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June 1966

Memorandum of Conversation, between the Delegation of the People’s Republic of China, Led by Comrade Zhou Enlai, and the Leadership of the Party and Government of the People’s Republic of Albania [Excerpts]

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation



9:00 am


Comrade Zhou Enlai: Yesterday I mentioned how the year 1962 was a defining year for us, both in the domestic front and the international one.


Since the liberation and until the period of 1958-1959, thanks to a series of wars and struggles we waged in the international arena and on the domestic front, and by always keeping as a cornerstone the class struggle, we gave the masses a spiritual and material stepping stone, laid down the general course for the construction of socialism, and executed the organization of the popular communes in the village and the Great Leap Forward for the development of the national economy.


Starting from the second half of 1959 and during the 1961-62 period, for about three years in a row, we suffered heavy damage due to great natural disasters. Aside from these damages, we also suffered very heavy damage caused by the Soviet revisionists. In addition, we had just started talking about moving forward by relying completely on our own forces, but due to the lack of experience in our work we saw an array of shortcomings and errors, a few of which were avoidable and others unavoidable.


All these events caused great difficulties for us in the domestic front, while in the international arena, Khrushchev and his followers had at that time reached the top of their ascent. They openly attacked the ALP at the 22nd CPSU Congress, without taking our advice into account. After this congress, the Soviet revisionists also exerted pressure on us. At that period they had really reached their zenith, but at the same time they had also started their descent. That is why as soon as the 22nd CPSU Congress ended its proceedings, Comrade Mao Zedong made the evaluation that I mentioned earlier, which, in fact, time showed that he had been correct.


Facing such a situation, a determined, revolutionary, and a truly Marxist-Leninist party, must be decisive in leading the masses in the struggle against these difficulties. Based on the lessons of Comrade Mao Zedong, this is the course our party’s Central Committee took. But the rightist elements, both within and outside our party, brought forth a series of programs with an opportunist, rightist, and revisionist character, as I already mentioned earlier.


In the summer of the year 1962 Comrade Mao Zedong laid down his theses on the situation in the international arena and the domestic front, on the contradictions between classes, and the class struggle, which I also mentioned yesterday. By keeping Marxism-Leninism as a basis of action, by thus helping our party at that time to be strong and to undertake effective measures, [we can] overcome the difficulties of the struggle against the rightist elements.


In May of 1963, at the suggestion of Comrade Mao Zedong, our party laid down the ‘Ten Theses on the Work in the Village.’ I believe we have also given this material to you.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: Yes, we have read it.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: This document stressed that at that time class struggle already existed in China, which was a serious, ferocious struggle between the classes.


In these ‘Theses,’ there are the following nine points:


The First Thesis: The landowners, the kulaks, the counterrevolutionaries, and the bad elements exploited our difficulties and engaged in counterattacks to take revenge on the peasantry, to settle the accounts with them, and wait for the opportune moment to act, despite the fact that many of them worked themselves in the communes. Some of these counterrevolutionaries, after being sentenced for their enemy activities, were sent to the popular communes for hard labor sentences under the supervision of the working peasantry, because it was not possible for us to kill them all.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: No, as far as the killing goes, no one is killing them. We have not killed them all either.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: We shredded those that took up arms and fought against us during the war.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: We have not killed those that we caught during the war, either. I believe you have seen some of the prisoners of war in our country.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: What is your Emperor doing now?


Comrade Zhou Enlai: He is sick with cancer, so I do not believe he has long to live. Nonetheless, we have allowed him to be one of the members of the Political Consultative Conference. If he dies, there would be one less member of the categories of which we are talking about.


The Second Thesis: The landowners and the capitalists have infiltrated even the highest levels of the party and the state, the state economic enterprises, and the popular communes. We arrived at this conclusion around the period of 1962-1963. Of course, in the beginning, these elements were but a few in these institutions, and later increased in numbers gradually, because usually the contradictions start very small but later tend to increase little by little.


In 1957 we engaged in a campaign against the elements of the right. At that time there were more than 400 hundred of them. Of course, the people known by this epithet, in other words as elements of the right, cannot engage openly in activities by themselves, but they had surrounded themselves with people who, while not carrying the above epithet themselves, listened to them and were acting in the rightists’ interest.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: We have not allowed such elements even to be cashiers; we have given them the pickaxe, for example, and forced them to open trenches.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: I said that we have placed them to work in different positions. But having the epithet of an element of the right does not mean that they can work independently at any time, because, as I said before, very often these people, i.e. elements of the right, stay behind the scenes and urge others to engage in activities to execute their plans. In addition, despite the fact that they may be sent only to open reservoirs and trenches, if they can find the right moment, they will engage in activities against you, and can even be able to sabotage your work.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: Yes, it is precisely so. The bad elements can also continue to be active in such circumstances. The only thing is that in our country they are under the control of the working class. If they worked in various institutions, they would be under the control of the bureaucrats.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: These elements, by infiltrating by various means our institutions and our communes, have worked hard to corrupt our cadres. Let us look at one example: the landowners, the kulaks, or the capitalists are working, and their children are also working. Of course, they could not but have influence on our cadres, because they and their children have a higher level of education than the others due to the fact that in the past they have had the means to go to school and to gain more knowledge than others. In addition, they also dress and look better, so their girls would marry our cadres.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: In relation to this point, from the moment we opened our state university, we have not allowed the children of the bourgeoisie, of the landowners, and of the kulaks to attend school there. Only during the past two years have we allowed some of them to attend and they have only been of the ones who have proved themselves [loyal].


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: In total these amount to around 25 people.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: Each of these people, before entering the university, must not only go through a screening by the party committee in the area where his family works and lives, but also through a higher level check here at the CC of our party.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: In some cases the matter has even been brought before Comrade Enver Hoxha for an opinion.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: Yes. Of course, here we are talking only about the origin, but in reality the matter cannot be entirely so. Education cannot be completely separated from the past. For example, in the universities the manners of the bourgeois education still have an influence even over the children of a working-class origin. That is why the issue is not only about the origin of the students.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: That is correct.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: The Chinese students, who have studied abroad and have returned to the fatherland with knowledge in various fields, have been assigned to employment. How could we have been able to detonate the atomic bomb so quickly in our country? It is precisely because we utilized the knowledge and the abilities of the Chinese bourgeois scientists. We can say that in the field of science and technology these scientists have done a service to their fatherland, and even to socialism, but there is no doubt that as far as their mentality goes, they are still bourgeois.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: We have no people of this kind here.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: This is the reason why such elements exert an influence, through their mentality, over our new generation. For this reason that we are also in the process of waging a great socialist revolution in the field of culture.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: Correct, you are quite correct to do so.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: The Third Thesis: In the village there exist strong tribal, family and social circle relations, which lead to counterrevolutionary activities.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: This remainder of the past also exists in our country, and even within the ranks of our party.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: So, this is an exhibition, a phenomenon of the bourgeois ideology.


The Fourth Thesis concerns reactionary religious activity. Of course, in our country religion does not exert as serious an influence as in other countries. But in China there are many different religious currents, which exploit the fervor of the most fanatical elements.


The Fifth Thesis concerns counterrevolutionary elements who are still staying hidden, who still remain masked, but who engage in activities, such as murders, sabotage, burning of storage depots or houses, etc.


The Sixth Thesis concerns speculators of the cities and the villages, who, when chance presents itself, partake in the black market. Amongst these one can also find rich peasants or workers of a dubious origin, but most of those who engage in these kinds of activities are generally merchants, capitalists, landowners, kulaks, etc.


The Seventh Thesis: In some rural areas there are rich peasants, who, having somewhat higher income, lend money with interest to the poor peasants. Despite the fact that they also work in the popular communes, a few of those who are able to clock in a few extra days of work, and thus have higher incomes, engage in speculative activities and create for themselves possibilities for lending money with interest to the poor peasants. There are also cases in which some of them, of course illegally and secretly, keep laborers for pay, who from the outside seem to be simply people who work with them, but in fact work for them for pay.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: In other words, these people are exploiting the work of others.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: The Eighth Thesis: New bourgeois elements have recently appeared in the state economic enterprises and the popular communes, especially in the commerce sector, who engage in speculative activities. These are mostly coming out of the ranks of the artisans and the members of the popular communes, in other words from the ranks of the small-scale producers.


The Ninth Thesis: Degenerate elements have appeared in the managerial organs of the party and the state, which carry out policies which are foreign to the party. They do not strike against the elements mentioned above. Instead, they allow them to operate and engage in bad actions, in the process becoming themselves agents of these elements, i.e. the bourgeoisie.


