lon Nol[4] Embassy) to the students. He [Czechoslovak Ambassador] assessed that events in Prague and their timing were anything but accidental. There are supposed to draw attention to existence and activities of Sihanouk’s [Beijing exile] government. Furthermore they want to establish direct contacts between the government of Czechoslovakia and the FUNK[5] Government. At best, they want to achieve de jure recognition. (see Sihanouk’s telegrams to the President of Czechoslovakia).

Apparently the timing had been coordinated with the Chinese side. Though there is no evidence for this. What is clear: after the events became known, the Chinese side immediately got involved. The Cambodian FUNK Foreign Minister was extremely well informed about all occurrences in Prague, even about steps undertaken by the Chinese Embassy and the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

On 20 August at 6:00 AM the Czechoslovak Ambassador was called into the Chinese Foreign Ministry to receive a protest against the obstruction of activities of Chinese diplomats [in Prague].  At noon the same day, Radio Beijing already reported about this, and on 21 August an article on the same subject appeared on the first page of “Renmin Ribao”. All that is extremely unusual.

A representative from the DRV [Democratic Republic of Vietnam] Embassy in Prague demanded in the Foreign Ministry of Czechoslovakia on instructions from his government [in Hanoi]:

1. the Czechoslovak Government should take the side of Ghanty;

2. it should at least recognize the existence of the Embassy of FUNK;

3. it should regard the events as an internal matter of Cambodia;

4. it should allow diplomats from the DRV Embassy to enter the Cambodian Embassy grounds.     

Also, a Deputy Foreign Minister of the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] received the Czechoslovak Ambassador [in Pyongyang] and raised similar demands.

Representatives of the National Front of Czechoslovakia declared, they are willing to negotiate about a representation of the FUNK Government and the provision of according office space if the Cambodian students and Ghanty will leave the Embassy. Otherwise the existing laws of Czechoslovakia will apply.

According to a report from AFP[6], Ghanty and the Cambodian students left the territory of the Lon Nol Embassy in Prague on the 1st of September.

VR China - Poland

The Polish Ambassador informed that, at the occasion of a dinner [in Beijng] for the new Chinese Ambassador in Warsaw, neither the latter nor Deputy Foreign Minister Qiao Guanhua[7] engaged in any attacks on the Treaty[8] between the Soviet Union and West Germany. Both just stated that the current situation is very interesting, one just has to remain vigilant. So far they also evaded to share an assessment of the treaty towards the Soviet comrades. The Albanian attack has remained a singular event.

Indochina

According to information by the Bulgarian Ambassador, an employee of the DRV Embassy told Bulgarian comrades that compromises with American imperialism are inflicting damaged on the international revolutionary movement. In light of the current international situation, an active struggle against American imperialism is warranted. He was of the opinion that the DPRK should send guerrilla fighters to South Vietnam. Also, he demanded the GDR should unleash guerrilla activity in West Germany.

He was of the opinion that the Palestine Question cannot be resolved by political means.

He did not agree with the “Cultural Revolution”, especially with the treatment and elimination of cadres during the course of the “Cultural Revolution”.

He advocated for a non-interference in internal affairs and referred to Chinese interference in Indonesia as a negative example in this regard. Also, he rejected such interference with the resolution of the Indochina problem. In his opinion, the South Vietnam question has to be resolved first. Then one can solve the complexes of Laos and Cambodia. The Laos issue is not difficult, Laos is in many ways already in the hands of the liberation movement. The liberation forces have de facto assumed power in large territories. The only question is to which forces specifically they should hand over power.

PR China - DRV   

According to reports from Bulgarian comrades traveling [to China] from the DRV, the new Chinese tactics vis-a-vis the DRV are very dangerous. The Chinese are very active in Hanoi. The economic situation in the country is difficult, economic plans do not get fulfilled, one still is in need of 1,700,000 tons of grain this year.

In May and June a Chinese economic delegation had visited Hanoi. Another delegation flew to Hanoi on the 6th of August, its leader has the rank of a Minister. Many Chinese specialists have been honored with high Vietnamese awards.

PR China - some African States

The Congolese Ambassador told the Bulgarian Ambassador: Congo is a socialist country that embarks on a new and difficult path. Therefore it is in need of support - and as soon as possible. Differences between the socialist countries are also having negative impacts on aid for the African states. They are getting referred from one group to the next without receiving concrete support.

