Zhou Enlai, Ri Ju-yeon, and Pak Seong-cheol discuss Japanese militarism, U.S. imperialism, the issue of Korean citizenship for Koreans in Japan, the Chinese 5-year plan, and military preparations.
November 11, 1965
Record of Second Conversation of Premier Zhou Enlai and Vice Premier Chen Yi with Foreign Minister Pak Seong-cheol
This document was made possible with support from Henry Luce Foundation
Foreign Ministry Top Secret Archives
Record of Second Conversation of Premier Zhou Enlai and Vice Premier Chen Yi with Vice Premier Ri Ju-yeon [Ri Ju-yon]
(Premier, Vice Premier have not yet examined and approved)
Time: 8:30 a.m. To 1:30 p.m., 11 November 1965
Location: Conference Room, Villa 4, Diaoyutai State Guest House
Chinese side: Li Xiannian, Fang Yi, Zhang Hanfu, Qiao Guanhua, Li Qiang, Hao Deqing, Jiao Ruoyu, Liu Xianglun
Korean side: Pak Seong-cheol (Pak Song-chol), Pak Se-chang
Chinese side: Jiang Chunyi
Korean side: Kim Sun-ho
Chinese side. Tao Bingwei, He Zhangming
Korean side: Go Sang-gyun [Ko Sang-gyun], Baek Hyeong-bu [Paek Hyong-bu]
Vice Premier Chen Yi (hereafter, “Chen”): I will first discuss our relations with Asian and African countries and the situation in Asia and Africa.
From October last year until the present, for over a year now, we have largely spent our time in work on Asian and African countries. At the present time we have developed the following assessment: The world situation and the situation in Asia and Africa, generally speaking, are now diverging, various forces are restructuring, and the fight is now penetrating deeply. Although there has been a turn to the right, the general trend is one that is beneficial to the various countries and peoples of the world and is not beneficial to imperialism.
The imperialist camp is now splitting. Relations between [Charles] de Gaulle and the United States are tense, with his call for a reorganization of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Although Britain is prepared to follow the United States unconditionally, on the whole, they cannot entirely follow the United States. Public opinion in London is now discussing Britain’s three prospects: First, should it become the forty-ninth [sic] state of the United States? Second, should it become a “peaceful and neutral” country like Switzerland? Third, should it enter the European Communities (EC)? First, discussion is taking place via a well-known British magazine. The Times is also discussing this problem. Officials of the British Foreign Ministry and some members of the bourgeois class have also talked about this problem with our charge d’affaires. They said: Britain is a small country, Britain is a sick person. In the past they said that China was the sick man of East Asia. Now they themselves say that this label is in the past. Today Britain relies on foreign imports for 90 percent of its industrial raw materials. It relies on foreign imports for agricultural products as well. The British clearly understand that the continuing development of the Asian, African, and Latin American national liberation movements is not beneficial to them in these two matters. They will be facing the general collapse of their industry and agriculture. What remains is the British metropole, and it only has a little coal and iron. Now the British discuss and know: They cannot become a state of the United States. As for becoming a “peaceful and neutral” country like Switzerland, they also know that it would be very difficult to achieve, because Britain is not in the center of Europe, but in Western Europe. They think that the greatest potential would be to join the EC. Britain’s bourgeois class has an optimistic assessment, which is that Britain, France, and West Germany would establish a united EC that would be able to contend with the United States and the Soviet Union. The forces of such countries as Britain, France, and West Germany, added together, could in industry be nearly equal to that of the United States, although there would still be a little less. In agriculture, they can themselves think of a solution. Therefore, they can contend with the United States and the Soviet Union, confront the national forces of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and become a third force.However, the French and Europeans do not approve of assimilating Britain’s joining the EC. Britain day after day is turning into a satellite state of the United States. The British ruling class, of course, is still struggling. At present the Labor Party government is more subservient than the Conservative Party to the United States. But they are still going to continue struggling. Therefore, relations within imperialism, too, are undergoing reorganization. In their anti-communist and anti-popular aspects, they are in accord. There is no problem on this point. However, what they are against is a true communist party, not a revisionist “communism,” and they still are using revisionism. A demand that they completely accept US leadership and completely submit to US policy would be impossible. De Gaulle would oppose it. We are quite able to use such relations within imperialism. In short, imperialist forces are undergoing reorganization.
Asia, Africa, and Latin America also face such a situation. In certain places, reversals have appeared. In the past many African countries one after another became independent. By the end of last year, in all there were 36 countries that had won independence. It is an excellent situation. Now, some reversals have appeared. Tunisia, Malawi, French West Africa, and the [Moise Kapenda] Tshombe and [Joseph] Kasa-Vubu cliques in Congo (Leopoldville) have completely turned into imperialist running dogs and openly embraced imperialism. They say that the United States is not imperialism, that the old colonialism of Britain and France did them little harm, and that what endangers Africa today is China imperialism: communist imperialism. If one says that, not long after having just won independence, they also had to put up signs of anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism, and national independence, well, today such signs have been taken down. There are probably not a dozen such countries. Within those countries, there is constant resistance. The true nationalists of those countries will rise up and change situations of this kind.
Burundi, under US and Belgian imperialist pressure, expelled our ambassador. Recently, a coup d’etat took place in Burundi. Burundi’s president and vice president of the National Assembly, and even the foreign minister and some ministers, directly told our ambassador to Tanzania that they want to establish diplomatic relations with China.
I spoke just now of some rightist countries. Typical of them is Kenya. The parliament, newspapers, and the [Tom] Mboya group were completely under British control and in public opposition to China. They said that China’s influence in Kenya was greater and more dangerous than that of Britain and the United States. There is some reason to this. It is not completely unfounded. As the working people want thorough emancipation, this is a fundamental threat. Of course, these countries also have Leftists, who maintain friendship with China. President [Jomo] Kenyatta is right of center. Yet, he still wants China’s aid and wants Chinese carpets. We gave him three carpets, and he still wants another two. The government, and Kenyatta personally, both want China’s aid. Our aid includes not only carpets, but pounds sterling as well. We asked him about the anti-Chinese speeches. He said that it was all done at imperialist command, that it was of no importance, and that we must not regard it as important.
Following national independence, there are not many cases of countries turning reactionary. Those are the dozen or so I mentioned.
Foreign Minister Pak Seong-cheol: Is Uganda good or not?
Chen: Uganda is in the middle.
Such countries as Malagasy, Upper Volta, Senegal, Gabon, the Ivory Coast, and Burundi have turned to the right. There have only been a dozen countries that have turned to the right.
A person from Upper Volta went to Mali and Guinea to see the cigarette and sugar factories established with our country’s aid. He said that it was better than British or French aid, hoped that we would also help in the future with construction, and was dissatisfied that his government’s anti-Chinese policy.
These reversals are not only a temporary phenomenon, but also an advantage for this situation. The struggle can penetrate even more deeply. The newly independent African countries must be truly independent. This is the only road.
In addition, some Leftist and Centrist countries are now split. Centrist African countries, after winning their independence, are still depending on imperialist and new and old colonialist loans to live. Imperialism, after granting them independence, has used a great amount of money to buy them off. They are formally independent, but imperialism has advanced its economic control of them. These countries cannot politically abandon anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist slogans, but they cannot escape imperialist economic control. Therefore, politically, they can only balance between the East and West groups. They balance between China and the Soviet Union, between the revolutionary Marxist-Leninist countries of China, Korea, and Vietnam and Soviet revisionism. They balance among Britain, France, and the United States.
Politically, they cannot abandon anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist slogans. Economically, they depend on the new and old colonialisms. Algeria is the best example. They want to apply [Josip Broz] Tito’s experience -- “worker self-management” – and say that they want to follow Cuba’s path. The so-called application of Tito’s experience in reality is the political acceptance of Soviet revisionist influence. For food, they depend on the United States. Their economy depends on France. And all the oil, so much oil, has fallen completely into the hands of France. As long as France gives Algeria some money, that is enough. France can give a little every year. At present Algeria’s annual production of petroleum is more than 20 million tons. That is to say, as well, if there are several kilograms per day per person, one eats well. But they did not obtain it but gave it all away to the French. Therefore, the French every year must give some money. However, Algeria also is not willing to give up the China card. Nor can they abandon such Marxist-Leninist revolutionary countries as Korea and Vietnam. They do not dare cut themselves off completely but have to balance everywhere.
