April 2, 1958
Record of Conversation between Polish Delegation and PRC Leader Mao Zedong, Wuhan
This document was made possible with support from MacArthur Foundation
Warsaw April 29, 1958
People’s Republic of Poland
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Dept. V China 074/19/58
The Central Committee [of the] PUWP
The Secretariat of Cde. Gomułka
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is sending enclosed the note of the PPR Ambassador in Beijing from the conversation of the Polish Governmental Delegation with Cde. Mao Zedong, which occurred on 4.2 of this year, with a request of submitting it to the I Secretary of the CC PUWP, Cde. W. Gomułka.
Director of Department V
Dept. V China 074/19/58
Minutes from the Conversation between the Polish Delegation (Vice Premier Jaroszewicz) and Comrade Mao Zedong which took place in Wuhan on 4.2.1958
First of all, Vice Premier Jaroszewicz passed on greetings from Cdes. Gomułka, Zawadzki and Cyrankiewicz. Comrade Mao warmheartedly thanked [them] and asked him to pass on greetings to those mentioned above. Referring to the Delegation’s trip, Comrade Mao asked the delegation to share with him the impressions from its stay in China.
Comrade Jaroszewicz described the most striking aspects of the activity of the PRC while emphasizing at the same time the great significance of the production leap in industry and agriculture in China.
In reply to this, Comrade Mao stated that China was still a very backward country and it will need a lot of time in order to catch up with the leading countries of Europe. The PRC made a goal for itself to catch up with Great Britain in global industrial production in the course of 15 years. In reality, this task will be carried out in the next 10-12 years. The PRC will become equal with England in the next 5 years, and in the production of steel in the next 10 years. It will be more difficult to achieve the level of production in other branches of industry, as for example, in power engineering, etc., but the task will be accomplished. If the momentum of the production is maintained at the current level, then the PRC will catch up with the US in global industrial production in the next 20-25 years. Capitalist production cannot develop as quickly as socialist production, since its purpose is profit for the capitalists and not a nationwide struggle for building a happy future. The working masses can accomplish miracles if they are guided and if the workers and the peasants take the program of the Party and the Government as their own.
Mao was talking about the great production leap which is being carried out both in the city as well as in the countryside after the campaign of “repairing of the working style” and a victorious struggle against the Rightists. He stated that 70 percent of the population (450 million people) supports the policy of the CCP and sees it as its own. 20 percent of the population takes a vacillating position. This is 120 million people which consists of rich peasants, part of the intelligentsia, ex-merchants and ex-industrialists. One can draw them into an active construction of socialism through the clever policy of the Party and the Government. 10 per cent of the population (around 60 million) are determined enemies of socialism. These are the ex-landowners (about 30 million) and previous great merchants and great industrialists. A fight is being conducted with these elements and their political and economic influences are limited. If they demonstrate hostile activity, then they are fought administratively. Such a struggle is a long-term process and, to some degree, it depends on the results of the political economy of the PRC. If China catches up in global industrial production with England and the US, then the majority of these people will consent to socialism. The CCP desires to educate them while using all forms of persuasion and repression. These elements are not allowed in management in offices, factories and collective farms. These elements can be exploited in the construction of socialism just like “the scraps in factories,” from which useful things can be made.
In 1957, a harsh fight was carried out against the Rightist elements. 300 thousand Rightists were exposed in all of China. Stalinist methods are not used against them and they are not removed physically. Many of them understood their errors and submitted a self-criticism. A meeting of 2000 Rightists took place in Beijing. After having submitted self-criticism, they decided to persistently work on their transformation and actively join in the construction of socialism. (Comrade Mao gave instructions to the party secretary of Hubei province, who was present at the conversation, to conduct similar meetings in Wuhan). The Rightists were removed from leadership positions, but they were allowed to work and to earn their bread honestly. If they show good work, then the name of “Rightist” will be removed.
Comrade Mao asks the delegates whether they have met with the Rightists in China and he earnestly recommends to them such a meeting. He emphasizes that he himself meets with familiar Rightists and he discusses with them in order to become familiar with their point of view and to convince them about the correct stance of the Party.
Comrade Jaroszewicz explains that so far the delegation has not yet met with the Rightists and he underscores that there is no lack of rightist elements in Poland either.
Referring to the international situation, Comrade Mao emphasizes that the struggle between socialism and capitalism will last for [many] long years. The capitalists want to weaken socialism, and socialist countries must strengthen their unity. The [November 1957] declaration of the communist and workers’ parties in Moscow [is] a great step forward on the way to strengthening the unity of the socialist camp. Only the Communist Party of the US did not accept the declaration. Currently, after the ousting of the revisionist group of Gates from the Party, the newly elected leadership supported the “Moscow declaration.”
Socialist countries must help each other and to make use of the rich experiences of the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. Each country has its own specific forms and methods of building socialism on the basis of the teachings of Marxism-Leninism. One should not automatically copy foreign patterns. One should learn [lit. take] what is best from friends. One should study with insight everything that is bad in order to avoid serious mistakes. If mistakes were made, they need to be corrected. Speaking of mistakes from the past, Comrade Mao states that they were a good lesson for China. That is why China can currently build with a greater force. It can produce more, better, quicker and cheaper.
