October 9, 1964
Conversation between Comrade Beqir Balluku and Comrade Mao Zedong on 9 October 1964
This document was made possible with support from The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Conversation between comrade Beqir Balluku and comrade Mao Zedong on 9 October 1964
Comrade Mao Zedong: How did the meetings go? Did you finish?
Comrade Beqir Balluku: Very well. We did finish.
Comrade Mao Zedong: It seems to me that maybe you did not finish entirely. Your conversations with us are, of course, nothing like those with Khrushchev.
Comrade Beqir Balluku: No doubt. There can be no comparison. Our conversations are of a friendly nature. They are sincere and in the spirit of Marxism-Leninism.
Comrade Mao Zedong: The world is changing to the advantage of revolution and to the detriment of revisionism, imperialism, and reactionaries in various countries. The revisionists, the imperialists, and the international reaction are plotting conspiracies against us. They want to defeat us. What do you think - will they succeed?
Comrade Beqir Balluku: No!
Comrade Mao Zedong: We will defeat them. From Bucharest and until now, there have been changes. Haven’t there?
Comrade Beqir Balluku: Yes, the revisionists have been unmasked. Our forces have multiplied.
Comrade Mao Zedong: At the 22nd Congress, Khrushchev attacked you and banished Stalin’s corpse. He is a dog that gnashes its teeth but does not bite. What do you think — is Khrushchev more powerful now, or weaker?
Comrade Beqir Balluku: He has been unmasked and brought down.
Comrade Mao Zedong: So we are in agreement. He has tens of parties supporting him, but they don’t have unity. The revisionists are divided, just as the imperialists, and so this situation favors revolution and disfavors them. If the imperialists were united, if those tens of parties ruled by revisionists and the international reaction were united, like [former Indian prime minister Jawaharlal] Nehru, or Chiang Kai-shek, or [the former president of the Republic of Vietnam] Ngô Đình Diệm of South Vietnam, the situation would not look like it does today. We learned that Ngô Đình Diệm has gone to meet his maker. Did you kill him? Or did we? Or did Ho Chi Minh?
Comrade Beqir Balluku: He was killed by the people’s revolt.
Comrade Mao Zedong: Kennedy killed him, through his pro-American elements and then the American king of oil killed Kennedy. What do you think — do de Gaulle and the United States share common viewpoints?
Comrade Beqir Balluku: No, they have contradictions.
Comrade Mao Zedong: I think that all of Europe has contradictions and divergences with American imperialism. We should encourage and push the European and Japanese imperialists to go to war against America. We have said this since 1949. At the time, some Soviet comrades disagreed on this point. In 1952, in “Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR,” comrade Stalin argued two things:
1) On domestic issues, he said that if there is no good coordination between the economic base and the superstructure, it’s possible that there might be no unity between them, whereas earlier in the party’s history, they had said that they are one. He has laid out well this thesis, in a dialectical manner.
2) He spoke about the national question and brought up the issue of the how the future of the states defeated in the Second World War would look like, like Germany, Japan, and Italy. What would their future be? Would they fight, in the future, against the USSR or America? He says that they will fight against America. But America also directs its arrow against these states. If they were to fight with the Soviet Union, then this brings up the issue of the existence of one regime or not. If they fight amongst them, that is something different, because states with the same kinds of regimes fight for the division of colonies and spheres. He said that the defeated states would rise against America after a few years. In recent years, we have studied this work. He has taken the example of Hitler, who at first did not attack the Soviet Union but other European countries. In fact, Japan did not attack the Soviet Union, but Chiang Kai-Shek’s China, America, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaya, and Indonesia, which were colonies of imperialism. There is no harmony amongst the capitalists.
Comrade Zhou Enlai: They lack unity.
Comrade Mao Zedong: Germany also was a capitalist country but it attacked France at first, England, the Czechs, Belgium, Denmark, and so on. This is what has happened during the world wars. So, during the Second World War, England, France, and America joined forces with the Soviet Union against Hitler. This shows how dogs eat dogs. Sometimes it happens that dogs get along better with humans but will eat other dogs. So America, England, France, and the Soviet Union fought against Hitler. England, France, America, and China fought against Japan. This past history teaches us that this also repeats in the future. Modern revisionists, like the older revisionists and the social democrats, will snap each other’s heads off. [Czech-Austrian philosopher and Marxist theoretician Karl Johann] Kautsky voted to attack France whereas the French social democrats voted to fight against Germany. Similarly, the English social democrats supported war against Germany during the Second World War. I am confident that the revisionists will act the same in the future, even though there is currently no war between them. They are not monolithic. What do you think? Will there be a meeting in December?