Foreign Minister Pak: We know in general about Algeria’s situation. Where, exactly, is Algeria heading?
Chen: This problem deserves study. It still cannot completely be seen clearly.
Foreign Minister Pak: Where can it go?
Chen: It seems now that [Hourari] Boumediene and [Abdelaziz] Bouteflika are one faction.
Foreign Minister Pak: It is because they are a faction that they have gotten rid of [Ahmed] Ben Bella.
Chen: Boumediene and Bouteflika have contradictions. Bouteflika depends on the United States.
Foreign Minister Pak: Bouteflika was only 28 years old. I wonder whether he really used his own head to think, or whether there were persons controlling him from behind.
Chen: They have contradictions. Boumediene depends on France and West Germany, and the Soviet Union is also competing for him. Ben Bella’s forces still have not been completely purged. To date, there have been demonstrations for Ben Bella Algeria in Algiers and throughout the country. This faction depends on the United Arab Republic (UAR), and its relations with the UAR are very close. [Gamel Abdel] Nasser always wants to catch hold of Boumediene. Nor does he cut relations with Bouteflika. For the sake of maintaining his influence, he supports Ben Bella’s forces. As for Ben Bella’s future, it is hard to say. In addition, does he have truly national revolutionary forces? Does the faction representing Algeria’s toiling people and national revolutionary still have power? These are the questions.
Foreign Minister Pak: Since Boumediene came to power, it seems that he has put forth no new policy. This being so, what is the fundamental reason for his getting rid of Ben Bella?
Chen: It is personal contradictions. He is even more to the right than Ben Bella, and he hasn’t as much prestige as Ben Bella. Therefore, we have said that Algeria’s forces of national revolution in the end will rise up. Now Boumediene and Bouteflika are in constant fear of a new coup d’etat.
Foreign Minister Pak: Putting it that way, Boumediene got rid of Ben Bella not because Ben Bella’s policies were not right, but due to a power struggle between the two of them.
Chen: There was a power struggle. Ben Bella at one point removed from office Boumediene’s minister of national defense. However, perhaps there was foreign influence. Ben Bella’s relations with Boumediene were not good, and imperialism was plotting a coup d’etat. Also, Ben Bella did not meet the aspirations of the Algerian people’s national revolution. He had relations with the United States, the Soviet Union, and Tito. Nor did he cut relations with the Eastern countries or China. However, he is much more inclined towards the UAR. After Boumediene came to power, he blamed Ben Bella for all the domestic economic difficulties. As for foreign policy, Boumediene says that there is nothing wrong and that they can continue to implement it. He mainly has denounced Ben Bella making a mess of the domestic situation. One could talk that way about things from before June, but since June, in August, September, and October, months have passed and the domestic situation has not changed. What does Boumediene say? And next year, what should he say?
Foreign Minister Pak: He said that Ben Bella's domestic policy was a disaster. What exactly was he referring to?
Chen: It is not clear to us, either. But we know one point: the internal struggle is very bitter. There is a struggle within the Council of the Revolution, and Boumediene cannot bring it under control. According to the materials available to us, some of those people depend completely upon France. Some are balancing among the United States, France, and the Soviet Union. Some others are determined to proceed along the road of revolution. The three groups are not united.
The foremost issue at present is that many oil fields, vineyards, and plantations are completely in French hands.
Foreign Minister Pak: As far as we know, they have already confiscated from the French capitalists 300,000 hectares of land (including orchards and plantations). Have they returned them?
Chen: Those lands have been nationalized. It is a fact. However, for maintenance and continued production, they must depend on French money. They also depend on France to buy the grapes planted and the wine made.
Foreign Minister Pak: Can one say that selling things to France is dependence?
Vice Premier Ri Chu-yeon [Ri Chu-yon]: France is choking them. Of course, they have to depend on France. They are unable to leave France.
Chen: There is another problem. Since nationalization, the cadres have not been communist party members. They steal, sell things to foreigners, and enrich themselves. Originally, Algeria won its independence after seven years of bloody warfare. Implementing a resolutely anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist policy and planting the banner of revolution in Africa is easy. However, due to the absence of a strong communist party leadership, Ben Bella completely depended on playing tricks. This is also the case with Boumediene. Therefore, despite politically winning independence, economically they have fallen into the hands of imperialism. Can one say that Algerians are a nation completely without consciousness? We have come into contact with many cadres. Not a few are willing to make Algeria a national independent country. But there is no core. The biggest problem is graft and corruption. A minister can sign without other approval an agreement with a foreign country and go to a foreign country to obtain loans and do business. This is legal. So he is easily bribed by the French and Americans. A minister can arrange matters in private with West Germany or Italy, have them set up factories in Algeria, and can get food from the hands of the Americans. Thus they are bought and corrupted. Therefore, Algeria will be unable to avoid other coups d’etat taking place. Only following a few repetitions will a real national revolution be won and a real national independence be achieved. Because the population is limited, the resources are abundant, and the domestic situation is so awful, people will naturally consider this problem. This is simply our assessment.
Algeria recently made a very poor show on the Asian-African Conference issue. They are thinking to hold it on their own, not needing the participation of Leftist countries. On 28 October they held a foreign ministers conference. They spoke of 45 countries, but there were only 20 foreign ministers and ministerial-class representatives. On 19 June, Foreign Minister Pak and I were both in Algiers. At that time the number of 25 foreign ministers and ministerial-class representatives had reached twenty-five. The major countries of Asia and Africa had not arrived. Among such ones as Korea, Vietnam, China, and Pakistan, none had arrived. As for Africa, Tanzania and Guinea did not go. Mali went but advocated putting off opening the conference. In the end, they themselves had to approve the postponement of the conference. Algeria said that the important countries did not come and that holding a conference with such countries as Malawi, Tunisia, Libya, and Senegal was unreasonable. They also withdrew their previous remarks, saying that friendship between China and the UAR was eternal and that we could not let differences on account of the Asian-African Conference affect our friendship. Recently Algeria raised with us their desire for a large amount of aid. We are now considering whether or not to give it to them. Their objective is not to take China’s aid. They want to use it to haggle with the United States, Britain, France, and the Soviet Union.
We once told them, you must be self-reliant. Your economic situation is the best in Africa. You can become Africa’s best country. But they are unable to carry it out.
Foreign Minister Pak: Algeria has grapes, fruit, and oil, which it exports to France and can exchange annually for 250 million dollars. Using this money to buy daily necessities, can’t it get by? Why does Algeria on top of that ask everywhere for aid?
Vice Premier Ri: It is mainly that those in authority have not really managed the country. They have neither experience in managing the country, nor do they have a grasp of the national economy. The ministers are thus making a mess of things.
Chen: Everyone is corrupt, and this cannot be solved with 250 million dollars. A battalion commander has four cars. After the interior minister assumed office (he had previously been ousted by Ben Bella), he appointed 15 provincial governors, all of whom were his close friends and relatives. Boumediene cannot control him. [Mohamed] Yala, the ambassador to China, served as governor of the foremost province, Algiers Province, and made a fortune. He did not want to return here to serve as ambassador. Therefore, Boumediene has replaced Ben Bella. In the future, there will be some to replace Boumediene. In the end, the national revolutionary forces will again have to raise their heads.
Algeria, originally a Leftist country, is now turning to the right. But the matter is still hopeful.
