June 7, 1960
Memorandum of Conversation with Comrade Mao Zedong in Hangzhou (7 June 1960)
This document was made possible with support from The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Memorandum of Conversation with comrade Mao Zedong in Hangzhou
(7 June 1960)
At the beginning comrade Mao Zedong greeted the delegation and asked the comrades about how they were doing, saying that it was warm weather, something that the delegation might feel a lot here. He asked about the geographic latitude of Albania, and when he received the response, he said that the climate in Albania must be roughly what it is in Hangzhou, considering that Hangzhou is on the 30th parallel [north]. Then he asked about how many kilometers of sea borders Albania has.
Comrade Mao Zedong: You have many opportunities to exploit your sea resources. Earlier, it was the Japanese who did the fishing here. When there used to be big storms, their ships wound find refuge in Shanghai and in other Chinese ports! Back then we used to have a fishing agreement with them regarding catching fish in the northern provinces; now this agreement is no longer in effect, but in fact it is adhered to. It is especially tough for us when it comes to the Gulf of Taiwan. We have discussions with the Americans in Geneva first, and now in Warsaw. This business has been going on for four years. Thus, even though we do not have diplomatic relations with the USA, even though our relations with them are not very good, we still engage in talks, although we have not reached any agreements. These talks are held every two months.
Comrade Liri Belishova: The stance of the United States vis-à-vis China revolts us, as it does you, and as it revolts the entire progressive people of the world. Nobody can understand how you can cut off a part of the body. It is absurd that a population this big does not have representation at the UN.
Comrade Mao Zedong: We do not have this right. Only Chiang Kai-shek has this right at the UN. They have called us aggressors, as if we have carried out [an] aggression against the USA and not the USA having carried out [an] aggression against us, as if they have not occupied Taiwan. So every country has a reason to defend its rights and its position. There is nothing we can do; we must live with this spirit. We cannot send our troops and attack Taiwan. We have said to the Americans that we cannot solve this problem with the armed forces. We want to have talks with the Chinese in Taiwan, but the Americans do not want this to happen because they are afraid of our talks with the Chinese from Taiwan, from our direct talks with Chiang Kai-shek. So we find ourselves in a tough situation. The Americans have many military bases in the East, especially in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, South Vietnam, and they even have military advisers in Laos.
They completed the military treaty with Japan, as you know of course. The Japanese people are fighting against this treaty, but one can hardly say that they will be able to secure its annulment. Nevertheless, time will tell. This treaty turns its main arrows against China and the Soviet Union, against many Asian countries. The Japanese used to have a lot of colonies. During the Second World War, Japan occupied the Philippines, Birmania, Indonesia, Vietnam, and a large part of China.
Japan has now lost these colonies and it has even fallen itself under the occupation of the Americans. But the Japanese monopolists try to go back to these colonies with the assistance of the USA, close to what it is like with West Germany. You are closer to West Germany, Italy, and Yugoslavia, which is not a friendly state. The USA wants to place military bases in Greece.
Comrade Liri Belishova: They have officially agreed to place missile bases.
Comrade Mao Zedong: What about in Italy?
Comrade Liri Belishova: They are there.
Comrade Vasil Nathanaili: Italy is one of the first countries that placed American missiles.
Comrade Mao Zedong: England was the first country. There are many bases in Turkey also. There was a coup in Turkey before your departure, or was it after?
Comrade Liri Belishova: As we were leaving—we were not clear, and still are not clear, about the nature of this coup.
Comrade Mao Zedong: Perhaps it’s a pro-English group that brought down the pro-Americans, but it can also be a pro-American one. We are still not clear, but we will see. In South Korea, also, the former president was removed.
It is different in Turkey: All the former leaders have been arrested and interned on an island in the Aegean.
How large is the population of Turkey?
Comrade Vasil: Twenty million.
Comrade Mao Zedong: They have arrested more than 200 leaders and considering the population, it seems proportional.
Comrade Liri Belishova: (General [Cemal] Gürsel is of Albanian origin and speaks Albanian well. There are many Albanians in Turkey, who went there during the period when Turkey ruled Albania. Also, many Albanians have gone to Turkey due to the chauvinist politics of Tito. Almost half of Albania is within Yugoslavia.)