Comrade Beqir Balluku: Khrushchev has declared that he will hold such a meeting and we think he will actually do it.
Comrade Mao Zedong: There are two possibilities: it may take place or it may not. Even if it does take place, this is a catastrophe for them. If it does not take place, that would be a catastrophe too. But the catastrophe is bigger if they do hold it, as opposed to not holding it. I trust that you will not be taking part? The Romanians are also committed not to participate. For now, seven parties will not participate in the preparatory meeting. We know Khrushchev more or less well. He is the type of man who threatens the weak but fears the strong. His character is similar to the imperialists; when confronted with the strong, he withdraws. Thus, he comes across as a tiger in front of those who are on their knees, but then he turns into a spineless animal in front of those who dare fight back at him. What he has said yesterday, he denies today. We expect him to take all kinds of collective measures, also to cut diplomatic ties, to annul the mutual friendship and assistance treaty, and to engage in an open military attack designed to occupy by force two regions, like Xinjiang and Heilongjiang, and also Inner Mongolia. Can he do this?
Comrade Beqir Balluku: He is capable of doing everything that is despicable but it would be difficult to launch an armed attack act against China. He might continue provoking at the border, move around border posts, but it is not easy to declare war openly.
Comrade Mao Zedong: But there is also the possibility of an open war. We are prepared, just as you are prepared in the event of a war declared by Tito.
Comrade Beqir Balluku: At this political conjuncture, it is difficult for him to go to war against the People’s Republic of China.
Comrade Mao Zedong. We also think this. During our talks about border issues, we made some effort to reach a mutual and reasonable border agreement. There are some people who think that we want back the 1,540,000 square kilometers that the tsar took from us. No, we do not want it. We shot a round but with no actual ammunition, so as to raise their pressure. That is the story. We will not let Khrushchev rest. After we started shooting, he started shooting also. He told a delegation from the Japanese Socialist Party that he has a weapon that can wipe out the whole world, and first and foremost the 650 millions of Chinese. But, after 2-3 days, he denied it, because this made a bad impression, and so he denied having said it three times. This all came as a consequence of the empty rounds we fired. We are preparing for other ones. The Soviet people do not believe his words. They call him a liar.
Our press did not publish my conversation with the leftwing delegation from the Japanese Socialist Party. The Japanese published it. Later, our prime minister will prepare a document and will speak with the Soviet ambassador and then we will also publish it.
This will make Khrushchev tick. This is still a secret because we have not prepared the material yet. In reality, we are not asking that they return those 1,540,000 square kilometers. We have not asked for them. Neither have we asked for the 17,000 square kilometers in which the Autonomous Republic of [Kubinsky] has been created, which they have captured without an agreement. We are friends. How do you say friends in Albanian?
Comrade Beqir Balluku: “Shokë”
Comrade Zhou Enlai: The Albanian language differs from the Latin languages and the other languages. It is independent.
Comrade Mao Zedong: It appears to be different from English too. Since you are our friends, we say this to you, just as we said it to the Koreans, but we have not said it to the Vietnamese yet. Keep it a secret, do not publicize it: Beijing will strike using artillery batteries with no shells. During your stay in Beijing, did you meet with different delegations?
Comrade Beqir Balluku: We met with the Vietnamese, Korean, and Ecuadorian delegations and we spoke about general issues — not about issues such as the ones we are discussing today.
Comrade Mao Zedong: In the future, you will have the chance to speak with [Cambodian royal Norodom] Sihanouk and the leaders of Africa. We did not organize these kinds of meetings for you.
Comrade Beqir Balluku: The comrades organized a meeting with the Ecuadorian delegation, whereas the meetings with the Koreans and the Vietnamese we arranged on our own initiative.
Comrade Mao Zedong: If you had met with the delegations of Africa and Sihanouk, they would have been very pleased. When you return home, please pass my regards to comrades Enver Hoxha, Mehmet Shehu, Hysni Kapo, Ramis Alia, Haxhi Lleshi, etc.
Comrade Beqir Balluku: Thank you.
Comrade Mao Zedong: We should unite.
Comrade Beqir Balluku: We are united.
Comrade Mao Zedong: We should work together in every direction so that we make it harder for the modern revisionists, the imperialists, and the international reaction. This is our principal purpose.