Aside from these nine theses, we see today that we must also add another category, that of the new and old intellectuals of the bourgeoisie who work in the sectors of culture, of science, of the press, the publishing, etc. These intellectuals, such as the ‘Black Band,’ that exist today, account for up to one million families, when we include administration employees. In other words, there are not too many of them, but as they exploit their so-called authority in the field of education, etc., and they draw to themselves other people as well. In this case, by teaching others through their pedagogy, they influence the masses in the area of spirituality and mentality toward changing their points of view. They so seek to change all, whether they have a good origin or a bad origin. They are thus helping the birth of new bourgeois element by preparing some people as their offspring or successors. Even in the academic, philosophical or scientific fields, they exploit their knowledge and use it to exert their influence, especially over the youth.


This is why at that time, according to the directives that were given, we waged, especially in the rural areas, the campaign for the socialist education and put forth the three great revolutionary movements—the class struggle, the struggle for production, and the struggle for scientific experiment—of which you are already aware. The same work was carried out in the cities as well, but it was especially geared toward the villages. The goal of this campaign was the uprooting of revisionism.


After this campaign, in 1964, Comrade Mao Zedong put forth the issue of preparing successors, or those who would continue the work on the construction of communism. Not only should we fight to uproot revisionism from the present, but must also fight for the future, for the new generation, because the bourgeoisie also fights to make this generation its own. For this reason we came up with The Five Conditions for the Nurturing of the New Revolutionary Generation.


In the same year we also waged a campaign in the cities for revolutionizing theatre within the parameters of the Cultural Revolution. On this issue, Peng Zhen, alongside some of the other members of the secretariat of the party committee of the city of Beijing and alongside Lu Dingyi, secretary of the secretariat and director of the Directorate of Culture and Propaganda of the CC of the party, waged resistance against the Cultural Revolution. Of course, at that time they worked in secret and publicly they left the impression that [we] were in agreement and in support of the movement, and that was the reason why it was their task to lead and be responsible for this work in Beijing.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: In other words, as a wise phrase of our people says, you “hung pieces of meat on the neck of a wolf.”


Comrade Zhou Enlai: In our country we say, “Hang up a lamb’s head, so you can sell the dog meat quicker.” Nowadays, a political term we use for this situation is, “Under the red banner, against the red banner.” This is how they operated.


On the issue of the Great Cultural Revolution we have already given [you] some of our material. Those that were against this Cultural Revolution were five members of the steering group chosen by the party’s Central Committee. All of them have already been burned, all that remains now is Khan Zhen, who was the one to uncover those other four; otherwise their exposure would have been left for a later time.


In 1964, we put forth the issue of preparing the successors, or those who would continue the work on the construction of communism.


Luo Ruiqing, who had several functions—former secretary in the Central Committee Secretariat, deputy chairman of the Council of State, first deputy minister of defense and chief of the General Staff—came out with great ambitions claiming to take the post from Comrade Lin Biao, who was not in very good health. Comrade Lin Biao, as you well know, is the deputy chairman of the party’s Central Committee, and one of the most eminent comrades of our party’s leadership, a mature man and one who has correct command of the ideas of Comrade Mao Zedong.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: Is Comrade Lin Biao very sick?


Comrade Zhou Enlai: Physically he is fine. He only suffers from a [neurological] disease. Because of the long time he participated in the war, he has developed some nervous habits. He cannot even drink water, because he gets ill. In order to take the necessary amount of water, he eats fruit. In other words, he takes his water through fruit. When it rains, or whenever he has to look at a lot of water, his reflexes come back, and he very quickly develops diarrhea. The change in atmospheric pressure makes him sweat a lot. Despite the fact that he is generally not in very good health, Comrade Lin Biao continues to work. He had instructed Luo Ruiqing to only take care of the everyday matters pertaining to the military. As far as the actual political and military leadership of the military, Comrade Lin Biao always took care of that himself.


In 1956, we brought forth the 23 Theses for the Socialist Education of Workers and decided that, in the cities as well as in the villages, we should wage this campaign. We have also delivered this material to you.


The same as the period 1963-1964 and in 1965 when we made a critique of, in the field of philosophy, the theses of the unification of two into one and brought forth the idea that “the one be divided into two.” This is a thesis of Comrade Mao Zedong, which he has greatly analyzed in his article “On the Contradictions.”


In the ten theses, which were published in 1963, we laid forth the necessity of popularizing philosophy, with the intention for it to become adopted by the masses; that the wide working masses, the workers, the peasants and the military people absorb philosophy; for philosophy to come out of the narrow and limited frame of academia; and for it to disperse broadly within the working masses. But the leading cadres of the various institutions do not always engage in attempts to study philosophy and make propaganda for it. In these 23 theses this need is accented with great urgency, metaphysics and scholasticism are criticized, and emphasis is placed on the need for the absorption of the materialist dialectics. Peng Zhen, who was at the forefront of the group which opposes the Cultural Revolution, resisted this. During the critique that we made two years ago of the theses of Yan Zhan Hsian, former deputy director and later director of the party school, who was against the thesis of the unity of the two opposites, Peng Zhen came to his defense. Even Luo Ruiqing has had relations with him. Lu Dingyi had a different nature. He was against the study of the works of Comrade Mao Zedong, against the absorption and execution of his ideas, and their close and strong insertion into everyday life and practice as our party contends they should.


Comrade Lin Biao has emphasized the need for all the military to study the works of Comrade Mao Zedong, to absorb and execute them as appropriate, inserting them closely in life, practice and the conditions of the military. For this reason, and in order to help with this practice, Comrade Lin Biao has even prepared a brochure in which he has gathered a great number of citations drawn from the works of Comrade Mao Zedong.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: Was that the brochure which you had with you here last night?


Comrade Zhou Enlai: Yes, because I also use this brochure myself.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: Is there a version of it in the French language?


Comrade Zhou Enlai: No, we do not have a French version, but I will give you a copy of it. In this brochure citations are gathered which have to do with communist education. (Comrade Zhou Enlai offered a copy of the brochure in Chinese as a present to Comrade Enver Hoxha.)


The opponents of the Cultural Revolution attack us and accuse us that the Cultural Revolution is a vulgarization of philosophy and an operation in labels and simplifications.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: It is the same as what Khrushchev did after Stalin’s death. He harshly criticized all those that cited Stalin and Lenin, calling them “citation maniacs” and proclaimed loudly that there must be a war against “citation mania.”


Comrade Zhou Enlai: While at the same time he allowed widespread use of the citations from his own speeches.


Lu Dingyi was against the ideas of Comrade Mao Zedong and against Stalin, but not against Khrushchev. In the field of education he was also against the orientation of the CC, but was for the establishment of the bourgeois education system in China. He was not in agreement with our revolution in the field of education. He was one of the few members of the CC of our party who had attended a higher education school. His origin is of one of the feudal families.


This year we brought forth the idea of the Great Cultural Revolution, but the truth is that the preparations for the practical side of this program already started some time ago. This year we took measures to criticize in a more concentrated way the incorrect points of view of Peng Zhen. We have given all the pertinent materials on this issue to Comrade Mehmet Shehu.


The Great Cultural Revolution touches the people deeply in their souls. This is a true class struggle in the ideological field. It is the widest, deepest, fiercest, most complicated, and longest class struggle.


Speaking from our own experience, today we are not able to say that there is no more class struggle against the classes that are still existent; we cannot say that the exploiting classes do not exist anymore and that only their remnants are still around; we cannot say that the danger of the restoration of capitalism does not exist, because we should not have the issue of ownership of capital as the starting point and think that since the only ownership that dominates today is the socialist property, which is property owned by the entire people, or the collective property, which is property that rests in the hands of the workers, then the classes have ceased to exist. In addition, we cannot start off from the fact that these exploiting classes are small or large, or are spread out or not, because, as I mentioned before, the members of these categories are many, despite being spread out in various areas of the country; we cannot start off from the fact that the outside forces that help them are not even close in influence in comparison to the measures that we have undertaken toward the dictatorship of the proletariat. We must look at this issue in greater detail; we must look at it especially from the ideological side, from the mentality and the great influence that all of this has on the broad masses of the workers. By looking at the issue from this point of view, it appears that their influence on the workers is even greater, because, they, no matter where they are, engage in activities for inserting their venom and for damaging us as much as possible inside the country. The elements of the exploiting classes, with their spiritual points of view, exert an influence in every field, especially in the cultural, education, press, publication, and scientific fields. These elements that have been able to insert themselves even in the organs of the party and the state, in the mass organizations and the enterprises will even undertake reactionary activities, which will of course be not only in the open, but also in secret. As Lenin has said, during the period of the transition from socialism to communism, the overthrown exploiting classes will agree with the newly created situation but will always attempt restoration. The difficulty is that these elements stay hidden, and in fact some of them are active in a very cunning way against us.


