April 14, 1961
Memorandum of Conversation between Li Xiannian and Abdyl Kellezi
This document was made possible with support from MacArthur Foundation
Do Not Disclose; Top Secret
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Ministry of Foreign Affairs Document
Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 15 April 1961
Vice Premier Li Xiannian Meets with the Vice Chairman of the Albanian Council of Ministers [Abdyl] Kellezi to Discuss Several Aid Issues
--Not Yet Approved--
Time: 3:00 p.m., 14 April 1961
Location: Wu Cheng Hall, Zhongnanhai
Record: Wang Dong
Li: How are you? (The other side said well). Let’s start talking.
Kellezi: Yesterday [we] talked about a few things simply; today we will talk about several other issues.
Yesterday [we] talked about the attitude of the Soviet Union and other Eastern European fraternal countries on their obligations toward and few other items involving my country. The 500 million ruble loan that you gave to my country has been very helpful to us.
The loan agreements between my country and the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and other countries had already been signed, but according to the situation as it has developed, there are quite a few loan assistance projects that we do not think they will give [us]. Of course we will also not easily abandon our demands. You know that the Soviet Union invited Comrades [Enver] Hoxha and [Mehmet] Shehu to Moscow to negotiate the projects which have already been resolved, so [you] can see that they did not want to discuss the assistance projects, but that [they] had another goal. At the Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Pact, Khrushchev said once again that they will no longer shoulder obligations to Albania. [Antonín] Novotný said the same thing. In fact, after the special council in Bucharest, they violated the agreements and undermined their assistance obligations. The loans promised by the Soviet Union have not come, the technical experts have not been sent, and other projects have also ceased. For example, the dredgers for the expansion of the Durrës Port have not come; [they] have not given us the equipment for the cement plant; even the equipment promised to build the cultural center have not been delivered. We have already put forth protests on these matters. Of course, these things do not depend on whether we decide to supply them. Of course we will not yield, [we] will not abandon our principles. We estimate that they will not give [us these items], but they will also not give us a written response and will use delaying tactics.
Some construction projects, which were done with your assistance and through our own measures, will not have much of an impact on the development of our national economy. But some important construction projects—such as the steelworks, the aluminum plant, the sulfuric acid plant, the colliery, the refinery, the car repair plant, the high-tension cables, the expansion of the port—have created huge problems for us. Whether or not these industries and enterprises can be newly constructed or expanded will have a direct impact on our foreign exchange balances.
They may still give us loans for some of the construction projects because the projects bear on their own interests. The Czechoslovak assisted iron and nickel ore are examples of this.
Concerning this situation, I was entrusted by the Party Central Committee to give you a memorandum. This time [we] will not talk about specifics, but later [we] may want to talk again, depending on how the future develops. We also know that you do what is possible within reason.
Li: I will report to the Central Committee [of the Chinese Communist Party].
Kellezi: Here there is also a transportation problem. Originally we had considered asking you to offer us 2 million American dollars in foreign exchanges to resolve [our] shipping problems. [We] considered asking you to help [us] rent boats for transportation. But now [we] see that there are problems with renting boats from capitalist countries to ship ammunition, therefore we want to build a 1 million ton ocean liner in order to resolve the shipping problem. Or, you can buy one, or we can buy one as you. No matter how, this is a problem that must be resolved. Shipping the construction equipment and materials, the assistance from you, is also a big problem.
Li: Of course. We considered, on the issue of supplying the equipment, we would rent boats to move them. Comrade Hoxha discussed the issue of an air route between Guangdong and Durrës, but the situation has yet to change.
Kellezi: Now we will see how to resolve the problem.
Another problem concerns rare metals. We know the situation a little bit, but not in full; therefore [we] will allow our experts to have talks with you. [We] will see what is easy for you, if it is alright for the experts from both sides to talk. I can attend with you to listen and to see that our minerals haves some rare metals within and the prospects for development. We do not completely trust the Soviet Union’s lab tests. After 1957, the Soviet Union helped to us conduct lab work, [but] now we want to re-examine [this matter]. Rare metals may be a new source of income for our country. In terms of foreign exchange balances, this is a big issue, and may allow [us] to free our friends of their troubles.
Li: No matter. Please continue to talk about whatever else remains.
Kellezi: Just these items.
Li: On visiting Chairman Mao [Zedong], last night I report to Comrade [Deng] Xiaoping. Wait two days for a reply to you. The Chairman is not in Beijing, [so you] may go to where he is; taking a plane is easy. What is your view on this?
Kellezi: [I] agree.
Li: Yesterday Premier Zhou [Enlai] came. We are considering having Premier Zhou and Comrade Xiaoping meet you once. How is this?
Kellezi: [I] agree.
Li: This way, whatever problems there you can talk about them.
Kellezi: In total there are four problems. Three of them deal with you. The ammunition problem can be talked about with the Chairman and the Premier.
Li: All of these issues can be discussed with the Premier and Comrade Xiaoping. I will tell Comrade Xiaoping right away. This way, how long will you be here?
Kellezi: I think two to three days is necessary.
Li: The issues for the negotiations have already been resolved in principle, right? All that is left is the nitrogen fertilizer plant?
Kellezi: 1:4 sulfuric acid fertilizer is not appropriate for our country’s soil. 1:2.2 is really what we need.
Li: I already know this situation.
Kellezi: On the issue of the equipment for the nitrogen fertilizer plant, we think that, if they are re-exports, then altogether 50,000 tons.
Li: We will study [this]. What other views do you have on whether or not the Soviet Union and the Eastern European fraternal countries will bear their obligations?
Kellezi: Czechoslovakia may continue to supply equipment for the iron-nickel plant, because domestically Czechoslovakia has already built a 300,000 ton iron-nickel plant, specially [made] for materials provided by us. But this is probably an exception. Not long ago Czechoslovakia sent experts to Albania. They said they regretted that they had already signed an agreement with you. For their experts, they want 2,000 rubles per person/per month.
Li: On the first matter, you want to give [us] a memorandum and not discuss it this time, right?
Li: We will study the third issue related to shipping. I am a layman on the fourth problem related to rare metals. [I] can ask a responsible comrade from the [State] Planning Commission to participate, or I can also participate. Comrade Kellezi, you just mentioned the situation of the lab experiments?
Kellezi: The situation of the lab experiments is very interesting. We have uranium and many types of rare metals. Whether this is accurate will be proved by repeated tests. Out of political need, we would like to request that you dispatch geologists to Albania. We can have them go to a place where there are no other people, lest they (Soviet geologists) say that someone has come to take over their work.
Li: Are the Soviet experts still present?
Kellezi: Only the oil specialists have left. The geologists are still there. But three months have gone by, and the specialists for 1961 provided for by the agreement still have not come. Another thing is that their crazy propaganda specialists are working and living in difficult conditions in Albania.
Li: We know a little bit about the situation at Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Pact. You did right.
The Premier will come quickly. Comrade Xiaoping and he may have a discussion with you together, or may it be done individually. They have no grounds for opposition based on the Moscow Declaration and the Warsaw Pact.
Kellezi: I don’t want to disturb the Premier for long. Just seeing him is fine.
Li Xiannian and Abdyl Kellezi review technical and economic assistance lent to Albania by China, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union.
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