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July 16, 1964

Record of Conversation from Chairman Mao’s Reception of with Pakistani Minister of Commerce Wahid Zaman

This document was made possible with support from Henry Luce Foundation



Record of Conversation from Chairman Mao’s Reception of with Pakistani Minister of Commerce Wahid Zaman

Time: 5 pm, July 16, 1964

Location: Zhongnanhai Shuinian Hall


Chairman Mao: Welcome, friends.


Wahid Zaman: It is a great honor to see you, you are the greatest man of our time.


Chairman Mao: I know very little but I have do a lot of work. Before age 50, I did more work but now I do less.


Zaman: This could be. Thanks to your guidance, your country is going from success to success.


Chairman Mao: We have been engaged in socialist construction but some things we have not been able to do because we have no experience. We established the state fifteen years ago and now I have some experience. How many years have you been a country?


Zaman: Seventeen years.


Chairman Mao: You may have had experience at first.


Zaman: This is only natural. You established one of the greatest countries in the world in very difficult times. We don't have such big difficulties.


Chairman Mao: You also have had difficulties. Britain ruled you for hundreds of years. After independence, you were divided up into two countries, India and Pakistan. Pakistan itself was divided into East Pakistan and West Pakistan. Why couldn’t these two parts have been linked together?


Zaman: If India were sensible, these two parts could be linked together. But they would never agree to that.


Chairman Mao: Myanmar also has a bad relationship with India.


Zaman: Myanmar, Ceylon [Sri Lanka] and other neighboring countries have also had a bad relationship with India.


Chairman Mao: You have a similar social system to India while we are communists and atheism. Why are you not afraid of us but are afraid of them? You don’t fear the Communist Party but you fear the capitalists.


Zaman: We are not afraid of anyone. We are not afraid of people, we are afraid of poisonous snakes.


Chairman Mao: I think this is because we have no conflicts of interest and no border disputes. We don't want to encroach on your land. You don't want our Tibet or Xinjiang either. Neither of us wants to exploit and oppress. We are equal and as equals we can be friends.


Zaman: Yes. Both of us have suffered from imperialism in the past. We suffered in many different ways but now we are independent. You must develop your country and we must develop ours. We live in peace with our neighbors, and so do you. With regard to the Kashmir issue, we believe that it is up to the Kashmiri people to decide for themselves. If they want to belong to India, we will help them; if they want to belong to Pakistan, India will help them; if they want independence, India and Pakistan will help them.


Chairman Mao: What religion do the Kashmiri people believe in?


Zaman: Ninety percent believe in Islam. When India and Pakistan were divided, they should have belonged to Pakistan, but India occupied Kashmir.


Chairman Mao: India has a large territory and Pakistani territory is small. Why does India want to occupy Kashmir? Wouldn't it be better if India gave Kashmir and that 2,000-square-kilometer area to Pakistan?


Zaman: As long as it is fair and reasonable. Nepal may already have been annexed.


Chairman Mao: We had good relations with India for several years. Then when we took Tibet back, India got annoyed.


Zaman: They are very greedy.


Chairman Mao: India not only infringed on 90,000 square kilometers of Chinese territory but they want all of Tibet as well.


Zaman: We are waiting for history to repeat itself. India cannot unite to become one country. They are all too greedy.


Chairman Mao: The Indian people are good, but capitalists like Nehru are not good.


Zaman: Some Indian people are very good, but the regime is in the hands of greedy people.


Chairman Mao: Yes, the regime is in the hands of Bira and the Tata Group. The Soviet Union helped India attack us. We seized their helicopters. India has occupied 90,000 square kilometers of Chinese territory. Successive Chinese governments (including Yuan Shikai and Chiang Kai-shek) did not acknowledge it as Indian territory. India still that is not enough and wanted Tibet. We took Tibet back and they occupied a large slice of Chinese territory.


Zaman: We know.