We must fight against the old habits, the remnants of the past. Though we might all be people of work ethic, though we might all be workers grown and educated in the socialist society, these habits and old remnants continue to exist and influence even our best people. That is why we place a lot of importance on the issue of the education of the people in a new style, the reformation of their conscience with new life habits and mores and in a struggle against the old ones. Comrade Mao Zedong has said that without using a broom, the dust will not go on its own. But there are people who say that if a typhoon of a scale of 12 goes by, the dust will be gone. But that is not entirely so, because if you close the doors, the dust cannot go away. This has to do with the souls of the people, with the habits and the mores of their lives. That is why we must wage a great and continuous struggle against these remnants of the past.


It is important that we also see this issue from the framework of the position and the role of our people who have been influenced by the old mentality. These people become the agents of the bourgeois ideology. The groups I mentioned earlier have within the ranks of the important cadres of the party, the state, the state enterprises, the various institutions and agencies, the popular communes, the military, the mass organizations, etc. of the socialist country their own supporters. The policy that they follow helps in the preparation for the restoration of capitalism. This policy is not that of the Marxist-Leninist party.


In other words, we must not only look at the outside, the shape of the issue. We must look at the inside, the essence.


Despite the fact that the people I mentioned earlier have been influenced by the others, be they bourgeois or not, despite the fact that they might be people of work ethic, despite the fact that they might be conscious or not, all of them are tainted by the bourgeois ideology and serve it. This has to do with Marxism-Leninism; it is dialectics and does not depend on the will of people. As long as we accept the fact that the class struggle continues, we must accept that there exist class activities represented by the bourgeois class; we must accept that classes necessarily exist. We, therefore, must not look at the issue in an absolute, isolated, calm, and unchangeable way, but must look at it as a developing one; we must not look at the issue only from the point of view of ownership, but in an all-encompassing way and from an economic basis, especially from the point of view of a superstructure.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: (Addressing the translator.) What Comrade Zhou Enlai said, that as long as we accept the fact that the class struggle exists, the classes also exist, is that only in reference to China or does it have a universal essence and include all of the socialist countries?


Comrade Zhou Enlai: Of course, so far I have only spoken in reference to China.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: Well, the thing is, you mentioned all the socialist countries.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: I will speak of this issue right now. The issue is such that we must not look only at the internal factors, but also the external factors, and this has been emphasized in the Moscow Declaration.


In the socialist countries which have a revisionist leadership, we know very well that there is no doubt about what I said previously. It is very clear that classes exist in these countries, because in the villages of these countries, except for in the Soviet Union, the collectivization of agriculture has not been fully completed, and that is why there is now doubt that the exploiting class of the kulaks exists.


And what is the situation in the semi-revisionist countries? Cuba, for example, is walking toward revisionism. We had a chance to converse with your ambassador in Romania, who has also spent four years in Cuba. He told us that exploiting classes exist in Cuba. Or in the case of Romania where aside from the mountainous regions, which make up about 6% of the arable land in the country, everywhere else collectivization of agriculture has been completed, but in fact, as you have also pointed out, the bureaucratic stratum, the stratum of the privileged elements and rich peasants is being created.


As far as our two neighbors go, Korea and Vietnam, the situation there develops as it does in other countries, even more so because they have not been able to achieve the unification of the country. In the southern part of these countries the exploiting classes are in power, and people from North Korea and North Vietnam still have family ties to the southern Koreans or Vietnamese, and as a result there is a direct influence being exerted on them by the exploiting classes.


So we are only left with Albania. It is possible that only elements of the exploiting classes continue to exist here, in other words isolated individuals, but I think that you will agree with what I said regarding the influence of the strength of the habits passed down by the old society in your country.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: Yes, these habits also exist in our country.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: As a result, it is impossible that we will see none of the ten phenomena that I mentioned. In other words, the class struggle exists here, also in unison with the activities of the exploiting classes who are representing their own interests. Their goal is the restoration of the rule of the exploiting classes and, as you, Comrade Enver Hoxha, already mentioned, the birth and the formation of the bureaucratic and privileged classes will help the exploiting classes return to power, in other words for the restoration of capitalism, if we do not give them continuous strikes and destroy them completely beforehand.


So, here, only the manner, only the outside appearance differs. You lay down the issue in a different manner, in a different form, using as a starting point the concrete situation in your country, but in essence for both our countries this is still simply a class struggle. It may also be that I am a bit wrong because we have only exchanged thoughts on this matter twice, once with Comrade Mehmet Shehu when he visited China, and the other time is the present conversation.


On the basis of the thoughts of Comrade Mao Zedong who says that in all the socialist countries there exist, somewhere more and elsewhere less, bureaucratism, the revisionist and dogmatic elements, old and new, at this moment in time the main danger is that of revisionism, which serves imperialism, the reactionaries and is their agent. This is the important part of the issue where the opinions amongst us are the same.


In our socialist countries, as Comrade Enver Hoxha also pointed out, the manners of the restoration of capitalism may be varied and many. It is not possible that all these landowners, kulaks, and capitalists have handed over all the property they had, both in land and in riches, with pleasure. They will try to come up with different methods to overturn our system. This comes up as a new phenomenon. It may even be possible that in a socialist country, even after all the elements of the exploiting classes have died, new elements, representatives and descendants of those classes may be born, and they will try to restore the exploiting capitalist rule.


Comrade Mao Zedong, while evaluating the situation in the socialist society and the perspectives of it, as Comrade Mehmet Shehu mentioned in the meetings we held, points out that in a socialist society two possibilities exist.


One of the possibilities is that the modern revisionists will take over the power by force, as did, for example, Imre Nagy in Hungary, who rose for a counterrevolutionary state. If an answer would not have been found to the counterrevolution there, he would have won and Hungary would have passed since that time to the West.


The other possibility is that the revisionists, through peaceful revolution, will usurp the leadership of the party and the state, as it happened in the Soviet Union or in Hungary with Kadar, in Poland with Gomulka, and in the other countries where modern revisionism is in power today.


These two methods make up one single category. They are possibilities of taking over the power.


Another possibility is the policy of peeling off the bamboo skin. It is known that bamboo has many layers, which can be removed one by one. This is what must be done to avoid the possibility of the birth of revisionism and of the restoration of capitalism through a putsch. The “bamboo layers” must be cleaned up one by one.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: We must throw away these “bamboo layers.”


Comrade Zhou Enlai: Yes.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: We burn them off completely.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: After we remove them, we must burn them and turn them into fertilizer.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: But if you leave them in the leadership, they will still remain dangerous.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: When we burn them, we must take care not to burn the bamboo itself too.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: Burning them is not the safest method. The issue is what kind of method to use. Of course, this is something that depends on the conditions and the stages of development in each country.


Until the present, this has been the course followed by the CCP after it took over the power in China. During these past 17 years, three anti-party groups have appeared. The first was the Gao Gang and Rao Shushi group, which appeared in 1953. Gao Gang had links to the internal organs of the Soviet Union.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: In other words, he was their agent.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: And Rao Shushi was an ally of Gao Gang. Had they achieved a takeover of power, they would have very quickly lined up on the side of Khrushchev, and they would have transformed China into a country of the type of the Soviet Union today.


In 1961, at the time when the proceedings of the 22nd Congress of the CPSU were held, Khrushchev, while having a quarrel with me, told me that in the Soviet Union they will put the Gao Gang portrait everywhere.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: Didn’t this one commit suicide?


Comrade Zhou Enlai: I will talk about it.


The second anti-party group is that of Peng Dehuai, which was discovered in 1959. Peng Dehuai during his entire life has been against the leadership of Comrade Mao Zedong. He sought to take over the direction of the party for himself and sought to transform the party and to follow the course of bourgeois transformation. Peng Dehuai had for a long time been in cooperation with Gao Gang, but only after 1959, exploiting the newly created very difficult situation of that period, did he rise up against the general line of the party and the leadership of Comrade Mao Zedong.