Speaking of the mutual assistance of socialist countries, Comrade Mao asks the delegation whether they are pleased with the results of negotiations. Cde. Jaroszewicz thanks Cde. Mao for [taking] a personal interest in the negotiations; he states that the atmosphere of the negotiations was unusually warmhearted. Both sides showed the maximum of their goodwill in order to reach an agreement regarding a long-term commercial exchange. Such an agreement will help in the building of socialism both in Poland and in China, as well as strengthen the friendship and cooperation of the entire socialist camp.
Cde. Mao speaks of the duty of every communist in order to help in tightening the ties of friendship between socialist countries. He explains that in the initial stages of the negotiations there were difficulties on the Chinese side because some comrades from the Ministry of Foreign Trade of the PRC approached this issue as the “conservatives.” The Party examined the matter and showed them that they were wrong. They quickly understood the position of the Party and then the situation changed at once. Proper merchandise was found for an exchange and the agreement was reached.
In the further course of the conversation, Comrade Mao was interested in the affairs of the PPR. He was asking and he stated himself that the PUWP, despite its name, is a party [based] on communist principles and that its members are communists. He was asking for the recent verification of the PUWP and its results. He defined the verification as cleansing and he praised it fully. As to economic matters, he emphasized the importance of a serious increase in the contribution of industry in Poland’s national income. (Before the war, industry constituted 32-35 per cent of the national income; currently it constitutes over 65 per cent of the national income). They expressed appreciation for the policy of Comrade Gomułka, which calls on the nation to save and to increase the accumulation for investment purposes. He asked for a clarification of whether the standard of living in Poland, CPR, and the GDR is higher than in the Soviet Union.
Comrade Jaroszewicz explained that the consumption of some consumer goods is higher in Poland than in the Soviet Union.
In reply to this, Comrade Mao stated that Poland should not look to the West when it comes to standard of living. It should compare its standard of living with the East, and especially with the Soviet Union. One should not increase, without limits, the norm of food [intake]. In his opinion, the norm should be set at 2400 calories a day, and all other sources should be geared towards industry, development of education, culture and arts. In connection with this he defined capitalists as limited people, and he called [US Secretary of State John Foster] Dulles more stupid than any hardworking [lit. well-working] Chinese peasant.
While referring to the standard of living in the PRC, Comrade Mao said that the Chinese nation will still have to work hard under hard conditions in order to catch up with the leading capitalist countries and in the development of the production level per capita. In his opinion, this could take 100 to 1000 years. He emphasized that the standard of living in China will not rise quickly and that currently there is no tendency to increase the wages.
While referring to agriculture production, he was talking about the fact that, in China, 2 mu (mu = 1/15 ha) of arable land falls per capita. He stated that with the proper technology, 1 mu of the arable land would be sufficient for feeding a person. Currently, it has been decided in China that poor land would be turned into fertile land. Over there, where the land is too hard and has too much clay, the peasants will mix it with sand. At the same time they will conduct a deep tillage, 30 cm, with ploughs and, where it becomes necessary, they will dig the land with shovels to the depth of 50 cm. Of course, such work cannot be accomplished within one year. It will be spread out for 10 or more years. This work will pay off since it should bring the productivity of land to 100 per cent. Comrade Mao advised the same be done in Poland. He apologized to Comrade Gomułka, whom he advised to farm cotton in Poland. After having studied this issue, he understood that it was impossible [to do so].
While analyzing the excessive population growth, Comrade Mao pointed out that it will become very crowded on earth in 10 thousand years. Then, the careful regulation and organization of life will become very necessary. There will be as many people as flies and it will be difficult to live without excellent organization. Currently, the possibility of individual freedom is much higher. In such a distant future, a person, when wanting to go out of his apartment, would have to ask for permission and would have to patiently wait in line for his turn. There will be a huge traffic in air communication due to the huge number of airplanes, etc. Poland would count over 280 million people and Warsaw over 10 million people. One has to think about this future now and that is why the daily calorie intake per person must be limited to 2400 calories.
While analyzing the situation in industry, Comrade Mao stated that the mistake of both the PRC, as well as of many other countries, is too fast of a development and the increase of the cities. Industry should not be developed by increasing the number of workers, given current technology. China has 24 million workers and office workers. The CCP thinks that there are 6 million too many who are employed. 3 million could be sent back to the countryside. This is being partially carried out through a campaign of sending cadre workers to the countryside. New industrial facilities will be built for those three million remaining where they will be able to find employment. The issue of proportion of the population in the countryside and the city is a very important matter. According to Comrade Mao, people in the city should constitute 30-40 per cent of the overall population.
At the end of the conversation, Comrade Mao expressed the conviction that mutual contacts, exchange of experiences as well as economic cooperation between Poland and China will be further developing and strengthened.
The talk was reproduced by the PPR Ambassador in Beijing, Stanisław Kiryluk
Chairman Mao and Comrade Jaroszewicz changed their views about the plan to catch up with western countries, the excessive population growth, the agriculture production.
The History and Public Policy Program welcomes reuse of Digital Archive materials for research and educational purposes. Some documents may be subject to copyright, which is retained by the rights holders in accordance with US and international copyright laws. When possible, rights holders have been contacted for permission to reproduce their materials.
To enquire about this document's rights status or request permission for commercial use, please contact the History and Public Policy Program at [email protected].