The UAR, too, is a typical example. The UAR is now a right-of-center country. Overthrowing Farouk monarchy and waging the Suez War were both revolutionary actions. It is influential with regard to the world situation. But they also balance between East and West and between China and the Soviet Union. The UAR all along has been helping India and is close to India and Tito. Premier Zhou yesterday said that the communique of Nasser’s visit to the Soviet Union did not denounce US imperialism but only told the Vietnamese themselves to solve their own problems. On the problem of postponing the Asian-African Conference, the UAR originally agreed with our position, but afterwards also said to Algeria that they agreed with convene it. This is double-dealing. In regard to this, the UAR explained to us that they are an Arab country and have to show consideration for Algeria’s relations. They said that they were in a difficult position and asked for our understanding. In fact they are going towards the right. The UAR as a result has failed in Syria, failed in Yemen, and failed in Algeria. Because of this in the Arab world and in African countries, its prestige is becoming lower and lower. In fact, if there were no US wheat, they would have nothing to eat. That is the problem. They have already started the Aswan High Dam, for which they have to rely on Soviet aid. In technology, they rely for general industry on West Germany. The loan debt owed these countries has reached more than two billion dollars, with interest payments now 400 million dollars. But in using two billion dollars to build unnecessary things, they cannot quickly invest in production or regain the funds.
When Premier Zhou June met Nasser in June, Nasser said: If now there were no US wheat, we would be unable to solve the problem of eating. Therefore, we cannot openly denounce the United States on the Asian-African Conference. We hope that China understands. He also said: Your Chinese delegation condemns the United States on the Asian-African Conference. We do not oppose it, but it is difficult for us to write on the resolution and we cannot approve it.
It is the same attitude with regard to the issue of Soviet participation in the Asian-African Conference. Nasser said: Building the Aswan High Dam depends on the Soviet Union; the Soviet Union has already has already agreed to provide 40,000 tons of wheat. It will arrive in October. This is an emergency. Therefore, we cannot take the lead in opposing the Soviet Union’s participation in the Asian-African Conference, but I can assure our Chinese friends that we also will not take the lead in inviting the Soviet Union to participate. However, when Nasser at the time went to Moscow and had talks with the Soviet Union, the first item was precisely the approval of the Soviet Union’s participation in the Asian-African Conference. It went against the promise made to Premier Zhou. In the October meeting of the Asian-African Conference Standing Committee, the UAR did not agree to a postponement. It was only at the foreign ministers meeting that they were compelled to agree to postponement.
Foreign Minister Pak: Algeria and the UAR indeed are in difficulty. For example, we said that it was wrong for them to ask the United States for wheat, but there was no one in the socialist countries to give them wheat, nor was there anyone able to obtain it and resolve their problem. Mali, too, is like this. The United States provided Mali eight thousand tons of wheat and two thousand tons of rice, so that country cannot very well condemn the United States.
Chen: What the Foreign Minister says is quite right. I will talk about this problem later.
The UAR, which overthrew the Farouk monarchy and went through the Suez Canal War, is a country that has undergone two major revolutions. It was also originally anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist. But today the UAR has economic difficulties, and the anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist slogans have become fewer. Within the country there is a serious problem, that of eating. All the factories that they build are large-scale ones requiring three years, five years, or seven years before they can be completed. After they are completed, the things produced cannot satisfy the needs of the people and cannot satisfy the needs of the domestic market. Many things also must be imported from foreign countries. These factories, in fact are going to turn into processing plants of West Germany or the Soviet Union. African countries have made beef and mutton processing plants, but the people cannot eat beef or mutton. Then there is the fruit processing plant. Who among the local people eat so much fruit! The fish processing plant, of little use for the domestic market, needs to go to Europe to find markets. But Europe and Eastern Europe block them. Therefore, these factories not only cannot play a positive role in regard to their national and independent economy but can cause an opposite effect.
Nasser said to me: Our country is now is experiencing a good deal of domestic difficulty. In the world there are many books. There are books on socialism. There are books on capitalism. There are none on the transition from capitalism to socialism. Can't you Chinese write a book on transition? With such a book, we would then do it easily. I said: The book cannot be written by others. You must write it yourselves, according to the needs of your own people for food to eat and clothes to wear. There is less need to do large-scale industry. First do agriculture, pay special attention to foodstuff. Then pay some attention to small and medium factories, with one year for going into production and two years for recovering your investment. Owing others more than two billion dollars in debt, you could declare that you are not going to repay it. That way, your situation immediately could take a turn for the better. In addition, you must not send troops to foreign countries to no purpose. It costs too much. A book? You don’t need others to write it. It would be better for the President himself to write one. After I talked to him, he withdrew his troops from Yemen. The UAR’s troops in Yemen cost 50,000 pounds sterling a day. They weakened the economy. How is that sustainable! Recently, the UAR changed its prime minister. [Ali] Sabry was appointed the new vice president, on account of [Zakaria] Mohieddin serving as prime minister. Mohieddin is even more to the right than Sabry, and his relations with the United States are particularly good. In short, the UAR in June was to the right of center. It has now turned further to the right.
These two examples can explain the situation of countries situated in an intermediate state. In these countries, the domestic situation is really a mess and corrupt. They do not understand how to do construction. In contracting foreign debt, counter to their expectations, they have harmed themselves. In order to receive foreign aid, they have had to lower the anti-imperialist banner.
Foreign Minister Pak: I once talked with persons of the UAR. They said that the United States, the Soviet Union, France, and China all wanted to provide aid. I asked them: Having borrowed so much, what will you do in the future? They said, in the future there will always be a way to resolve it. In any case, once the dam and factories have been built, all of them are on Egypt’s land, and no one can move them. I asked if there were some way of handling it. They said that in the future when the regime is changed, the persons involved will no longer be there. We will then not acknowledge the debt. On hearing this talk, I paid no more attention to them.
Chen: Foreign Minister Pak asked a good question. Asian and African countries are in an intermediate state. All of them have this problem. Imperialism gave them loans and pressured them. Unable to resist, they lowered the anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist banners. Even if you raise such banners, you are unable to do so for long. However, within the country there is also pressure. They are unable to satisfy the demands of the people, the people and the military cannot go on, and there will then inevitably take place a revolution. This is now brewing, it is exactly this. Either it will be the agents of imperialism who come to power, and it shifts even more to the right, or it will be the people who rise. It can only go towards the right or towards the left. Preserving the current situation is only a matter of time and cannot be preserved a long time. It has been 10 years since these countries won independence, and it is still like this. Therefore our policy is to hope that they continue to oppose imperialism and colonialism and find some ways to economic construction.
In September this year, I met Bouteflika in Algiers. He spoke to me most frankly. He said: Your Excellency the Marshal, you must know that the problem for the countries of Africa is that of bread, not problems of anti-imperialism or anti-colonialism. That is to say, so long as the Americans and Soviets give him a little bread, he will not oppose imperialism or colonialism. I said: Yes, we Chinese cannot give you bread. The amount of bread that the Soviets give you, too, will not be much, because they themselves do not have much bread. The Americans can give you a little. The problem is that Asian and African countries must make their own bread. This is the main thing. I also said to him: You raise a good question. The problem of bread is an important one, but depending on the United States to give you bread is temporary. It can help you for the time being, but over the long term will not work. All the countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America have asked that the United States solve the problem of bread, but the United States is also unable to solve it. You have to make your own bread. For the first few years at the start, of course there will be difficulties, but after doing it for several years you will have you will find some way, and then there will be bread to eat and no more depending on imperialism.
Therefore, in Asian and African countries, domestic problems are naturally the most important ones.
How are they to solve domestic economic problems? On the trip this time I visited such countries as Mali, Guinea, the UAR, Algeria, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Sudan. In Guinea, the debate was very fierce. In Mali there was not much debate, but I finished by speaking of economic issues. Guinea’s administrative expenses account for 70 percent of the country’s budget. I told them that China’s administrative expenses only account for 28 percent, less than 30 percent. There is a great danger in exceeding 30 percent that you will be unable to do any construction. You must tighten these expenses. Compressing them to less than 30 percent would be beneficial. Their first problem is graft, waste, and corruption. I once told Mali: The cloth, food, and daily necessities that China has given you, after reaching Mali was not used in your domestic market but immediately flowed to Upper Volta and Senegal. This is speculation and profiteering. There is no strict control of foreign trade, and there is also heavy consumption in automobiles and gasoline. This is terrible.
Vice Premier Ri: It is like buying water from France to drink!
Chen: An ordinary cadre has a car. I told them: Only we ministers have cars. Assistant ministers and division directors do not have cars. Everyone takes the bus, which carries more people.