Peng Dehuai was for a long time involved in military matters, and that is why he had some sort of influence there. As you well know, he led the war of the Chinese volunteers who came to the aid of the Korean people that was at the time at war with the American imperialists. During the war he made many errors, and did not abide by or take into account the direction of Comrade Mao Zedong. Toward Peng Dehuai we acted in a different way. We needed a period of time to uncover him and to learn about his activities and to unmask them. This is why the modern revisionists, the imperialists and the Guomindang all mention Peng Dehuai more often than they mention Gao Gang.


The third anti party-group is this last one, which we have uncovered since the November of the past year. This group came out directly against the line of the party with a program designed by the revisionists. Comrade Mao Zedong has spoken about this group to Comrade Mehmet Shehu when he visited China. This is a group of four people which includes Peng Zhen, Luo Ruiqing, Lu Dingyi, and Yang Shangkun. The latter used to be a candidate to the secretariat of the CC of the party and chief of the general sector of the CC. He has twice been sent to international conferences as a Secretary of the delegation and has also been in the delegation to the Moscow Conference. For a long time now, Yang Shangkun has had links to Wang Ming, whom Comrade Beqir Balluku mentioned before and who is to this day to be found in the Soviet Union, has kept his links with the above-mentioned people, and was waging secret anti-party activities in this way. Based on the information we possess, Yang Shangkun has had links with the Soviet revisionists.


Of course, with each of these anti-party groups we have acted differently, according to the conditions at hand. For example, we expelled Gao Gang and Rao Shushi from the party and later Gao Gang killed himself.


With the members of the second group we have followed a different course of action. For example, we relieved Peng Dehuai of his function as deputy chairman of the Council of State and sent him to work on another task, with the intention of uncovering him as he was doing his work and also to put him on a test.


With the members of the third group we acted faster and more fiercely. We relieved them all completely from the functions that they had.


Outside of these two possibilities which I mentioned, we do not yet see a third possibility, in other words the possibility that in a socialist party or state, no revisionist elements will be born.


Despite the fact that in China we follow the policy of the removal of the bamboo layers, Comrade Mao Zedong, looking at this problem more even deeply, as he also mentioned to Comrade Mehmet Shehu in their talk, emphasizes that we must place special care on the generations to come, so that in the future there may not be any counterrevolutionary coup d’états against us, and not to place the entire burden of the struggle against the birth of revisionism on the leadership of the party, but to go to the entire people, the entire masses, for help.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: This is very correct.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: We must teach the communists and the masses that if the smallest signs of revisionism appear, not only in one individual, not only in one local party organization, but even inside the CC of the party itself, then all the party organizations of the other regions should rise to their feet and with revolutionary zeal overturn the counterrevolutionary coup d’état.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: Very correct too…


Comrade Zhou Enlai: As you also mentioned, Comrade Enver Hoxha, this is a Marxist-Leninist action.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: Comrade Mao Zedong sees this issue very correctly. This is a great Marxist lesson for all the Marxist-Leninists of the entire world.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: But if we did not have the lessons drawn from the events that took place in the Soviet Union, we would not have been able to arrive so quickly at these conclusions.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: This is how it should be done. We must teach the party to also react on its own, just like Comrade Mao Zedong says.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: This is why we should always follow the line of the masses, so that the leadership and the correct ideas of the party are connected to the masses. Only by always operating in this way shall we be able to overcome all the bad things.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: This is a genius’ vision of the future that teaches us not only how to uncover the bad things, but also how to fight and clean them up.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: Yes. We have now drawn lessons from the events that took place in the Soviet Union.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: You have done well. The masses are those that make history, and the masses are what the party itself really is.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: This is a principle that Marx mentioned long ago, that Lenin emphasized, and that we are taking even further.


But as long as the masses are led by correct ideas, these ideas will transform first of all in a great spiritual force and later into a great material force. Many party members in our country could not really understand how it is possible that the spiritual force may be transformed into a material force and then the material force back into a huge spiritual force.


This is how the situation stands today with the Cultural Revolution in our country. This is a very great, wide and deep revolution, unlike anything ever seen before in history. And it is only the beginning. Without a doubt, in the cities this activity encompasses tens of millions of people, because in this revolution everyone is a participant, in it even the high-school students are participants, and sometime even the pupils of the higher classes of the elementary schools are participants, because they are able to criticize their teachers. In the meanwhile, in our villages this activity encompasses hundreds of millions of people.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: The Cultural Revolution in China is terrifying the revisionists, the bourgeoisie, and the imperialists.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: The Cultural Revolution in your country is in the hands of the masses.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: In the cities, in every enterprise and every institution we have started to insert Da Zi Bao [Big Character Posters] in big letters in their newspapers. The Cultural Revolution is an indication of the broad socialist democracy. Of course, the positive side of the Da Zi Bao stands in uncovering the contradictions between us and our enemies. It helps in the uncovering everywhere the anti-party, anti-socialist, and counterrevolutionary elements. Your ambassador in China, Comrade Vasil Nathanaili, can himself go and look at these newspapers in the various centers of work and see how the contradictions are uncovered and solved in our country in the midst of the people.


Of course, our enemies can also come up with Da Zi Bao but their work has an undermining character. It is directed against us. They can make these kinds of provocations and calumnies, but they are the minority and the masses will uncover and unmask them. When the masses know you, they will initially criticize you, and if you continue, they will unmask you.


This is why at the same time that in our country this great movement is going on, we cannot spend too much time outside the country. It is for this reason that we must return to China soon.


Now I will talk about The Third Issue: The international communist movement and the war against the modern revisionism.


I am in full agreement with what Comrade Enver Hoxha said that in various countries the revisionists of different colors are coming out, according to the various conditions of each country.


The Titoist group is the first one. It is the forward guard of modern revisionism, but Khrushchevian revisionism is the “commander-in-chief.” It is for these reasons that in the international arena we must, from a tactical standpoint, concentrate our forces and direct them against the “commander-in-chief.”


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: Agreed, but we must also not forget the forward guard, because it is also very dangerous.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: Yes. Whereas the rear guards, their followers, we must consider separately, differently. We must keep in mind that they will quarrel like dogs with each other, there are contradictions among them which we can and must utilize to instill rifts between their ranks. In other words, we must uncover and continually utilize the contradictions between them.


Sometimes it happens that some of them say to you that they are also fighting revisionism, basing this on the fight that someone from their ranks is waging against Titoist revisionism. This may happen, but this kind of fight does not have that same weight that the real fight against modern revisionism must have. For example, the Vietnamese often attack the forward guard and speak out against Titoist revisionism, but they never raise their voice against the “commander-in-chief.” There is a contradiction here. Of course, we must also fight against the Tito line that supports the American imperialists’ campaign for “peaceful” talks. Vietnam is in reality against such talks, which are also supported by the Soviet revisionist leaders, but Vietnam does not say anything against the “commander-in-chief.”


Comrade Enver Hoxha: The “commander-in-chief” cannot be separated from the forward guard.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: In the speech that I will give this afternoon at the meeting, I will touch upon this issue in one of the paragraphs.


When I was in Romania recently [prior to the 24 June Albania visit], I told the Romanian leaders that I would speak against Tito in Tirana. Maurer was very happy as long as I did not speak about this while there, while [RCP Politburo Member Emil] Bodnaras pointed out that if I wanted I could also speak about it while there, but [RCP General Secretary Nicolae] Ceausescu jumped up immediately and criticized him.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: Either way, it is expected that Tito and the Yugoslavs will protest.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: I have been prepared for a long time for my reply. I will say that when I leave from here, I will not pass through Yugoslavia but will go through Greece. (Laughter)


There are also those that are semi-revisionists of many colors, who are also in a process of transformation. When you said that Romania is a semi-revisionist country, or the country of a new form of revisionism, you made an impression on me. This is true, and in our opinion it should be studied. The Romanian leadership generally is revisionist, but it also has some contradictions with the Soviet Union. This is why the Romanian leaders do not want there to be loud positions taken against China in their country, like the rest of [the East Europeans] do. We have told them that until now we have not attacked each other, but that in the future, with the increasing divergences between us, we cannot guarantee that we will not use open polemics, even against them.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: Even against the Romanians?


Comrade Zhou Enlai: Yes.


Since they, for the time being, are not engaging in an anti-Chinese campaign, the enthusiasm and the sympathy of the Romanian people for our people was highly manifested during my visit there. That is why I was warmly received everywhere I went, such as I had not seen in any other revisionist country. Even in the Soviet Union, when I visited I did not receive such a warm reception.


