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November 8, 1986

Cable No. 3028, Foreign Minister to Ambassador Nakae, 'The Prime Minister’s Visit to China (The Meeting with Chairman Deng - Views on Marxism)'















Received at 12:48:15, November 10, 1986


Drafted on November 8, 1986


Primary: Director General of Asian Bureau approved


               Director of China Division approved


From: Foreign Minister

To: Ambassador to China


Title: “The Prime Minister’s Visit to China: The Meeting with Chairman Deng: Views on Marxism”


Cable No. 3028


Secret, Urgent




The Prime Minister said when we met two and a half years ago, the Chairman said that the hardest time for Deng had been when he had entered the cowshed during the Cultural Revolution, and the happiest time had been when he had defeated the Kuomintang. When the Prime Minister asked him what the most important key for him as a politician, would it be, perhaps, personnel matters, Deng said (misunderstanding the question) that personnel matters were, indeed, his own. He is thinking about retirement as he becomes [illegible] 82 years old, but facing difficulty with many opposition.


When asked further by the Prime Minister on this subject, Mr. Deng said:


It is the unity of the people. It is only with a firm belief that we can be united. A belief is not the belief of two people, but the belief that everyone has. When we defeated the Kuomintang, the Kuomintang had an elite force of 400 men equipped with U.S. weapons, whereas we had no planes, no artillery, and no weapons factories. The point is the human element. Such a person is not an ordinary person, but a person with firm beliefs.


(The Prime Minister asked whether Marxism-Leninism should be seen as changing in a creative way, even though the times have changed after 100 years, or whether the changes up to now are what Marx and Lenin said from the beginning.) Marxism-Leninism must develop. We have never once dogmatized Marxism-Leninism. We won by linking the principles of Marxism-Leninism to the current situation in China. For example, the idea of "encircling the city from rural areas" is not in the original Marxism-Leninism. We adhere to Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought. Some of them will be inherited and some will be developed. We can adhere to Marxism-Leninism only when it is developed into Marxism-Leninism with Chinese characteristics. There is no such thing as a center for the international communist movement, and I don't subscribe to the "big families" either. Go on your own.


We emphasize that the Chinese should have the "Four Haves," that is, ideals, morals, culture and discipline, but the most important of these are ideals and discipline, and we educate our youth in this way. Young people worship the so-called "freedom" of the West, but they don't know what freedom is. They have to know discipline. Without the ideal and the discipline, nothing is accomplished. Some good things in the Western system are not accepted as they are due to the inferior cultural background of China. The conditions for a general election, for example, have not been set up in China, and it may be possible to hold it in 20 or 30 years, and I'm not opposed to the general election itself, but I can't do it now.


[Cable] relayed to the [Japanese diplomatic missions in] Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.


This cable provides an assessment of Chairman Deng focusing on this past successes and what he might do before he retires.

Document Information


2017-0638, Act on Access to Information Held by Administrative Organs, published online by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, January 12, 2017. Transcribed and translated by Yamaguchi Shinji.


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