Foreign Minister Pak: In Korea we all take the No. “11” (meaning to use one’s two legs to walk).
Chen: Regarding these problems, our friends in Mali were all receptive and said that I spoke well. I also said: You need to engage in agriculture, engage in land reform, and distribute land among the peasants, who would then have the motivation to produce. Once they themselves are producing food, you do not have to import it. You can both save foreign exchange, and the situation can also immediately take a turn for the better. They said that they could accept all the ideas, with the exception of this one. They expressed their opposition right then and there. They also said: What you say is quite right, but it is this is not compatible with Mali’s situation. In fact, the rulers all are large landowners and large ranchers. I said: We do not interfere in your internal affairs, nor do we understand Mali’s situation. It is just that after the land reform in China, peasant enthusiasm to produce increased, and the food problem was solved. Now we have a little food and can eat half our full, but we still cannot eat our full. It is not easy. China’s population is so large that if we asked others for food or went to buy it, no country in the world would generously give it to us. There is not such a large amount of food that can be given or sold. After land reform, China started to solve the food problem on its own. The result is that we have mostly solved it, and things are much better.
Our friends in Guinea and Mali are determined not to admit that their countries have a land problem. Our friends in Algeria have said: We have implemented nationalization and the land problem was solved early. In fact, it is difficult to talk about this problem. After nationalization, the peasants do not have land and still do not dare occupy it. Everything produced was taken away from them. Of course, they do not dare say anything. Therefore, they have had no choice but to turn to foreign countries to solve their food problem. Of these countries, one is a problem of foreign policy, and the other is a problem of domestic policy. The core problem is one of land reform. Domestic policy has improved, and foreign policy can also be strengthened. Raising the banners of anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism in foreign affairs can both stimulate the deepening of revolution at home and can in turn again push them to raise higher the banners of anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism. In this way, the two are combined.
I said to [Ahmed Sekou] Toure: You must pay particular attention to domestic problems. He said that there were no problems at home, none at all. But he just as soon as he went to participate in the Asian-African Summit, a coup d’etat took place in his country. Although the coup d’etat was suppressed, how can he say that there are no problems? When I see him in the future, I may ask whether there are any problems in his country or not. My talk with [Modibo] Keita caught his attention. Venality, corruption, and speculation and profiteering have not been purged. If he does not mobilize the masses through land reform, in the future they will turn to subversive activities. Imperialism wants to overthrow your anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist struggle for power by means of corrupt and thieving or speculative and profiteering elements. One cannot build a Great Wall between foreign and domestic policies. The two are inseparable. To oppose imperialism and colonialism resolutely in foreign policy can shield the domestic revolution’s deep penetration. Conversely, it will also advance the struggle against imperialism and colonialism. Why must China resolutely oppose US imperialism? For the sake of foreign and domestic requirements. With an anti-US policy, you can unite all the people of the country. Domestic industrial and agricultural construction, and cultural construction, all have opposition to the United States as their aim. Because they are bourgeois, it is not good to say clearly that this is for world revolution. If you speak of world revolution, they will be afraid. Therefore, I only say that we support the national revolutions of the people in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and that we support the struggle against imperialism and colonialism. The domestic requirement is to raise the people’s standard of living. But we have a global requirement. It is not only taking note of the issue of the domestic standard of living. There is also the obligation of world revolution.
Centrist countries, as well as Algeria and the UAR as representatives, may continue to turn to the right. The also may for quite a long period maintain their intermediate state, balancing in all respects. Of course, if they were to solve their domestic difficulties, they may also turn to the left.
About the issue of the Asian-African Conference: More than 40 countries, more than 20 foreign ministers and ministerial-class representatives gathered together. With the anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist banners being the main ones, they cannot discard these banners. At the meeting of the Standing Committee on 25 October, Algeria peremptorily made a ruling and insisted that the conference should be held as scheduled. The proposal of China and Cambodia was turned down. Of 15 countries, only China and Cambodia voted to postpone holding the conference. In fact these two votes represented the view of Korea, Vietnam, and Pakistan. We all advocated postponement. But Algeria, in spite of all this, at the instigation of India and Indonesia, insisted on the holding on the 28th the meeting of foreign ministers. In regard to meeting on October 28, at first only Mali resolutely advocated a delay. On the last day, the number increased to 17 countries, and there emerged a proposal of 17 nations to postpone holding the meeting. These 17 countries are all major ones. Algeria was forced to accept it. Other countries have followed. India, too, had to say that it was in favor of postponement. Clearly, Asian and African countries do not fully meets the requirements of imperialism and colonialism. In the entire Afro-Asian world, the appearance of a dozen imperialist and rightist puppet countries is not the main thing. The main thing is that anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism. Anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism cannot be changed. The Centrists at present also cannot abandon the banners of anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism. Even the UAR in the end also joined the 17-country proposal on the Asian-African Conference.
Among the Asian and African countries, a dozen or so are turning to the right and turning into puppets, but most of them are in an intermediate state. What stands out is that at present there are a dozen or more countries resolutely in opposition to US imperialism. This represents the aspirations of the people of the whole world. The deepening of the struggle is a very important development in the current situation. Within China there is this point of view: There are now many countries openly running towards imperialism, not opposing imperialism and opposing China. There are some countries that are opportunistic, so the situation has deteriorated. We do not see it that way. The main thing is that there are many countries that are turning to the left.
To look at the trends in Africa is to look at Tunisia, Malawi, Algeria, and the UAR, as well as to look at Guinea, Ghana, Tanzania, Mali, and the Congo (Brazzaville). To judge the trends in revolution, we must see the minority at the beginning. In one country, in the whole world, it is the same. In the October Revolution, there was only one Soviet Union. Seen in terms of numbers, there is only one country, but we say: Human society has hope. This minority represents the aspirations of all the people of the world. Facts have proven that one Soviet Union has developed into the socialist camp and influenced the national independence movements of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Therefore, one cannot judge the trends in Africa as a whole on the basis of a few rightist countries and wavering countries. In Asia, there is Korea, China, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Cambodia. In Africa, there is Tanzania, the Congo (Brazzaville), Mali, and Guinea. Today what is most important is the Vietnam War, opposing US imperialism, and pushing forward the current situation. In addition, there is also a large number of intermediate countries, such as Nepal, Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq. It is still quite a good situation. Therefore we say that, on the basis of the general requirements of anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism, we in China, Korea, and Vietnam must work more through bilateral and multilateral relations, isolate the Rightists, and hold the Asian-African Conference when the conditions are ripe. In this way, the Bandung spirit can still be promoted and developed. Therefore, pessimistic conclusions cannot be drawn. Splitting from the Asian-African Group is a good thing. We are now explaining this in China. In our country there are some democratic and rightist elements that are loudly clamoring. We recognize that there have been reversals in some countries. But such reversals are a prelude to progress. If we recognize this split and separate out the bad elements and unsteady elements, revolution and Asian-African solidarity will really appear.
The Asian-African Group, the socialist camp, and the international movement all must undergo a process of recombination. If we were to be naïve and think that the all the independent countries of Asia and Africa were thoroughly revolutionary countries, that would be too simple. The Korean comrades understand the situation in China. China has passed through the Xinhai Revolution, the Great Revolution, the Civil War, and the War of Resistance against Japan, in the end striking the United States and the Jiang [Chiang Kai-shek] Gang. In 1949 we achieved victory. Afterwards, we also experienced the Korean War. Now we are also going through the ordeal of the Vietnam War. Where has it gone without a hitch? Everything has gone along a road of twists and turns.
How can Asia and Africa, with a population of 2 billion people and more than 60 countries, not pass through a road of twists and turns? China, its population of 600 million, 700 million people only one small part, has also gone through a road of twists and turns. How can Asia and Africa, with their population of 2 billion people and more than 60 countries, not do this? They will certainly have to pass through failures, splits, and repetitions. Only after a long period, a struggle in depth, and passing through twists and turns can we achieve victory. China has passed through 45 years. For the countries of Asian and African countries, with their population of 2 billion people and more than 60 countries, there have been only 10 years from the Bandung Conference to now.