Despite the fact that we have great disagreements, we must still continue to work with them, but the Romanians are very afraid of openly speaking against modern revisionism, in fact they are even afraid of speaking against great power chauvinism.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: Because they, themselves, are small-country chauvinists. (Laughter)


Comrade Zhou Enlai: It is because of the reasons I mentioned above that the speeches we held at the receptions, though we transmitted their full text by cable [prior], were only published in summary by the Romanians in their newspapers, and that was because in those speeches I included many stingers, such as, for example, on the relationships between the socialist countries, on great power chauvinism, on the Warsaw Pact, on the Council of Mutual Economic Aid, against modern revisionism and its cooperation with American imperialism, on their betrayal of the Vietnam War, on the Geneva Conference on Disarmament, on the banning and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, etc. The Romanian leaders did not want me to speak openly about these problems because they were very afraid, and that is why they continually sought to remove such issues from our speeches.


We also noticed that in Ceausescu’s speeches there were ideas we do not agree with, but he omitted some of them, because he also wanted us to remove some of ours. This way we were forced to make some concessions for the sake of reciprocity. In their speeches they said good words about our successes in the construction of socialism. We also pointed out their successes, because amongst the revisionist countries the Romanians have progressed well in the field of construction of socialism. Of course, in the future this will not last long, as long as their leadership remains revisionist.


Before we spoke at the rally, we were forced to get into a heated discussion for two whole hours with the Romanian leaders. This forced the people gathered outside to wait, and see that no one was coming out onto the stage. [T]his was because we were debating each other. At last, considering that the masses outside were waiting, we arrived at a compromise that both sides would hold short, unprepared speeches. Ceausescu spoke for only eight minutes and I spoke for only nine minutes, including translation, which was very slow. We spoke and mainly praised the people and the party without mentioning the leaders at all. They also did not say a word about Comrade Mao Zedong. Of course, the foreign correspondents that were attending the rally must have kept good notes on what happened and which must have made an impression.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: They must have photographed each and every word.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: Both sides also removed the mutual declaration, where we mainly spoke in support of the war of the people of Vietnam. The declaration was generally good, but we did not want to embellish it so we decided to only publish a short informative article.


This is why the Western press trumpets that Zhou Enlai completely failed in front of a small country. But it can say whatever it pleases, because at the end of the day it reflects reality, it shows that between two countries there exist contradictions and that is a good thing. Nonetheless, in front of the people, the Romanian leaders act as if the relations with us are still amicable.


And while Korea has mutual enemies with us, they, as you, Comrade Enver Hoxha, said two days ago in your presentation, avoid contact with us while going into secret meetings with the Soviet leaders.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: The Korean leaders are acting very incorrectly.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: Last year, as soon as the [22 June 1965 normalization] treaty between South Korea and Japan was signed, the foreign minister of Japan went to the Soviet Union for a visit. The Koreans were afraid of this, and that is why they immediately requested that a special envoy of Kim Il Sung come to us to ask for help, because there was nowhere else in the socialist countries they could go. We accepted this immediately and gave the Koreans aid in the form of grains and petrol.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: May your help turn into dust on the Koreans, may they never merit this Chinese largesse! Because, the Koreans are making secret deals with the Soviet revisionists, breaking their word of honor, while China shows her generousness and helps them on rainy days.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: Of all the aid that China gives to other countries, Vietnam tops the list, and Korea comes in second. In other words, it is very close to the aid we give to Albania.


But why does this happen with the Koreans? It may be because the Soviet revisionists have blackmailed them by saying that if they get closer to China, the war might spill over even to North Korea, but if they got closer to the Soviet Union, it may be possible that the war would be avoided.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: It is very possible that this is what has happened.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: The so-called special envoy of Kim Il Sung also went to Moscow where he signed an agreement for economic cooperation between the two countries. The Soviets promised to help even more in the development of Korea’s industry, but not in the development of agriculture. Today in Korea, as far as we know, there are great shortages of bread grains and the Soviet Union does not give any aid to Korea in this field.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: But the Koreans have said that they produce one ton of grain per capita.


Comrade Spiro Koleka: And they have said this publicly.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: We have calculated how much it produces. The annual production of grains in Korea does not even reach three million tons. Last year they produced 2,600,000- 2,800,000 tons of grains.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: Which means only 2-2.5 quintals per person.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: Yes. We should keep in mind that in Korea the population in the cities is much larger than that of the villages. That [city] population makes up around 60% of the entire country. Now, with the “help” that the Koreans will get from the Soviet Union for the further development of the industry, the population of the cities will increase even further.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: In other words, the Korean village will become deserted.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: A characteristic of the situation in Korea is that it is even more serious than it is in Vietnam.


In Vietnam there are also some changes from the previous positions. Despite the fact that the Vietnamese find themselves confronted with powerful enemies, the American imperialists, and they have fought in a revolutionary way against them, Soviet revisionism has recently infiltrated there. What we have said about the new Soviet revisionist group, the followers of Khrushchev, being even more cunning than Khrushchev ever was, has been demonstrated in Vietnam. This has caused disruption in Vietnam. It has caused dissipation from the upper echelons of the leadership to the lower levels of the base, in other words a separation into the left, the center, and the right. One group supports the continuation of the war against the American imperialists and the other supports the cessation of war. The group for continued resistance is also separated into two groups. While one of them is for the achievement of victory through a quicker war, the other favors a lengthy one.


As we have said before, Comrade Enver Hoxha, based on the current situation in South Vietnam it seems more possible that the war will continue and the country will be wholly taken in by it.


But after the great infiltration of Soviet revisionism in Vietnam, the process of liberalization in this country has quickened and that is exerting a great negative influence on the relations between Vietnam and China. It has caused the cooling of these relations despite the fact that Comrade Ho Chi Minh does not accept this. It is quite visible that this is a fact.


If the war in Vietnam continues for longer, it is clear that there will be new difficulties to be faced there. It does seem that the war will continue because the conditions in which the current American government will accept defeat and will withdraw from Vietnam have not ripened yet.


In this case two possibilities exist: First, the war in Vietnam will intensify even further, and second, the war will expand even further to North Vietnam and later to the all of Indochina and even to China. The Americans are increasing their bombardment of North Vietnam for the time being and are making attempts at blockading it to force it to accept the conditions they are setting for a capitulation dictated by American imperialism.


If the Vietnamese leadership will be steadfast in its war of resistance, we will make all possible attempts to help it, but in the existing conditions we are also facing some difficulties, because the Vietnamese, being under the influence of the Soviet Union, are very afraid of our help and especially of the intervention of Chinese troops into Vietnam to enter the war against American imperialism. Why is this so? It is because the Soviets are scaring the Vietnamese, telling them that when the solemn meeting to celebrate the victory is called, Vietnam will not exist anymore, because all the Vietnamese will have perished.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: According to them there will be neither victors nor losers.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: The Soviet leaders are telling the Vietnamese that it is China that is causing them all the trouble and that they will perish. They are replaying all the theories and the blackmailing that Khrushchev used to use.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: They are telling them that the Vietnamese will all be killed and that in their country there will only be Chinese. But this is not fair at all. History has always debunked this claim. There is proof that before World War II Romania had a population of 19 million people, and despite the great massacres that the Hitlerians and the home-grown fascists undertook there, the Romanian people did not perish, but continue to live.


If Chinese troops enter Vietnam, the Vietnamese will certainly not have the right to command them, because there is no way for them to supply our troops. If there is some kind of compromise reached as a result of a betrayal by the Soviet Union, the revisionists might denounce us, saying that we did not help the war of the Vietnamese people as much as we should have.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: In fact, they will announce that you were the reason why Vietnamese blood was spilled for no reason.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: That is why we are not saying that in Vietnam the possibility of “peaceful” talks is completely non-existent. We must be consciously prepared for this eventuality as well. What happened in Laos cannot happen in Vietnam. The war must go on. The only thing is that greater sacrifices will be needed.


We must also draw lessons from this situation. These positions happen because one of the leaders there, Le Duan, changed course. Until now he had been a leftist.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: We understood his change of course from the speech he held in Moscow. As soon as we read his speech, we immediately said, “He is gone too. He has gone to the side of the “National Front.”1


Comrade Zhou Enlai: The Japanese Communist Party and the Cuban Party have gone even further.


In the past the Japanese Communist Party had planned to translate the works of Comrade Mao Zedong into Japanese, but now they are forbidding the members of the party from reading these works and the various materials and documents [produced] by the CCP. It seems that the Japanese communists are thinking about a “peaceful cross-over.”


Comrade Enver Hoxha: Like [Chairman of the Japanese Communist Party (1951-1960) and Diet Member] Suzuki [Mosaburo] and [Japanese Communist Party and Diet Member] Shiga [Yoshio].