Chairman Mao: We built roads in the west. We have known anything about that place for hundreds of years. There were no human settlements at all. But they sent troops in anyways. The two armies were only a few tens of kilometers apart. After the Indian army circled behind our army, and went anywhere they wanted, throwing shit on our heads. We couldn’t tolerate that any longer.


Zaman: If the Chinese army fights for another fifteen days, India will learn to behave properly. The former Assam civil affairs officials have all fled.


Chairman Mao: In the east we will ceasefire when we reach the traditional line and return the seized military equipment and prisoners. The Indian soldiers thought we were going to take their things, but we didn't take them. If they lacked clothes, we gave them cotton coats. If they had lost money on the battlefield and we found it and gave it back to them.


Zaman: I watched the movie. No other country in the world treats prisoners of war so well. You treat them the same way that we Pakistanis treat our son-in-law.


Chairman Mao: India sent troops to participate in the Second World War. The soldiers were captured by Germany and Japan, and they were not well treated. I think China treats prisoners of war better.


Zaman: They certainly must be willing to be captured by China again.


Chairman Mao: We have not only ceased fire, but the army has also withdrawn ten kilometers from the illegal McMahon Line. The two sides are not in contact. During this period, India behaved better and did not approach our side.


Zaman: The problem is that India is recovering now. They are timid. People feel brave when they fight for justice.


Chairman Mao: Indian officers are Indians are of the Hindu nationality [??] but the soldiers belong to ethnic minorities.


Chairman Mao: Gurkha soldiers do not want to fight with us. Indian forts face to front, left and right only while the back is empty. We got behind them and captured them all. Why did Indian commander General Brij Mohan Kaul and the three brigadiers able to escape? This was a route that we had not cut off. Our staff made a mistake. Otherwise they would have become prisoners.


Zaman: He had been getting ready to escape for a long while.


Chairman Mao: We cut off many roads but did not cut off that small road. We have three and a half divisions stretching from the west to the east. Even though the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union have given India weapons, India cannot fight. Don't be afraid, if you fight, we believe that your army will be strong.


Zaman: They are cowards, they can't fight. There have been very few wars in Indian history. But like a cobra, they use the Chinese conflict to get money from the United States.


Chairman Mao: They said that we were bring in more troops every day. In fact, we are withdrawing the army. The troops from Sichuan and Qinghai went home. Now there are only one and a half divisions. I once said to the former Indian ambassador, the younger Nehru, that our main enemy is the United States. You are not our enemy. Later, I ordered that Chinese soldiers are not allowed to shoot at the Indian army. A Chinese soldier ran to India and told them about it. They thought we would never shoot. They are very happy and went to our rear areas to walk around. We changed our plan. We increased our strength to three-and-a-half divisions, hit them, and then retreated. They weren’t expecting that.


Zaman: If China keeps fighting for another two weeks, the Indian government will collapse.


Chairman Mao: We are no longer fighting because India has no soldiers and there are no targets. Who will we attack? Shall we attack the mountain? Shall we attack the rocks? If India had any troops there, we could fight. Their main forces face Pakistan, and they can’t afford to concentrate troops to fight China or to fight the Naga. But they still want to fight us. We fight them and wipe them out. Then India has no soldiers but still isn’t willing to pull troops away from the India-Pakistan border. They only transfer small numbers of troops to the border.


Zaman: India still provokes Pakistan. But if they want to come in, they will not go back home. Pakistan will not be as kind as China.


Chairman Mao: You should concentrate on your own affairs. The Indian people now face a difficult situation. Hundreds of millions of people are without food. The rich are rich and the poor are poor. Why are China and Pakistan so friendly and reasonable?


Zaman: The friendship between China and Pakistan keeps getting better. I received a warm welcome and sincere reception in your country.


Chairman Mao: That is how things should be. We have common enemies - the United States and India. The economies of China and Pakistan are not developed and should support each other. Do you have a steel industry?


Zaman: We are building one in Dongba and Seba.


Chairman Mao: A steel industry is essential. If you need to import steel and machinery, your economy cannot be independent. Are you still importing cement? You should build your own cement plant.