Foreign Minister Pak: We completely agree with what you say about revolutionary truth and the road of revolution. Revolution in Asian and African countries must pass through twists and turns and repetitions. It cannot be achieved in one go. The problem now is that the Asian-African Conference has been delayed indefinitely. How will we do our work henceforth regarding the reactionary, right-turning, and Centrist countries? Are there some guidelines and methods?
Chen: We want to do the work through bilateral and multilateral approaches. We do not carry out denunciations against Centrist and wavering countries. Moreover, we must help them well. Against the rightist, anti-communist, and anti-popular countries, we must still speak out against imperialism and colonialism, thereby exposing imperialism and colonialism. For example, we can tell such counties as Tunisia and Kenya: In your countries, there is no threat from the communist party. Mainly, there is the threat of imperialism. Nor are we a threat to you. Your accusing us is empty talk.
We very much appreciate what Vice Premier Ri Chu-yeon [Ri Chu-yon] has said: Even if once again the result is ruin, we must strike down US imperialism. It is the same with us. We do not fear ruin. We must fight against US imperialism to the end.
Foreign Minister Pak: In this respect, we are all in agreement. The conference has been postponed. There are some Asian and African countries who when they come into contact with us will ask: Why? When will it be held again? Next year or in three years? Do we say that we must watch the situation? Wait for the conditions to be ripe to hold it again? How do we consider that the considerations are ripe? What conditions? What is China advocating?
Chen: We in China see it this way in regard to this issue: This postponement is an indefinite delay, but the Standing Committee of 15 countries in Algiers still remains. The Standing Committee can continue discussing the issue of holding the conference when the conditions are ripe. India wants to get rid of the Standing Committee because, once rid of it, the conference will not be able to be held. Most countries advocate maintaining the Standing Committee. This is a victory. “Wait until the conditions are ripe.” They will ask: What conditions? First, the majority of countries must openly condemn the United States. There is widespread opposition to imperialism and colonialism, and even the United States is in favor of it. It would be meaningless to holding something like the Arab summit or African summit. The Arab summit conference is held every year. What’s the point! Therefore, we must work and wait for the anti-US conditions are ripe for holding the conference again. The United States madly carries out a barbaric aggression and will cause such a situation. Second, the greatest obstacle – the puppet group -- cannot participate. South Korea, Saigon, Malaysia, and [Joseph] Kasa-Vubu are all imperialist puppets. We cannot sit down and hold a conference with imperialist puppets. Third, Algeria must withdraw its invitation to U Thant. China, Korea, and Indonesia sit down with the United Nations and hold a conference? In the Standing Committee, Algeria said: U Thant has said that he would not come. We said: It is only that U Thant has said he would not go. You must withdraw the invitation. Your inviting U Thant is a violation of the Bandung tradition. The Bandung tradition has nothing to do with the United Nations. Fourth, the Soviet Union is a European country. It cannot participate in the Asian-African Conference. It is mainly these four conditions.
Foreign Minister Pak: If more than 60 countries are against the United States, then when will the conference be held? There are some countries, such as India, Japan, and Thailand. When can they be against the United States? The revolutionary struggle, apart from those countries, is won. As a result, is it not a long delay?
Vice Premier Ri: We need to see the anti-imperialist mainstream. It mainly indicates when the anti-imperialist forces have the upper hand and are dominant.
Chen: It is very difficult to estimate when the conditions would be ripe. Sometimes it is very quick, and sometimes it requires some number of years.
Foreign Minister Pak: Yes. If Asian and African countries ask, what will you do?
Chen: The work of us Leftists is very important. However, next year they will certainly hold the Third Non-Aligned Conference, avoiding China, Korea, Vietnam, and Pakistan. Our assessment is that most Asian and African countries will participate, and it will also include Tito, Cuba, and the UAR. That conference will not condemn US imperialism, nor will it take any firm position on the Vietnam issue. If they give that kind of performance, on the contrary it would beneficial to us. At that time, the Centrist and Leftist countries will feel the need to hold the Asian-African Conference. It is because that [non-aligned] conference will not solve any issues. It is a defense of imperialism. I have a positive view: Perhaps after the Third Non-Aligned Conference is held, the conditions can then be ripe for holding the Second Asian-African Conference. They put a great deal of emphasis on the so-called “Third World” and attempt to exclude the socialist, Leftist, and anti-imperialist countries.
Foreign Minister Pak: There are some persons who say that since at present all the Asian and African countries do not get together, do not hold a conference, and cannot obtain a consensus, it would be better to hold a real conference of anti-imperialist forces and not let participate those countries that do not oppose the United States. How do you see it?
Chen: I, too, would like to consider this proposal. If there are a dozen or more countries that think this way, we could raise this issue. It would be better for a national independent country to put it forward.
Foreign Minister Pak: They asked us: Regardless of the form, would it be good or not to hold such a conference first?
Vice Minister Zhang Hanfu: It was Cambodia that proposed it.
Chen: I agree. I told them: We are not against you doing it.
The present situation in Indonesia, too, is very important. You may understand the Indonesian situation a bit more than we do. Our embassy basically cannot operate.
Vice Premier Ri: We, too, do not understand it.
Vice Minister Zhang Hanfu: You had some living quarters searched.
Vice Premier Ri: Yes.
Chen: Indonesian Army Rightists and Islamic reactionary forces, under the command of the US [Central] Intelligence Agency, oppose the communists and the people. They are now conducting a sweep of the whole country and implementing a white terror.Such Centrists as Sukarno, Subandrio, and the Indonesian National Party [PNI], still want to prevent Indonesia’s right deviation and want to adhere to a policy of opposition to US imperialism. They say that they want to maintain the Jakarta - Phnom Penh – Hanoi – Beijing –Pyongyang axis. To date they have been unwilling to declare the Communist Party of Indonesia [PKI] illegal. They may severe diplomatic relations with China. China’s ambassador has seen Sukarno several times. With regard to our Commercial Counselor's Office, experts, and the consulate in Medan being attacked and searched, Subandrio has apologized and sent back the national flag and national emblem. Sukarno a few days ago asked that China please understand and that we give him some time. He also said that he could still control the situation.
Ambassador Pak Se-chang: We have just talked of the issue of a conference of anti-imperialist forces. As a founding country of the Bandung Conference, won't the participation of China in such a conference cause misunderstanding? If such a conference were held, wouldn't it bring about a split among Asian and African countries? If a split appeared, wouldn’t it be even more disadvantageous for us?
In addition, how likely is it that the Soviet Union will participate in the Asian-African Conference? Will they see it through to the end? Or will they drop their demand?
Chen: We are not a founding country of the Bandung Conference. The founding countries were the Five Colombo Countries. As Comrade Ambassador said, our participation in such a conference would cause some misunderstanding and would be somewhat disadvantageous. The Asian-African Conference at the start was a comparatively broad meeting of an anti-imperialist united front. As in the response I just made to Foreign Minister Pak, we must carry out multilateral or bilateral activities. This is the main thing. When [Prince Norodom] Sihanouk raised this issue, I said to him: It is necessary that we resolutely anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist countries draw near to one another and explain to each other. However, if we want to hold a formal international conference, the more participating countries the better. If not, we would be at a disadvantage. Therefore, none of our press or authorities speak of a “joint axis” or holding separate meetings. If they want to speak, then let them speak. We assess that future changes in the Vietnam situation, the Indo-Pakistan situation, and the situation in Asia and Africa will create the conditions for holding the Asian-African Conference.
The Soviet Union’s new leaders will not abandon the idea of forcing their way into the Asian-African Conference. This is their capital, and they are using this capital. This time, when 45 countries met in Algiers, at least 30 countries opposed the resolution on the participation of the Soviet Union participation. Only six countries, led by India, advocated the Soviet Union's participation. One day, the Soviet Union will be forced to withdraw its request.
Foreign Minister Pak: In my view, there are some people who have advocated the Soviet Union's participation to destroy the Asian-African Conference, sow confusion in the meeting, and make everyone quarrel.