Comrade Mao Zedong: Turkey used to be strong once, had occupied Bulgaria, and so on, Egypt too. They came from the East, are of the same nationality as comrade [Vice Chairman of the National People’s Congress] Saifuddin [Azizi]. Around the 7th-9th centuries, they were expelled from the lands of today’s China, and only a few tribes remained on our land. One of these is represented by comrade Saifuddin. The Han nationalist is not pure by blood; it is a mixture of various small tribes. So many people wrongly think that the Han are a nationality by themselves; in fact, they are a mixture of nationalities. You will go to Guangdong, where the central part of the population is not Han, and they have many dialects there. You can see this on your return from Vietnam.
Vietnam is in the North of the 17th parallel. Guangdong is north of the 20th parallel. It is a subtropical region; you will see.
What places will you visit in China?
Comrade Mihal: Shanghai, Kunming, Nanning, Shenyang, Anshan.
Comrade Mao Zedong: Good. At the same time, you will be going to all the socialist countries of the East: China, Vietnam, Korea, and Mongolia. We are compact: Twelve socialist countries with the Soviet Union at the top. By being united, we can solve issues more easily. With the exception of your country, all our countries have territorial connections. You would have such connection also, if it were not for Yugoslavia.
Do you travel to the Soviet Union through Yugoslavia? Nothing has happened?
Comrade Vasil: We have regular air connections with Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia.
Comrade Mao Zedong: Do you have a special agreement with Yugoslavia?
Comrade Liri Belishova: Yes. Earlier, they did not want us to go through their country, so we were forced to cross six seas.
Comrade Haxhi Lleshi: This continued for many years.
Comrade Liri Belishova: In 1956, they let us fly over Yugoslavia, in an attempt to show their “good will.” Of course, this is in their interest also because they wanted to have air connections that went through Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and so on.
Comrade Mao Zedong: Do you have diplomatic relations with Yugoslavia?
Comrade Liri Belishova: Entirely formal ones. The Yugoslav minister in Albania has been recalled and has been appointed ambassador to Romania.
Comrade Mao Zedong: What is the rank of their diplomatic representative in your country?
Comrade Liri Belishova: Chargé d'affaires.
Comrade Mao Zedong: The same as here.
Comrade Liri Belishova: Many times, they would intentionally not invite our ambassador to receptions so that he would be discredited. When the diplomatic corps went hunting, they would not invite him. They have been fighting against our party and state for 17 years, and they engage in propaganda and espionage. All their diplomats are spies, officers of UDB, engaging in cover operations, seeking to establish contacts with anti-party elements, people who have been expelled from the party, gathering them in opposition to us, sending spies to our country, both individuals and groups.
Comrade Mao Zedong: Is your border with them a long one?
Comrade Liri Belishova: Explains the border situation with them and adds that they fight against us with all means, but we have always been vigilant and have not allowed them to execute their plans. Our party is strongly united. It is a new party, but a very combative one. The people are tightly united with the party, so there is nothing they can do to us.
Comrade Mao Zedong: You are very strong, and have fought and continue to fight with success. Your closeness is wonderful. Yugoslavia has 17 million people, and of course it is bigger than you are, but there is nothing it can do to you if you are united. Therefore, rely on your closeness and in your fighting spirit. Moreover, Yugoslavia knows that you are not alone; the entire socialist camp is behind you. In addition, the broad working masses of capitalist countries also help you. We also do not feel alone. The US politics is to isolate China, through these anti-China campaigns, but it looks like they will not be successful. At one time they placed their hope on the destruction of our people’s communes. Now they must have gotten convinced that it is difficult for our communes to fail. We have unity and closeness within the country.
At the same time, they hope to sow discord, to divide the socialist camp, to drive a wedge between China and the Soviet Union, but it looks like they will be disappointed in this regard also.
