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February 28, 1958

Conversation of Mao Zedong with Soviet Ambassador Pavel Yudin (Excerpt)

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Conversation of Mao Zedong with Soviet Ambassador Pavel Yudin (Excerpt)

28 February 1958


In my opinion, the issues of arms reduction and atomic weapons sooner or later will have to be resolved, since it is inconceivable to think that anything can come out of fighting an atomic war. For instance, a country like Western Germany would probably be totally destroyed by only four hydrogen bombs, and it would take only a few hydrogen bombs to deal with Britain. The capitalist world also fears fighting this kind of war, so, in the end, an accommodation will be reached. The socialist system and the capitalist system will compromise on this issue. Just like the prohibition of the use of chemical weapons in earlier times, an accommodation will be reached to prohibit the use of hydrogen weapons. In this way, the issue of standing armies will be left over. Imperialism cannot match us in this area. As the British say, if the hydrogen bomb and the atom bomb were prohibited, and the Soviet Union used airplanes and artillery to fight us, we (sic) would surely be defeated. So they want to resolve together the issue of the prohibition of atomic weapons and the issue of standing armies. As I see it, these issues can be resolved. The British know that we don’t want to fight a war. Therefore, they want to first arm and then negotiate, doing this as if we may attack them any day. The capitalist world is caught in a contradiction. On the one hand, to better support its economy, it wants to continually expand its military and carry out war propaganda. But, on the other hand, it fears war.


In a conversation with Soviet ambassador Yudin, Mao sees a prohibition of the use of hydrogen weapons as very likely, as the capitalist countries "[fear] fighting this kind of war." Further, he notes that the socialist countries have an advantage over Western ones in terms of conventional army size.

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Dang de wenxian (Party Historical Documents), no. 3 (1994): 15. Translated by Neil Silver.


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