Chen: Today, the PKI and Indonesia Leftists are rallying their forces. They are active in many mountain areas. From the rightist reports, we see that the United States and the Indonesian Army feel that this is a thorny issue.
Foreign Minister Pak: Aren’t there any Leftist reports?
Chen: There are not.
Foreign Minister Pak: Our embassy has not reported, either.
Chen: Many members of the PKI have come to China and asked us. We do not [understand] the situation, either. Recently some persons came from Jakarta. They knew only of the situation in Jakarta. They did know the situation elsewhere. Sukarno is now making every effort to control the situation. He hopes that the Army and the Rightists will not continue to oppose the communists. He also hopes that the PKI and Leftist forces will not respond with armed force. It is said that it is up to him to solve the situation. The United States, the Army, and the Rightists will certainly not abandon their opposition to the revolution and certainly will thoroughly continue to do so. However, the Americans and the British have also warned the Army and the Rightists: You must continue. In the future there may appear a second Vietnam tragedy. Therefore, they too are afraid and are wavering. With regard to the fighting in the mountain areas of Central Java and East Java, they are at a complete loss as to what to do. Within the Army there are those who are passive and also those who are PKI sympathizers. In fact, the Army and the Rightists only are in control of Jakarta. Control of the villages and mountain areas is in the hands of the PKI. It is such a form. Sukarno wants to mediate, under his control, but there is less and less room to maneuver. We have been cooperating with Sukarno now for more than 10 years, since 1955. Our policy towards him has had an impact on our relations with Asian and African countries. Therefore, we are not now attacking him in the press or criticizing him. We have said to him: The attacks and the searches of our Commercial Counselor’s Office, experts, and consulate are a card. We have given you this card. You take it and go suppress the Army and the Rightists. This will become support for you. He is very grateful. Yesterday there was information that [General Abdul Haris] Nasution gave Sukarno a letter that he had written. He called on him not to serve as prime minister and to yield the post, that he only serve as president in the form of the British queen, without power, that he act as a puppet. Then, that he conduct a purge among 100 ministers. Third, that he must appoint more military men as ministers. This information is reliable.
Foreign Minister Pak: Is it said that the PKI is to be disbanded?
Chen: That is another condition.
A few days ago, Sukarno through Subandrio told our ambassador: Sukarno is immediately to withdraw the Army’s authority. He is confident of success.
Foreign Minister Pak: He is the supreme commander. How will he reclaim authority?
Vice Premier Ri: He does not have real power, so he says that he must withdraw that authority.
Chen: It is now a showdown of Nasution and Suharto with Sukarno. There may be important developments. Subandrio said to our ambassador: The Rightists also want to stage a coup d’etat. Sukarno must take action. Sukarno announced in a speech on the 6th: The ministers must make the ultimate sacrifice for Indonesia's revolution and must not fear death. The two sides are heading for the final showdown.
Foreign Minister Pak: No one listened to his talk. How much power does he really have?
Chen: There are forces of his in the Army.
Vice Premier Ri: The people, too, broadly support him.
Chen: The problem that he now faces is: either step down as prime minister and serve as a president in the manner of the British queen – a puppet – or the Rightists have him leave the country (he has prestige in the military and in the country, so he may go abroad as president). Then there would be a civil war waged between the Leftists and the Rightists. If the situation would prove irreparable, he would then return to put it in order. Another possibility would be completely eliminated. The Army is determined to dismiss and replace Subandrio. Sukarno is resolutely opposed. The situation in Indonesia ultimately will be determined by the armed struggle of the PKI. This is the main thing. The exact situation at present in East Java, Central Java, and Sumatra is not clear. Of three million PKI members, it will be enough if there are several tens of thousands resolute ones.
Foreign Minister Pak: Has the PKI undergone such repression that there is going to turn to armed struggle, or are they thinking of another way?
Chen: I see both happening. On the one hand, in the struggle in East Java and Central Java, some people went on strike, destroyed railways, and killed landlords. The Army, which had gone on a search into the mountains, was beaten back. On the other hand, however, Njoto also participated in the meeting that Sukarno held on the 6th.
Foreign Minister Pak: This point is unclear. Why did Njoto want to participate in that meeting?
Chen: We have no good answer for this problem. My personal view is that, if the rightist forces get rid of Sukarno, it would be a good thing. The Americans and the British said yesterday that if the Indonesian Army and the Rightists cannot solve the domestic economic crisis, the PKI would make a comeback. The price of rice since October has risen by 75 percent. The present government’s Rightists ask us for rice and cloth. We said: We have rice, we have cloth, but it is you who are against China, conduct searches, who attack our embassy and consulate. We cannot give you things. We pay no heed to your internal affairs. When the Communist Party of Burma and Ne Win fought, we paid it no heed. Members of the Communist Party of Burma live in Beijing. Ne Win also knows it. You oppose China. How can we give you rice and cloth?
At present Sukarno plays a role: to ease the contradictions between left and right. But in the end it also depends on the PKI’s armed struggle. This will be decisive. The PKI, most resolute in its opposition to imperialism and revisionism, will certainly be able to stand this test. We are speaking frankly to our Korean comrades. To oppose resolutely the Army and the Rightists is to support the PKI and Sukarno. The Korean press has been coordinating well. The Japan Communist Party, Albania, and Vietnam all have been coordinating well. Clearly, the united front is of no advantage to the PKI. We must turn resolutely to armed struggle. This is the main aspect. As for why Njoto was sent to participate in the cabinet meeting, I do not know. Was it for Njoto and the Murba Party to organize a sham communist party? This, too, is unclear. Sukarno, if he were truly to unite with Nasution and take such a step, then the last lid would be opened. The PKI then takes the road of armed struggle. At that time, the situation will be clear. In November and December, the situation can finally be clear. However, the PKI in the end will certainly move to armed struggle. This belief is unwavering.
The Americans and the Army, the Rightists, are shaken. They are always publicizing that Comrade [D.N.] Aidit has been arrested, that he has been surrounded, all of which is false. For a month now, they have been constantly doing such propaganda, attempting to shake the people’s confidence. If they could capture him, they would have done so long ago. Untung [Syamsuri] is very determined. He has said that his September 30 Movement will surely succeed, and if they kill him, he will certainly succeed.
Foreign Minister Pak: Has Untung really been arrested?
Chen: Yes. This is what he said at his trial. The Rightists and the Army do not dare to try Untung publicly. Untung said: Because the Army organized the Council of Generals and were going to stage a coup d’etat, he had no choice but to take action. The Army said: Produce the evidence. He said fine, let Sukarno attend the trial and I can then produce the evidence.
Vice Premier Ri: Is there a relationship between Untung and Sukarno?
Chen: It was Sukarno who wanted Untung to do it. Sukarno did not dare attend the trial, and the Army for its part did not dare hold a public trial. Untung had several reasons: First, my September 30 Movement is opposed to a military coup d’etat. Second, my movement represented the broad demands of the junior officers and soldiers of the three military services. You generals have several wives, live in houses, and drive cars while I, a battalion commander, sleep on the floor. My September 30 Movement has two objectives. The first is to protect Sukarno and safeguard the revolution. The second is to oppose a coup d’etat, oppose the United States, and recover the Army’s honor. The Rightists used severe electrocution, but Untung did not capitulate. The Army has made this information public.
Vice Premier Ri: Heroic.
Chen: In the Army are persons who have made this situation public, which shows that in the Army there are persons who sympathize with Untung and support Sukarno. If not, they would not have made public something disadvantageous to them.
In the PKI there is a mix of Sukarno’s people with persons from the Army and Rightists. In the Army there are Sukarno’s people and PKI members. In the end, it is not clear. It will only be clear in a few months. With the failure of Sukarno’s mediation, the PKI has started large-scale counterattacks and the situation has become clear.
Vice Premier Ri: It is Indonesia’s political system, society, and economic setting that made Untung and others turn to revolution. It has nothing to do with Untung as an individual, but the background producing a revolution.
Chen: Entirely correct. Indonesia’s extraordinary revolution is unavoidable. No matter what the United States and the Rightists do, no matter what Sukarno’s tricks, “walking the tightrope,” nothing can solve the problem. Indonesia is now on the eve of great storm and a great revolution.