Beyond the socialist camp that is compact, the broad masses of the world’s people do not support the politics of the US. At most, one-tenth of the world supports them. The socialist camp has close to one billion people. The capitalist world has 1.7 billion. So the question is: How many people support the politics of America? Not that many, maybe for every ten people there is one who supports it. So they are faced with many difficulties when they want to fight against the Soviet Union, China, and the other socialist countries. They have faced many obstacles on this path. First and foremost, their rearward—Latin America—is not stable. The majority of Africans are not with the imperialists. The Asians, with the exception of the servants of imperialism, do not support them, as shown by the events in South Korea. A broad and massive campaign against the military American-Japanese treaty is taking place in Japan. In South Vietnam, similarly, the broad masses of people are at war against the servant of the Americans, their president Ngo Dinh Diem.
Turkey is another example. We have faith that the day will come when the Turkish people will become masters of their own country. Or let us look at the Arab countries. So, it is not easy to suppress the struggle of people who fight against imperialism.
As far as their politics of isolating China is concerned, it will not be successful.
Do you have a representative at the UN?
Comrade Liri Belishova: We do. We were admitted not long ago. Their position with us was absurd. We took part in the war and were among the countries that signed the peace treaty, as allies. Albania had 70,000 partisans in a country of 1 million inhabitants, whereas now it has 1.5 million inhabitants. Other than this, many were active in conditions of illegality or in the background. But they still did not want to admit us at the UN.
Comrade Haxhi Lleshi: When they admitted us, the Americans voted against.
Comrade Liri Belishova: We were admitted at the UN when the former occupiers were also admitted.
Comrade Mao Zedong: You do not have diplomatic relations with the USA?
Comrade Vasil: No.
Comrade Liri Belishova: (Explains the history of relations with the Americans, their sabotaging, and so on.)
Comrade Mao Zedong: So, this is how they left Albania and did not recognize you. No matter, you will keep on living even without their recognition. The United States, France, and Japan do not recognize us, and since these countries do not recognize us, other countries also hesitate to recognize us. The US recognizes Chiang Kai-shek. And so the countries of Latin America have a hard time to establish diplomatic relations with us, just as Italy, Greece, and Turkey. Because of the influence of the US, they do not recognize us. But this is not important. We can wait for a period of time. But how long will this period of time last? As long as they wish.
All the fraternal countries of the East—Korea, Mongolia, Vietnam—are not represented at the UN. We are all unlawful according to them.
Comrade Mihal: Says that the time will come when they will admit you, because no important international issue can be settled without the countries of the East.
Comrade Mao Zedong: At present China cannot be called a powerful country. This is also why they give us a hard time. They recognize only one thing: the large population of China. In terms of economics, we accept that we have just begun to get ahead. It has only been ten years since we have been building, so there are reasons why they do not recognize us. Thus, if they want to recognize us, they must return Taiwan to us. On this issue, we are not coming to terms with them. We say that Taiwan belongs to China. They must remove their troops from there, but feel bad doing that.
Comrade Liri Belishova: Especially for the old man.
Comrade Mao Zedong: The problem of the old man is not so great. They want to be done with Chiang Kai-shek. They want to support another group, just as in South Korea, where ahead of the large popular movement, they gave up on [Korean president] Syngman Rhee, and just as it seems to have happened in Turkey.
Comrade Liri Belishova: Notes that we have been in China for a short while, but we have observed how the Chinese people works with great enthusiasm and heroism, so from the economic perspective, China will achieve its goal very quickly.
Comrade Mao Zedong: It takes time.
Comrade Liri Belishova: Says that surely great successes will be achieved, especially with the assistance of the Soviet Union.
Comrade Mao Zedong: As things look, our situation will be improved.
Then comrade Mao Zedong asks if this is the first time that the comrades come to China, asks how long the ambassador has been here, and says that he knows well the previous ambassador (comrade Delo Balili). He was a very good comrade, says comrade Mao.
Comrade Liri Belishova: Says that he is now an ambassador in the United Arab Republic, and says that we have had old historic relations with those countries.
Comrade Mao Zedong: With which countries?
Comrade Liri explains that she means Arab countries, and explains the context of relations between them and Albania.
Comrade Mao Zedong: Do you exchange visitors with those countries?
Comrade Liri says that delegations are exchanged, and notes the Arab countries with which we have diplomatic relations.
Comrade Mao Zedong: Do you have diplomatic relations with Turkey?
Comrade Vasil: For a year now.