Comrade Zhou Enlai: Regarding the Cuban Party you already know that it has gone even further.


The Indonesian Communist Party is undergoing a transition. There does not exist any leadership in the middle and lower ranks of the party. The former party leadership did not prepare the masses for an armed war. They are now rising up spontaneously. The party masses are taking into their own hands the leadership of the armed war. They are, little by little, taking to the mountains and organizing the resistance of the people.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: The leaders of the party, such as [PKI chairman Dip Nusantara] Aidit and the other comrades have all been killed?


Comrade Zhou Enlai: We know that Aidit, [PKI CC Vice Chairman] Njoto and [PKI CC First Deputy Chairman M.H.] Lukman have been killed. The only one left is [PKI General Secretary] Sudisman. But, until now, the CC of the Indonesian Communist Party has not published any materials in which the lessons that should be drawn by the entire party from the events [the crackdown on the PKI, communist sympathizers, and ethnic Chinese that followed the kidnapping and murder of six anti-communist generals] that took place after 30 September are mentioned or in which it expresses any political thoughts on the events taking place at the moment inside or outside the country. For this reason many Indonesian comrades are lamenting over the situation, because all they can do at the moment is operate in the international arena—join the leftist parties and groups—but are not able to do anything inside their country.


As far as the situation of the communist movement in the other countries, Comrade Zhao Yiming already talked to Comrade Ramiz Alia about it.


All the modern revisionists now fight against Albania and China, against Marxism-Leninism. It is a well-known fact that the divisive activity of the Soviet revisionists and all of the other revisionists started long ago. This gives us the right and the chance to enter into contact with many leftists groups in many countries.


Of course, we are against the theory of polycentrism, but we also think that the time has not yet come for the creation of an international organization of leftists, or that there should be a multilateral meeting, and you are also of this opinion. We think that it is better that we wait. We should continue to develop further the contacts or the bilateral relations with leftist parties and groups, and carefully follow the development of these groups and parties.


In the international field, as you Comrade Enver Hoxha also mentioned earlier, NATO and the Warsaw Pact, by their nature, are each under the control of one of the superpowers, which means that the former is under the control of the USA and the latter under the control of the Soviet Union. It is the same situation, with the only difference that the member countries of the Warsaw Pact, which are controlled by the Soviet revisionists, will not be able to order the people of those countries as they wish.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: It is exactly so.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: The revisionists are hoping that in case of an aggression, they will be strong enough to face it easier if they are united. But there is also an opposite direction within them. The Soviets are trying to get all the states of the Warsaw Pact to link up with the West, especially with the USA, but they are meeting a lot of resistance because the wider masses of the people are not in agreement with this course.


Albania has, in fact, been expelled from the Warsaw Pact. As we well know, you do not agree to be a part of this Pact as long as they do not accept the errors they have made at your expense, and this is a very correct request.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: Even if they accept the errors they have made toward Albania publicly, we know very well what they are. That is why we will not be part of this Pact even if they engage in self-criticism. Our declaration is a tactical move.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: You have publicized this condition and have placed it on them.


Today we must encourage the tendencies of those countries that are against the betrayal of the Soviet revisionists, so that we may bog down their forces, otherwise the Soviet-American cooperation will get quicker and easier, the treasonous activity of the Soviet revisionists will be helped, the ban on the proliferation of nuclear weapons will be achieved, the USA will be helped in removing their forces from Europe and Asia, making the situation in Vietnam even graver, the achievement of a compromise will come sooner, and the Americans will be freer to strike our forces directly.


The development of the revolution in the different countries or the activity of the leftist groups and parties will be done according to the conditions, the degree of consciousness, and the rate of increase of the subjective forces there. We must support and have contacts with these leftist parties and groups according to the on-the-ground conditions, but in no way should we instill in them the impression or the concept that they should rely more on the external forces. In this area, we would like to exchange more information and thoughts with them.


We are very happy for the revolutionary measures that your party has undertaken and wish you continuous successes.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu told us that you are going to make some changes to the draft of your fourth five-year plan. You, Comrade Enver Hoxha, told us yesterday that the draft, after you analyze it at the party CC plenum, would be taken to the masses for discussion, and at the end, it would be offered to the 5th Party Congress for approval.


According to our experience, the five-year plan is just a program. All the plans, including the annual ones, must change and change or continually become better according to the newly created situation in the country. Before we used to say that the five-year plan was a law, it is unchangeable. But life does not happen this way. This is our experience; development and progress require that the plan adjusts to the times.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: This is our opinion also.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: The problem is that the people during the execution of the plan must also increase their work skills. It is because of this reason that we have not yet published our new five-year plan. In other words, we have not publicized it to the world, but we have made it known to the masses domestically so that they can discuss it and make the necessary suggestions for it to improve.


This is all I had. I apologize for having gone on for so long.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: It is nothing. We also thank you very much. I was thinking we could take a short break, and then I could speak once more.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: I agree, but if we are going to go on, I propose that we cancel the visit to the tunnel.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: I think that you can still make the visit to the tunnel, because I will not go on for too long. I may speak for a total of about 15-20 minutes. If we calculate the same amount of time for the translation, then I will not take more than one hour. (The time is now 12:30 p.m.)


(The break lasts 15 minutes.)




Comrade Zhou Enlai: I thank you, Comrade Enver Hoxha, for the words you said about these problems and for the further explanation of some of your points of view.


We must, in fact, recognize that when it comes to drawing conclusions from the internal factors which led to the birth of Soviet modern revisionism, there are some things that are not convergent between our two parties. This, according to my opinion, comes as a result of the differences between our two countries from a historical perspective. From the framework of the analysis of this issue, we have between us a distance, a divergence. I do not want to mention here the external factors, because on that point we have the same points of view.


As far as the internal factors that led to the birth of modern revisionism in the Soviet Union go, I would like to reiterate once more that Khrushchevism is not a phenomenon that has nothing to do with the Stalin period.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: It does have a connection with the Stalin period, and on this, both our sides are in full agreement.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: You, Comrade Enver Hoxha, have not denied that, during the time that Stalin held the leadership position, no principled mistakes were made.


It is truly correct and necessary that we continue the studies in relation to the historical internal factors, the social and societal conditions, that led to the birth of revisionism in the Soviet Union, of which Comrade Enver Hoxha spoke about, and that is why I agree that we should continue the studies in this area.


I will transmit the proposal of Comrade Enver Hoxha that both our sides should continue the studies and the exchange of opinions on these issues to the CC of our party and to Comrade Mao Zedong. Of course, this is not a very urgent need, but it is imperative and we must accomplish it, because revisionism was born in the first socialist state in the world, in the country of Lenin. This is an imperative need for the communist movement of the world. Today, the CPSU is not able to accomplish this study. That is why it is left to us, the revolutionary parties to accomplish it and gain from this experience. And in fact, as I mentioned in my presentation, we have already gained from those events because, as I mentioned, had we not had the path which Stalin trod, we would not have had the chance to deeply understand the reasons that led to the birth of revisionism in the Soviet Union or to draw the lessons for measures that should be taken to avoid a future counterrevolutionary coup d’état by the revisionists against our socialist countries.


But the objective situation of that time in the Soviet Union and the influence and the consequences that it had inside and outside the country cannot be studied as it must, without including the sympathies that we might have or not have for the persona of Stalin.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: That is very correct.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: The CCP has a few reservations toward the persona of Stalin, and Comrade Enver Hoxha probably knows something about it. In 1958, we talked with Comrade Mehmet Shehu a bit about this issue while traveling by airplane when we visited Moscow.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: On the airplane we spoke about issues pertaining to Baltic and Atlantic countries.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: To tell you the truth, openly, we do not know anything about this issue, and it is precisely because of this reason that we are not saying anything about it. You may be right about the positions you are taking, but we are saying that we do not know anything about it. We only know what has been written. We know nothing further. We only know the official Soviet position on the Chinese Revolution, on the issue of Jiang Jieshi, on the support given by Stalin, and whatever else has been written in books. And books on these issues we have read plenty.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: I do not remember having spoken to Comrade Zhou Enlai in 1958 about the Stalin issue. We have only spoken about the issue of Jiang Jieshi, something I had forgotten to mention to you.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: The event took place in 1945, at the end of World War II. At that time, Jiang Jieshi was preparing to ignite the civil war in China. Then Stalin, as soon as he found out, sent a telegram to the leadership of our party and state. This telegram was sent in the name of the CC of the Russian CP. Russia at that time had a CC. The telegram emphasized that there should not be a civil war in China, otherwise the Chinese people would be wiped out.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: And the facts proved that it was not wiped out.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: Also, in the telegram it was said that Comrade Mao Zedong should go to Chongqing to have talks and reach an agreement with Jiang Jieshi. That was the time when in China we had just finished the 7th Congress of our party. The entire party was monolithic and determined to fight, but we also faced difficulties because the Americans were helping and urging Jiang Jieshi into a bloody war against us in the name of the Allied governments. The intention was for the troops of Jiang Jieshi to be sent to occupy the coastal areas that were still being held by the Japanese. But at that time near these coastal areas there were our forces, which were fighting against the Japanese. As a result, it was our right to take over after the Japanese capitulation all the troops and materiel of the Japanese militarists.