Foreign Minister Pak: Was Untung executed by shooting?
Chen: He was not. They did not dare hold a public trial and did not dare execute him by shooting. They wanted to use Untung against the PKI, but Untung said: I am not in opposition. I sympathize. That was good. It seems that within the Army there were persons protecting Untung.
Ambassador Pak Se-chang: In view of the trend in the development of the situation in Indonesia, will Sukarno be able to leave the country or not? That is to say: He wanted people to be faithful to him as president for life, but he himself retreated and dodged, letting the Leftists fight. When things were difficult in 1948, he hid overseas.
Chen: There is this possibility. There is also the possibility of his being ousted, leaving the country, and then regaining power. The situation in Indonesia is a reversal, a split, but it is a deepening, not a regression. Imperialism is very happy, but they have become happy too soon.
Foreign Minister Pak: The situation in Indonesia shows that the PKI and the [indistinct] class cannot co-exist. A peaceful transition is impossible.
Chen: Correct. Many Asian and African countries have such a PKI situation. Leftists and Rightists cannot co-exist. Imperialism wants to hatch plots. The people are dissatisfied and want revolution.
The overall situation is that various forces have again reorganized, combined, underwent divisions, split, and headed for victory. The powerful forces against imperialism and national revolutionary forces in the end will obtain victory.
Vice Premier Ri: I have heard your very valuable views. The analysis is exceptionally profound. Imperialism must perish. We must win. Although the road has twists and turns, we are always optimists.
Chen: Korea, Vietnam, and China must prepare for isolation for a time. In fact we are not isolated. Indonesia had better drive out our ambassador. We are waiting for this day. In this way, here is hope for Indonesia’s revolution. China is not willing to be the “cotton.” When the Leftist and Rightists fight, we will of course not mediate. We hope that they fight.
(Premier Zhou enters. After a break the conversation continues.)
Premier Zhou (hereafter, “Zhou”): I first will answer the question that Vice Premier Ri posed yesterday.
The US Air Force is divided by three methods of calculation. In total there are 29,500 aircraft classified as military aircraft. Of these, 3,600 aircraft are held in reserve (reserve aircraft) in preparation to supplement when combat losses are suffered. In active use are 25,900 aircraft. There are not many combat aircraft, only 6,000. The distribution ratio of these 6,000 aircraft is: nearly 1,000 bombers, a bit less than the 5,000 combat aircraft. The greatest number is in everything else, which accounts for more than three-quarters of the total (transport aircraft, helicopters, patrol aircraft, aerial refueling tankers). Less than a quarter is really fighting. In Vietnam, how many aircraft of the Navy and Air Force are there? What we know is the same as what the Vietnamese comrades tell us: 2,700 aircraft, accounting for less than one tenth of the 25,900 aircraft in service. But these 2,700 aircraft, too, are divided into combat and non-combat aircraft. There are 780 combat aircraft. The Vietnamese comrades originally told us that there were 770 aircraft. At present it has already increased to 780 aircraft. This accounts for only 13 percent in comparison to the figure of 6,000 aircraft. Of the rest, helicopters are the most numerous, at 1,000. They are used everywhere to transport persons and things. The remaining 900 aircraft are transport aircraft. They transport things from three bases: Guam, Okinawa, and the Philippines’ Clark [Air Base]. In addition there are also aerial refueling tankers, ambulance aircraft, as well as patrol aircraft used for maritime patrols. Less than a third of the 2,700 aircraft are actually fighting. These aircraft are divided in three local administrations.The Navy’s aircraft carriers have 700 aircraft, divided into various aircraft (small bombers, service aircraft, etc.). The Army has 950 aircraft, with service aircraft the most numerous, mainly helicopters and trainer aircraft. The Air Force has only 1,000 aircraft. This shows that combat, too, is divided. In south Vietnam, [General William] Westmoreland is in command. The Navy does not fall under his administration. The Air Force cooperates with him. Therefore, if a combat aircraft is lost, it must be replenished from the United States. Losing so many, they have to take them from the reserve aircraft. In this way, there is a panic in aircraft orders as well. Although orders were placed, production was not forthcoming, and replenishment was naturally difficult. In addition, US aircraft are deployed at military bases throughout the world. I do not know whether or not you have this material. I will send it to you tomorrow. Although the air power in Vietnam does not exceed 15 percent, replenishment has been constantly difficult and has required transfers from elsewhere. More fatal has been the replenishment of pilots. The United States has an authorized strength in pilots of 75,000 to 79,000. A single pilot cannot fly a transport or a bomber. Therefore, after losses, there is difficulty in replacing them. For air losses in general, the rate of injury is higher than the mortality rate. Recently, however, many aircraft have been shot down at low altitude over North Vietnam, and the death rate has grown. Because of this the United States has set low-altitude flights from 500 to 1,000 meters and wants to avoid radar detection. However, North Vietnam has many plains and few mountains. Actual flights are from less than 500 meters to 1,000 meters. Therefore, when the US pilots carrying out bombing missions are very timid and afraid to die. Shooting down aircraft at such altitudes is very easy. Without using anti-aircraft guns, one can shoot them down with machine guns and rifles. If struck, the pilots bail out. They will either suffer heavy injuries or die. At an altitude of only 500 meters, the insurance factor is too little. In fact, no matter what the bombing, it will be unable to resolve the fighting. The United States also recognizes this point. Without occupying territory, how can one resolve the war? At present, the United States’ most massive air forces have grown weaker in Vietnam. This is a threat to the United States. Dependent on air superiority, the United States dares not envisage expanding the war of aggression against Indochina, striking China, and even striking Korea. This is because maintaining constant superiority over a large area would be impossible after an expansion of the war. There are persons in the United States who advocate an expanded war against China, mainly in depending on air power, but they face the opposition of many persons.
In addition, the United States has four air bases in south Vietnam. We can have a map brought this afternoon for reference. Other than these four bases, the United States also uses aircraft carriers and naval air bases, as well as four bases in Thailand. These are the ones at short distance.
Comrade Vice Premier also asked about the situation of Vietnam’s air supremacy. Vietnam’s air power now has grown stronger since the enemy started bombing last year. At present Vietnam has 104 combat aircraft and eight Ilyushin IL-18 bombers. There are 20 aircraft in China for training and preparation for future use. In the Soviet Union are another 36 aircraft that have not yet been transported. The total number of aircraft is 168. Of course, if necessary, this number can be supplemented. China can add to it, and the Soviet Union also should provide some. In addition are more than 60 transports, helicopters, and trainers. Vietnam now has five airfields available. We are now helping to build one. We are also preparing to build another two. However, relying at present on air power, there is no way to fight the United States in the air. Moreover, there are not many Vietnamese pilots. Some of them are still in training in China and the Soviet Union. Therefore, there is not aerial combat each time the enemy comes. It is necessary to look for an opportunity and see a gap for a surprise attack. Some air fields have often been bombed and often repaired. Only two large air fields, including Hanoi, have not been bombed. We have an agreement with Vietnam: If an airfield is bombed and aircraft cannot land, they may land at our country’s airfields in Guangxi and Yunnan. But such a situation has not yet happened. This shows that there are not many air battles and not intense. One can say that Vietnam’s air combat is one of guerrilla war, looking for gaps and opportunities, then suddenly engaging the enemy. Since the United States has been bombing North Vietnam, Vietnam has downed or damaged more than 600 enemy aircraft in all. They have mainly relied on ground fire, with very few aerial shootdowns. Ground fire has mainly shot down low-flying bombers. Most numerous have been shootdowns by 37mm anti-aircraft artillery, machine guns, and rifles. Missiles have downed few aircraft. The United States knows the position of some missiles, but the Vietnamese comrades have adopted a method of moving them from place to place. The enemy often misses them completely or hits dummy missiles. The advantage of moving the missiles is that the Vietnamese comrades can strike the enemy, but the enemy cannot strike them. Vietnam’s plan for air combat mainly relies on ground fire. They plan first to shoot down 1,000 aircraft, then shoot down another 2,000 aircraft.