Zaman: West Pakistan has a cement plant, Dongba has no raw materials and so wants to import raw materials from India.


Chairman Mao: Does Dongba have no limestone?


Zaman: We are looking for it now, I don’t know if I have it.


Chairman Mao: They may have it there. Is there iron ore?


Zaman: Dongba does not have any. There are some in Seba, but the quality is not high, and the iron content is only about 30%.


Chairman Mao: You’ll want to have ore that is 40% iron. The Anshan Iron Mine produces ore that is just over 30% iron.


Zaman: Travel is inconvenient and there are mountains.


Chairman Mao: The railway should be repaired. Without steel, machinery and chemical industries, the economy cannot be independent.


Zaman: That's right. We are working on that right now.


Chairman Mao: Imperialism will not help its colonies and semi-colonies to build heavy industry.


Zaman: They try to exploit us as much as possible.


Chairman: From the Qing Dynasty to Chiang Kai-shek, China has produced only 50,000 tons of steel and over 200 geological technicians and workers. Now we have more than 200,000 geological workers looking for underground resources.


Zaman: We also want to do this, but India makes us uneasy, causes trouble and the western countries help them.


Chairman Mao: India has already built a steel plant and is building another, all with the help of the Soviet Union. India gets that help but Pakistan is left out. You have to suffer. Pakistan has a large population of about 100 million people. The land is not small. How many square kilometers are there?


Zaman: 356,000 square miles.


Chairman Mao: It's amazing. There are very few countries as large as that. There are five countries in the West, including the United States, Britain, France, Germany, and Italy. In the East, there are China, the Soviet Union, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Japan and other countries. Pakistan is one of them. Pakistan is larger than Britain, France, and Italy. The population of the UK is 50 million, France 40 million, and Italy is about 40 million. Among Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg, the steel production of Belgium is eight million tons, the Netherlands six million tons, and the Luxembourg three million tons. Pakistan can build a good country in ten, twenty or thirty years. That will be enough time to build light industry, heavy industry and agriculture. The underdeveloped countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America should all be developed.


Zaman: Thank you very much, we will do it this way.


Chairman Mao: You need to go step-by-step and not push too hard. If you can afford it, you should engage in geological exploration, agriculture, light industry, and accumulate funds, and then build heavy industry. Agriculture first, light industry next, and heavy industry third is called “Agriculture, Light and Heavy”. Factories should not be too big. In the past, we made mistakes, we made factories that were too big and strove to make them "Tall, Big, Precision and Sharp” and took a loss. This is what the Soviet friends taught us. Later, the Soviet Union withdrew their experts and tore up our contracts. We had no alternative, we had to do it on our own. The Soviet Union also forced us to pay off our debts. During the several “years of difficulty” we paid off 95% of what we owed. We can pay it all off next year. We do not borrow from foreigners nor do we contract domestic debt. We can pay off our domestic debts in 1968. In the future, we will not contract domestic debt. We will be entirely self-reliant. Funds come from agriculture and light industry, and from heavy industry. This may not be suitable for Pakistan. Perhaps Pakistan needs to borrow abroad. Do you borrow between $400 million and $500 million a year in the United States?


Zaman: About 500 million US dollars.


Chairman Mao: That’s too much. They are creditors. You are debtors.


Zaman: We have to pay for the money we plan to borrow.


Chairman Mao: Over the past ten years, twenty years and thirty years, all the debts will have been paid off. The money we borrowed will not matter, the amount is small and the loans are interest-free and for terms of 50 to 100 years would be alright but not yet. The main thing is that if you can get rich, you will be fine. You will be able to boycott the United States, Britain and India, and you will be fine. You will need to make weapons. Can you make them? Start by repairing them and move up to building them yourself later.


Zaman: That is just what we are doing. Thank you for receiving me.


Chairman Mao: I have spoken with Minister Bhutto. Please pass along my greetings to the President.




Mao and Wahid Zaman discuss Pakistan and China's problems with India, imperialism, and the economic conditions in their countries.

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