Of course, with the intention of making him happy, we accepted Stalin’s advice of sending our representatives to Chongqing with Comrade Mao Zedong at the helm to initiate talks with Jiang Jieshi. In fact, we had been holding talks with them for years without any results. I have personally talked several times and could have still gone this time, as long as Comrade Mao Zedong, who had since 1927 never left our bases in the Huangshan Mountains, did not have to go. We surmised that his going to Chongqing for talks with Jiang Jieshi was a very great risk for our party to take. As it is well known, the Comintern did not exist at the time, and, of course, we had the right to act mainly according to the decision and opinion of our party and not to accept the advice that Stalin gave us. But in the end we decided that this would not be a good thing.


Either way, looked at objectively, it may be said that Stalin has great merits for his activity during World War II. He has helped the revolution immensely and the Chinese Revolution has also gained from it. Looking at the issue from this prism, we arrived at the conclusion that despite the fact that this was an erroneous advice on the part of Stalin, it would not be a good thing to rebuke him. This position would not be in our favor, despite the fact that the entire party was against Comrade Mao Zedong’s going for talks so close to the Jiang Jieshi headquarters. That is why Comrade Mao Zedong decided to go to Chongqing, but we were all very worried about this. Many comrades were even crying because they were afraid that something could happen to Comrade Mao Zedong.


Another comrade and I went to Chongqing with Comrade Mao Zedong. Of course we were there mostly to be his guards, because we were very afraid that the Jiang Jieshi-ists, as agents and spies of the Americans and as our enemies, might try to do something to him. Before he left, Comrade Mao Zedong gave Comrade Liu Shaoqi the responsibility of replacing him if something would happen to him, in other words if the Jiang Jieshists would arrest or kill him. In addition, he also instructed [them] that if we would all get arrested or killed, they would not think about rescuing us, but only continue the war with determination until the end. Comrade Mao Zedong said to Comrade Liu Shaoqi, “If you fight well, then we will not have died.”


As soon as we arrived in Chongqing, Jiang Jieshi invited Comrade Mao Zedong to the villa where he lived. All of us comrades that were behind him would stay close to him because we were afraid that they might do something to him. You could expect anything from them. They could even put some poison in his food, because we were not able to control the food they were giving us, because we neither prepared it, nor served [it]. In addition, Jiang Jieshi has the habit of eating like the Europeans, on separate plates and could have instructed his people to put poison in Comrade Mao Zedong’s plate.


Utilizing the chance that Comrade Mao Zedong was staying in Chongqing, Jiang Jieshi, with the help of the Americans, sent his troops to the coastal areas I mentioned above. Comrade Mao Zedong immediately sent a telegram to Comrade Liu Shaoqi and instructed him not to care in the least about us, but to send forces immediately wherever it was necessary and possible, without taking into account whatever battles might be initiated. And it was precisely at that time that one of our infantry armies, commanded by Comrade Deng Xiaoping, went wherever it was ordered to go and completely decimated two of Jiang Jieshi’s armies. It then returned to Yun’an.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: Comrade Zhou Enlai, our party is a young party, founded in 1941. You know the methods of the CPSU well. I am trying to say that the Soviet leaders did not keep us up to date on such matters.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: They never consulted with us either.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: But what do we know? We only know those things that have been written. As to how the issues have been discussed, how the events have taken place, etc. we do not really know. So how can we judge better than your party on these issues, on one position, or in another that you have taken in those situations?


Comrade Zhou Enlai: Before the departure of Comrade Mao Zedong from Chongqing, Jiang Jieshi served lunch. Before we went there, we discussed the situation carefully because we were wondering that since this was the last lunch that we were going to have at Chiang Kai-shek’s, he may put delayed action poison in our food, but if we did not go, it would not be a good thing for us since he would not allow us to leave.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: It sounds like what happened to us with Khrushchev in 1960.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: But we had with us, Zhang Zhizhong, who now is the deputy chairman of the permanent committee of the National People’s Congress, and we held him there on purpose, despite the fact that he wanted to leave. There was also an American general [General Joseph Stilwell] who acted as a general “advisor” to Jiang Jieshi.


We returned to Yun’an on a special plane of Jiang Jieshi. We did this on purpose so that, if something were to happen to us, the responsibility would rest on Jiang Jieshi. After Comrade Mao Zedong left Chongqing, I stayed over there for a while longer.


My point is that while at that time we took the advice that Stalin gave us, we also took double-sided measures. We tried to achieve success in the peace talks, but we did not place trust in them because we had amassed a 20-year experience in meetings with Jiang Jieshi, and that is why we were not trustful of the talks or of his “assurances.”


Stalin also tried the [negotiation path] with the help of the Americans. In the framework of these attempts, General [George] Marshall was also sent to China [in December 1945] as a go-between in the talks between us and Jiang Jieshi. Thus was organized the tri-partite group, composed of Jiang Jieshi, our party, and the Americans, in which the American representative would be the primary player. Stalin and Herlin [probably Ambassador Patrick J. Hurley], the Truman envoy, had reached an agreement in Moscow [in April 1945] that the representative of Jiang Jieshi in these talks would be his premier, T. V. Soong. Of course, at that time it was impossible for us not to accept the talks, despite the fact that it was very clear to us that the Americans would support Jiang Jieshi. Our primary responsibility was, at the time, to undertake measures to prepare against Jiang Jieshi, so that in case he would attack us, we would be prepared to offer him determined resistance.


During the period of 1945–1946, for a time span of about one year, we made propaganda on the “success” of the peaceful talks and of the coalition government, while at the same time we followed three policies:


First, we decided to initiate an agrarian reform in the liberated areas of the country. Of course, this was a toned-down reform, intended to secure the production of bread and the mobilization of the peasants around the party.


Second, we decided to further increase the military ranks.


Third, we decided on training for the armed forces, with the intention of being ready for war.


And, in fact, Jiang Jieshi, after he took over all the large cities and after he acquired all the armaments of the defeated Japanese, ignited a war against us. From the beginning of the war ignited by Jiang Jieshi and until our final victory, we fought for about three years or so. This was a defining moment for us because we acted completely contrary to the advice of Comrade Stalin. In fact, it seemed as if we were carrying out his advice because we accepted that Comrade Mao Zedong should go, which he did, to Chongqing and we accepted the tri-partite talks, with the American General Marshall as a mediator. From the start of the talks and until their falling apart, a time of about one year passed. I, myself, took part in the talks, but these were only a formality. This means that in this defining moment, we did not consider Stalin’s actions correct, and we think that this is one of the errors in principle that he made. Nonetheless, we still say that Stalin was an internationalist revolutionary.


After we entered Beijing, we immediately sent over Comrade Liu Shaoqi to Moscow. During the personal talks between the two, Stalin told Liu Shaoqi that his telegram had caused us damage. Liu Shaoqi told him that it had not. After that, the Soviets sent many people to China to see firsthand and to be convinced that China was really a communist country because they could not believe it. This disbelief was due to the great propaganda that the Americans were waging that purported that the CCP was an agrarian party and not a proletarian one. Of course, the purity of the people Stalin sent was low, there were also provocateurs amongst them, who, everywhere they went, would ask questions about everything. They were trying to find out whether in China the same things were happening as in Yugoslavia, in Tito’s country. Even our ambassador in Moscow was being asked, mainly by employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR, whether we were following Tito’s course. Such Soviet behavior instilled great dissatisfaction amongst our cadres at that time.


In the winter of 1949, Comrade Mao Zedong himself went to Moscow on the occasion of Stalin’s 70th birthday. But Comrade Mao Zedong, aside from giving his best wishes for Stalin’s birthday, could do nothing while there. All he did was tell Stalin that at that moment China was still not fully liberated, but [he] also assured him that we would fight until it was completely free.