Comrade Beqir Balluku: Thank you for the conversation. I will pass along what you have said to the Central Committee and to comrade Enver Hoxha. We approach relations with the Chinese Communist Party from a place of sincere friendship. We consider it our obligation to share our thoughts, and do it always with an open heart and in a fraternal manner.
You spoke about the border problems, comrade Mao. In our letter, we approached this issue from concern about our common cause in the battle against revisionism and the defense of the principles of Marxism-Leninism. We believe that our artillery has plenty of targets—based on principles—to take aim at, so the fire ought to be focused. You think that Khrushchev will not be able to exploit this. We think that he will manage to appeal to the Soviet people emotionally. But this is an issue that concerns you and you know it better than we do.
Are you perhaps busy? Allow me …
Comrade Mao Zedong: No, the conversation with you is a pleasure for us. Do not hurry. There is no reason to hurry.
Comrade Beqir Balluku: For us, too, it is a great pleasure to be here and speak with you comrade Mao.
Comrade Mao Zedong: I started the firing without shells on 10 July and it has echoed widely.
Comrade Zhou Enlai: Only 14 days after this [artillery] battery, the Soviet Union published 70 articles, but in the Western press and in the Soviet public opinion, as well as in the foreign public opinion, there was no great echo. The Western press did not publish these articles. On 20 July, when I met with the Japanese, I repeated what comrade Mao Zedong said. The revisionist countries also do not believe these articles from Khrushchev; they are merely motivated by interest.
Comrade Mao Zedong: When the documents against Khrushchev will be ready, we will provide them to the Albanian comrades as well. Khrushchev wants Hong Kong and Macau to be autonomous zones, and then to be independent. So he is the one who caused this problem.
Comrade Zhou Enlai: First, he said at the Supreme Soviet that these two places ought to be autonomous. Later, in conversations with the delegation of the Socialist Party of Japan, he said that Xinjiang, Tibet, and Inner Mongolia are not Chinese territories.
Comrade Mao Zedong: He also fired the artillery without ammunition.
Comrade Beqir Balluku: He wants to get the attention of our artillery, to transfer and spread our fire around. Of course, you have full information about the echoing of these articles in the West. As far as we know, there has been a great echo. Both the press and television have devoted special segments to this issue. Correspondents from Italian television have gone to the Soviet Union, in Tajikistan, and elsewhere, and they have made up all kinds of things about China. They get paid by Khrushchev to advance his aims, to exploit the feelings and the sentiments of the Soviet people, and to forge an anti-Chinese alliance with the imperialists.
Comrade Zhou Enlai: They have also made lots of documentaries about the Chinese-Indian border issues.
Comrade Mao Zedong: He also issued a document on the resolution of border issues only by means of talks. We have not responded to him about this. The Americans responded. England has not.
Comrade Beqir Balluku: That is a revisionist document that our party has rejected. We come from a place of great respect for the Chinese Communist Party and for you comrade Mao when it comes to the border issue. If we are wrong on this issue, we are sharing it with you, our comrades.
Comrade Mao Zedong: The future will show whether this is wrong or not. We will not respond to them because if we were to respond to them we would reject it, just as you did, and that is how the polemic will start. So let us wait, and maybe after many years, we will respond to them, but not now. We should unite our forces against Khrushchev. Starting tomorrow, we will begin to write articles against the revisionists.
Comrade Peng Zhen: The radio will start broadcasting them already tonight.
Comrade Mao Zedong: We will first publish articles from the other parties but not article Nr. 10. Why are we going to release article Nr. 10 so late? Comrade Deng Xiaoping is responsible for that answer. We should fire without shells against him too.
Comrade Beqir Balluku: Your articles are heavy artillery fire and they require a great deal of work. Comrade Deng Xiaoping takes care of that.
Comrade Mao Zedong: You criticized him and myself, so forgive us both. (Laughter.)
Comrade Beqir Balluku: And I got some shots fired at me too. (Laughter.)
Comrade Deng Xiaoping: Article Nr. 10 will be prepared more quickly now.
(The conversation came to an end.)
 The reference to Kubinsky here is unclear, possibly an error. Mao may be referring to Tuva, which was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1944, and became the Tuvan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in 1961. (Tuva’s area is around 170,000 square kilometers, however, and not 17,000 as in the original document.) Thanks to Sergey Radchenko for this clarification.
Mao Zedong and Beqir Balluku ridicule Nikita Khrushchev and discuss the grievances that both Albania and China have towards the Soviet Union.
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