Changes in PRC foreign policy towards some Arab and African countries are of strategic nature, according to the opinions of the Congolese Ambassador.

The Congolese Ambassador told the Bulgarian Ambassador his opinion that the appointment of a Chinese Foreign Minister will be immediately upcoming. Currently a state of developments has been reached, where you simply no longer can operate without a Foreign Minister. He did not name any names.

Visit of the Ming Tombs by Employees of Foreign Representations

The Hungarian Ambassador reported that the Hungarian comrades received permission to visit the Ming Tombs [outside Beijing]. However, once they were there, they were received by army members who alleged not to have been informed about the visit. They demanded from the Hungarian comrades to have a look at nature, because the tombs are closed.

On the same subject the Czechoslovak Ambassador informed that a Czechoslovak request to visit the Ming Tombs with non-diplomatic employees got rejected.

The Soviet comrades as well received a negative response to a respective oral request.

PLA [People’s Liberation Army]

From Hong Kong sources, we have learned that on 11 June 1970 an assassination took place in Guangzhou against the commander of the Guangzhou Air Force and 11 other high-ranking military officers.

On Foreign Trade of the PR China

The Czechoslovak Ambassador informed about an article in the “Japan Times” from 8 August 1970.

According to that, the overall volume of PRC foreign trade for this year will amount to 4.5 billion Dollar. (1966: 4,417,000,000; 1968: 3,720,000,000; 1969: 3,871,000,000).

Trade between Japan and the PRC reached 426,500,000 Dollar during the first half of this year. This is an increase by 77 percent compared to the same period last year. It is certain that the overall volume this year will reach the new record of 800 million Dollar. In 1969 there was an increase of Chinese exports to Western countries by 12.3 percent, while trade with the Soviet Union declined by 40 percent to 45,990,000 Dollar.

The share of capitalist countries in the PR China’s foreign trade increased in 1969 to 78 percent, of which Japan represented 16 percent.     

PR China - DRV - Poland

The DRV requested from the PR Poland an additional delivery of trucks, dump trucks, dredgers and excavators exceeding the [agreed trade agreement] contingent. The Chinese Committee for Economic Relations and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are currently reviewing this issue. The Chinese side wants to declare those deliveries to be civilian, what will raise the question of transportation costs.[9]

PR China - South Yemen

According to an official statement from the government of South Yemen, the latter is receiving from the PR China 43.2 million Dollar for economic projects (among else for a textile factory, 450 kilometers of road construction, for a dry dock, and for fishery vessels). Furthermore, there are agreements over the training of South Yemeni guerrillas in China and the sending of Chinese military instructors to South Yemen. The latter are supposed to decide what kind of weaponry is needed.

According to unofficial information by the Soviet Acting Ambassador, the overall support for South Yemen does amount to 200 million Yuan.

PR China - Hungary (Chinese Delegation to a Hungarian Agricultural Fair)

On 15 August a Chinese government delegation, consisting of two members with the newly appointed Ambassador being its leader, departed for the Hungarian Agricultural Fair. This is the first agricultural delegation visiting a socialist country after the “Cultural Revolution”.

PR China - Romania

According to an information by an employee of the Romanian Embassy, the Socialist Republic of Romania is receiving from the PR China 3,000 tons of frozen pork as disaster aid.

Signed [Jäger]

Karin Jäger.

CC:

1. [GDR] Foreign Ministry, Far East Department (2x)

2. Embassy [Beijing]

[1] A disease caused by parasitic flatworms which infect the urinary tract or the intestines.

[2] 1907-1995. In 1970 Deputy Foreign Minister of the PR China.

[3] Norodom Sihanouk (1922-2012), in 1970 deposed former Prime Minister of Cambodia and Cambodian opposition leader in exile with residence in Beijing.

[4] 1913-1985. 1966/1967 and 1969-1971 Prime Minister, 1972-1975 President of Cambodia.

[5] Front Uni National du Kampuchea (National United Front of Kampuchea), the political arm of Sihanouk’s Cambodian exile government in Beijing. A coalition of Sihanouk’s supporters and the Khmer Rouge.

[6] Agence France Press, a French news agency.

[7] 1913-1983. In 1970 Deputy Foreign Minister of the PR China.

[8] Signed on 12 August 1970 in Moscow.

[9] China did not charge third countries for shipments of military equipment to Vietnam through its territory.