At that time, [still] an alliance treaty existed between old China, in other words, Jiang Jieshi’s China, and the Soviet Union. For this reason Comrade Mao Zedong told Stalin that now, that China was liberated, it would be logical to sign a new treaty with a New China. For this, since Comrade Mao Zedong was the chairman of the republic, he proposed that I, Zhou Enlai, go to Moscow to sign the treaty, as I was the chairman of the Chinese government and at the same time the minister of foreign affairs. But Stalin answered to Comrade Mao Zedong that it would not be a good thing since the president of the republic was to be found in Moscow at the same time. If the chairman of the government and minister of foreign affairs would also come, the Western propaganda would say that the Chinese government was transferred in its entirety to Moscow, along with the chairman of the republic who was already there.


The truth is that, at that time, Stalin did not have faith in us that we could liberate the entire country on our own. Aside from this, he was unsure whether we were on the side of the Americans, or maybe following the course of the Yugoslavs. That is the reason he did not want to sign the treaty that we proposed.


Noticing the situation, Comrade Mao Zedong then told him that there was no other reason for him to stay in Moscow, because all he was doing was eating, drinking, and going to the bathroom, and that is why he needed to leave.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: This is precisely the issue that we had briefly spoken about together on the airplane.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: Well, two days later, England recognized the People’s Republic of China. At that time, France had also decided and was ready to recognize us. India also, urged on by England, sent us a telegram in which they notified us that they recognized our new state. This was a stimulus to Stalin, who was noticing that the imperialists were recognizing us, which means that they accepted that we would win. Under these conditions, the Soviet Union also agreed to recognize us.


The correspondent of the Soviet press agency TASS asked Comrade Mao Zedong, “Aside from the best wishes on the occasion of his birthday, what else did you talk about with Stalin?” Comrade Mao Zedong answered that he had talked with him about the possibility of signing a new friendship and alliance treaty with the Soviet Union and that he was ready to return to return for a few more visits to see the development of the country.


So, the Soviets finally agreed to sign the treaty. For this reason, after the request of Comrade Mao Zedong, I also went to Moscow and, in fact, the Chinese government did not transfer to Moscow as Stalin told us.


But during the talks that we had on the signing of this treaty many problems arose. The Soviets requested that the Soviet Union have under its sphere of influence Xinjiang and Northeastern China, and that foreigners be forbidden to go there. I told Stalin that we would not allow citizens from imperialist countries to go there, but what would we do about the citizens of fraternal countries that were to be found there? There are many Koreans, especially, who have been there for a long time, and our party cannot do anything to them, we said. Nonetheless, he made an exception here and the treaty was signed. Still, the Soviet leaders continued to have doubts about us. Only after the war against American imperialism started in Korea and we came to the aid of the Korean people, did this disbelief on the part of the Soviet leaders start to dissipate little by little.


Despite all this, despite these positions toward our party that I was talking about, we still say that Stalin is a great warrior, a Marxist-Leninist, a teacher of the world socialist revolution. Khrushchev removed Stalin’s portrait from the Soviet Union, but we have not, and that is only due to this opinion we have of him. The placing of Stalin’s portrait in Tiananmen Square is a reason for the entire world to say that China rests on Stalinist ground. This is how we have acted since 1956 and until now, for ten years in a row and we are very proud to have done so.


Our party and its leadership, despite the few discontentments that it has with Stalin, will never follow the course that Khrushchev took, because that is a revisionist course. The party of the Khrushchevians in the Soviet Union is today a revisionist party. But we see the situation more widely, more deeply. We have been given the task of defending the interests of the world revolution. Khrushchev, by opening a war against Stalin, is in fact fighting against Marx, Engels, and Lenin, against Marxism-Leninism, against the Marxist parties. Khrushchev is a traitor, a counterrevolutionary. That is why our position is open, it is against him.


So Stalin, as it appears, has made errors in principle. These mistakes we do no hide, with the only intention of drawing the necessary lessons from them, so that if possible both we and the new generation will not make mistakes of the same nature. Furthermore, we do not proclaim openly to the world that Stalin has made these errors in principle, because it would not be correct. Additionally, by clarifying these errors in principle only to ourselves, it does not have the effect of lowering the prestige of Stalin in the international arena. Lenin, in his article “Left-Wing’ Communism: an Infantile Disorder” has pointed out that a strictly serious party is not afraid to look at its errors right in the eye. On the contrary, it accepts them, draws lessons from them, and fixes them.


While speaking of the errors of Stalin, I only addressed the period in which our party was under the leadership of Comrade Mao Zedong. As to the previous period, during the time when the members of the Comintern were in the “leftist” group of Wang Ming, who today is to be found in Moscow, Stalin even then used to give us a few mistaken pieces of advice.


Comrade Mehmet Shehu: He is to be found in Moscow at the moment?


Comrade Zhou Enlai: Yes. Even at that time Stalin used to give us incorrect advice, but the principal fault lies with us, because we simply accepted it and did not go deeper into it. It is for these reasons that we exercised self-criticism in every material of ours and point out the reasons why the Party CC accepted it. By accepting that advice, we only punish ourselves, because no one forced us to accept such a thing. Even then we could have accepted the advice just for show, just like Comrade Mao Zedong did in relation to the advice for talks with Jiang Jieshi, while at the same time following the correct course.


We will continue to study the errors in principle made by Stalin. One thing needs to be clear though: We will in no way accept the calumny that Khrushchev cooked up about the period of the repression of the counterrevolutionaries. But we must also accept that he repressed the counterrevolutionaries only through administrative means and through the methods of the Ministry of the Interior, and absolutely without relying on the masses and on the party line, which is the line of the masses. Maybe this is also a case where Stalin made errors in principle? In this case we also hold that we are right, because it has great importance, and we have said this since 1956. All the ministers of the interior in the Soviet Union, with the exception of Dzerzhinsky, from Jagoda to Beria have been killed. The problem is not only that they have made mistakes and misdeeds. The important thing is that the entire structural system of the organs of the ministry of the interior in the Soviet Union did not correspond completely to our socialist system, it was not in order. Regarding this problem, when we have the chance, we can continue to exchange opinions between our two parties.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: Agreed.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: There are many comrades who have worked in the organs of the interior ministry in the Soviet Union. They have brought back to our Ministry of Public Order many work methods from the Soviets. But on this issue I only spoke on general lines.


As to the second issue that Comrade Enver Hoxha brought up, you are right, but I still wanted to clarify two points of this issue:


First, when I was talking about the problem of the classes, the class contradictions and the class struggle, Comrade Mehmet Shehu asked me what I was talking about; whether I was talking about our country, or about other countries too. I, naturally, was talking about our country primarily, and about the other socialist countries in general, but the possibility for exceptions in this issue remains.


Secondly, if we accept the class struggle, the issue of what is the character of this class struggle must necessarily come up. The class struggle in today’s world is being fought between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, between socialism and capitalism. In our country the overturned exploiting classes try to restore their power. This, then, is a struggle between the two courses: between the socialist course and the capitalist one. Without clarifying this point, the character and content of this class struggle cannot be clarified.


And finally, I wanted to say that, as Comrade Enver Hoxha also pointed out, the talks we have had these past four days have been very good. They will help, first of all, in our two warrior parties, who stand fast with determination by the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary principles, knowing each other even better, in uniting even more strongly, and in intensifying their war against the enemies of socialism. This we will also express before the masses at the rally that we will have this afternoon.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: Of course.


Comrade Zhou Enlai: The discussions between us are normal procedure that may happen at any time. In fact, it would be strange if there were none of them. In that case there would be no contradictions, something which is impossible, because internal contradictions exist everywhere. Even in the mind of a person, taken by himself, there is a continuous struggle between a correct thought and an incorrect thought. If we would think otherwise, we would be idealists.


I, once again, thank very much all the comrades of the Politburo of your party and Comrade Enver Hoxha who gave us the time and the chance to talk.


Comrade Enver Hoxha: We also thank you very much.




Haxhi Kroi



Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai meets with a delegation from Albania, and discusses with them Mao Zedong's 'Ten Theses on the Work in the Village.' The Albanians reaffirm their belief in the philosophical teachings of Mao, especially about opposing the dangers of revisionism. The group agrees that there were points at which Stalin was wrong, but that it would be wrong to publicly proclaim it.

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Central State Archive, Tirana, AQPPSH-MPKK-V. 1966, D. 13. Obtained by Ana Lalaj and translated by Enkel Daljani.


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Memorandum of Conversation


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Leon Levy Foundation