Comrade Haxhi Lleshi: speaks about the successes achieved by the Chinese people, about which we had heard but now we had a chance to see for ourselves. Also speaks about the successes of our people, for the unity between our people, party, and government, and gives thanks for the invitation to our delegation to visit China.
Comrade Mao Zedong: Very well. I express my heartfelt thanks for inspiring the Chinese people. We are always with you, giving each other assistance at every turn.
Of course, our camp is led by the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union has experience of more than 40 years. It is the first socialist state in the world. We all learn from the Soviet Union. They help all the socialist countries.
You will be going to Anshan. You will see there the metallurgical complex built with the assistance of the Soviet Union, as well as others, some 170 industrial objects.
What about Wuhan, will you not go there?
Comrade Mihal: It has not been part of the plan; next time (joking).
Comrade Mao Zedong: A large metallurgical complex is being planned there.
Comrade Haxhi Lleshi: One behalf of our people, thanks once again to comrade Mao for the great assistance and conveys the heartfelt greetings of comrades Enver and Mehmet.
Comrade Mao Zedong: Many thanks for your words. Please give my regards to them. I have met comrades Enver and Mehmet several times. How is their health?
Comrade Haxhi Lleshi: They’re doing well.
Comrade Mao Zedong: The best wishes to them and their health, as well as all other party and government leaders. You live and fight on the front line, so everywhere you go, the Chinese people will show great sympathy to you.
Comrade Haxhi Lleshi: We have always stood strong, but not by ourselves alone, but with the help of the camp.
Comrade Mao Zedong: Entirely correct. The Arab countries constitute a broad field of action for you. The people of these countries share sentiments of friendship for you, as you noted, even as the leaders of some of these countries, like Saudi Arabia and Turkey, do not behave in a very friendly way with you. But the people of these countries are not against the socialist camp, and neither against you.
Let us take the example of Pakistan. A Muslim country, it is far from you, but the broad masses of people stand in friendship with us. Pakistan is a NATO member, like Turkey is a member of SEATO. I have faith that across the world the stubborn reactionaries comprise at most one-tenth of the people. The other nine-tenth are with us, so we are not alone. The advancement of the entire world is assured.
The imperialists call us a gathering of Eastern winds. They call themselves the Western world, but in fact the Western world comprises very few countries: Western Europe and a part of America. Other than this, there are intermediate zones. In fact, even within the Western world itself there is no unity. There are disagreements between the USA and England, between the USA and France. There are similarly contradictions in the relations between their people and their governments. In this regard, then, our situation is favorable.
I am very optimistic regarding the situation in the world. If the USA has atomic weapons, and hydrogen ones, the Soviet Union also has them.
Comrade Liri Belishova: Even more and even better ones, in fact.
Comrade Mao Zedong: If they say that China is a poor country, whereas the USA is a wealthy country, we say to them: Give us time and we will become wealthy also, whereas the Soviet Union and the other wealthy socialist countries will become even wealthier. The poor countries will change their appearance. What exists in the capitalist world can also be achieved in the socialist camp, perhaps even better.
Comrade Liri Belishova: They have achieved this by drinking our blood. They are the culprits of the poverty of China and other countries.
Comrade Mao Zedong: This is true. Perhaps we will leave it here?
Comrade Liri says that we are deeply touched by this meeting.
The meeting ends here.
The protocol was kept by Myfit Mushi.
It was typed by M. Mushi and F.K. 3 copies.
 Translator’s note: Myanmar (formerly Burma) was referred to as Birmania.
 Translator note: A diplomat who serves as an embassy’s chief of mission in the absence of an ambassador.
 Translator’s note: Refers to what was known as the State Security Administration, Yugoslavia’s secret police, according to the Serbo-Croatian acronym (also used in Albanian speech) for Uprava državne bezbednosti.
 Translator’s note: In fact, Pakistan was a member of SEATO (the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization) whereas Turkey was a member of NATO since 1952.
Mao Zedong converses with Lira Belishova, Haxhi Lleshi, and Vasil Nathanaili. Mao shares his views on the United States, Japan, and Chiang Kai-shek’s Taiwan. Mao also asks about Albania, its relations with neighboring countries such as Yugoslavia, Italy, and Turkey, and its foreign policy more generally.
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