I have been talking just now about north Vietnam. In addition, recently we had a reporter go to south Vietnam and talk with intelligence personnel. They believe that, with continued fighting, victory is certain. We will send you later this material, which has important state of affairs for military operations, for the reference of Comrade Premier. In it is new material worth studying. In the past both you and we have engaged in guerrilla warfare. Now they are engaging in guerrilla warfare and creating some new methods. The Vietnamese comrades have told me that they are prepared to continue sending troops into south Vietnam. After this past visit of the Vietnamese party and government delegation to the Soviet Union, in passing through Beijing on their return to Vietnam, they said to us: They did not discuss Vietnam’s combat issues with the Soviet Union, telling only China and Korea about their plans for military operations.
So much for this part. Do you two gentlemen still have any questions?
Vice Premier Ri: We are fine. No more questions.
Zhou: I will add something regarding the Indonesian problem.
Sukarno sent us a telegram, to which we replied. The incoming telegram and our response have been brought here and will be delivered to you in a little while. At present Indonesia’s Leftists and Rightists are already fighting at close quarters. The Rightists oppose the communists and the people. In regard to us, on the whole they oppose China and exclude Chinese. In essence, they are against the communists and against the people. But we in our hearts have emphasized their opposition to China and exclusion of Chinese. We have said: We believe that both Sukarno and Subandrio wish to be friendly with China and maintain relations. In past broadcast speeches he has said so, and he has said so recently as well. The Vice Foreign Minister, who came here on his return from Algiers, also said so. But the Rightists, in complete opposition, have thoroughly destroyed relations between both countries. Such incidents as assaults against and searches of the Commercial Counselor’s Office, experts, and the Medan Consulate have come one after the next. They have gone as far as holding anti-Chinese meetings. On the other hand, they have been persecuting overseas Chinese, burning houses, arresting people, and stealing things. Sukarno has said to us that he hopes that we give him some time and that he is in difficulty now. He has also spoken this way to the PKI. However, the time has already passed. We talked to him. He only shook his head and sighed. It was the same with Subandrio. We said that the only is to concentrate you firepower and attack the Rightists, otherwise there would be no way for us to support them. We pointed out that the Rightists have all along been using various means to foment conspiracies, not hesitating even to break off diplomatic relations and all trade relations with China. On the surface they want to buy food from China (through Subandrio), but in fact the United States has given him things. One line is selling him food through Thailand, which in fact is a loan. Another line is to give him a loan via Japan. The loan conditions, naturally, are very harsh. The Rightists have already seized power. The military and economic power are both in the hands of the Rightists (not all the troops are Rightists). Third Deputy Premier Saleh, who visited Korea and with us also signed [an agreement], said that it sounded very good. We ceaselessly told Sukarno and Subandrio about these things. It is hard to say what Sukarno in fact can do. As I see it, there is not much leeway. In particular Subandrio, at times treating us lightly, is afraid of ruining relations. Of course, the Rightists also want to get rid of him. Once they are rid of him, Sukarno then will have even fewer people around him and will become even more isolated.
Subandrio told us that Sukarno would issue a statement on 10 November to remove wartime controls and recover power. In fact, on the 9th there was held a reactionary rally demanding the PKI’s dissolution. On the 10th, it was said that the matter could be considered. It is completely the opposite approach.
We have not received any information on the PKI’s present situation. Our embassy and consulates, as well as those of Korea and Vietnam, are all under surveillance and are in a poor position to have contact with the PKI. If we do have contact, relations with us are not much, and PKI members run the risk of being arrested. We generally know that in Central Java there is indeed an armed force of more than 10,000 people. Rightist forces are not dominant. Those resolutely opposed to the communists and the people do not dominate. The rightists are now desperately trying to catch Leftists floating on the surface and are purging Leftist forces within the military. The Leftists, too, are organizing their forces. Leftist forces probably are in Central Java, East Java, and North Sumatra. There are also some forces in East Kalimantan, Southwest Sulawesi, Maluku, and West Irian. It seems that the Leftists are waiting for the Rightists to attack, are waiting for Sukarno to be gotten rid of, or have completely turned into tools of the Rightists.
Our policy is divided into two parts. The first part is the issue of Indonesia’s revolution. Vice Premier Chen Yi has already said that armed struggle between the Leftists and Rightists is unavoidable. This is a good situation. In the world, there are few instances of 20 years of a united front. The Leftists and Rightists cannot remain within Nasakom. This trend is inevitable. Facing the upsurge of the Indonesia revolution, what is the policy of a fraternal party? There is a need to support Indonesia’s Leftists, but our proposition is that one cannot go beyond the PKI. Because the main body of the revolution is the Indonesian people, those who lead them are Leftists. We cannot exceed our place and meddle in the affairs of others. Our support is merely action in concert with them. What the PKI advocates is what we support and endorse. First, we cannot substitute for them. Second, we cannot go beyond them and cannot vie to be first. At present the PKI has not publicly called for our support, nor can we easily support them publicly. It is the same for you. At present there are some Left-wing parties that feel anxious and have expressed their views and provided ideas. This is not easy to do. Albania asked us for materials, and we replied that there are no materials. They said: You have diplomatic relations, so it is not easy to say things, but we can speak. We told them: First, we do not have any materials. Second, we also do not endorse their speaking for us or the PKI. This is our policy to support the Indonesian revolution. There are bounds, and there is also cooperation.
The second part is diplomatic relations between the two countries. The main fire is to strike the Rightists, because they are against China and exclude the Chinese. Regarding Sukarno, whether superficial or whatnot, he is willing to maintain bilateral relations, and we respond to him. But there are contradictions here. The Rightists oppose China and exclude the Chinese. He wants to maintain relations. We indicated this point to him but in taking action I have not vied to be first. He takes one step, and then I take one step. It is what we have often said: gain mastery only after the enemy has struck. Our struggle with him, in tactics, should be on just grounds, to our advantage, and with restraint. On this issue, Sihanouk’s recent assessment is relatively good. Sihanouk acknowledges that the Rightists hold power in Indonesia but have a weak point: they have no roots among the people. But he believes Sukarno too much and thinks that Sukarno can change the situation. This is not allowed. Sukarno, if he is to control the situation, he must rely on the Leftists to strike the Rightists. He will have to rely on one. He cannot be divorced from reality.
Sihanouk has been positive in his support of the National Front for the Liberation of Southern Vietnam (NLFSV). Recently I said to him: If the United States expands the war, expands it to north Vietnam, he leave him some space there and be advantageous to him. He was happy. He also asked us for military aid. But he does not want heavy weapons. He wants light weapons for air defense and for fighting the guerrillas. Of course, this is only Sihanouk’s own thinking. The cadres are not listening, and it is still a problem. On the other hand, he is willing to do business with the NLFSV and make money selling rice, materials, and even weapons to the NLFSV. He mainly wants to get some foreign exchange. The NLFSV has sold him some of the rubber produced in the guerrilla area. He said it was good and could be used for foreign exchange. We want to use his attitude to help south Vietnam, but we need to pay a little “toll.”
Regarding the Asian-African Conference, Sihanouk has his ideas. Sukarno has said that there is a five-country “axis” [Beijing-Pyongyang-Hanoi-Phnom Penh-Jakarta] and even Saleh has spoken this way. At present this anti-imperialist “axis” has become a problem. Some conferences of anti-imperialist countries require a period of preparation and observation. Sihanouk has said to me that he had early advocated a postponement of the Asian-African Conference and, if not anti-imperialism, then how can it be held! He saw the problem. Of course, there are two sides to Sihanouk. He has relations with France, which does not want the Asian-African Conference to be held. On the other hand, Sihanouk has raised the possibility of a few countries participating in a conference of the anti-imperialist axis. I said: It would be possible to fight for convening this conference, but we have to prepare the conditions, and at present the conditions are not ripe. How are we to create the conditions? With advanced bilateral exchanges, by supporting Vietnam as the central problem, we see how many countries support Vietnam, how many are consistent, and how many are basically the same. We will speak again of advanced bilateral and multilateral activities, when conditions are ripe. Because the revolution has deepened, many members of the ruling class have grown afraid, and they must split.
Recently, rulers of Asian and African countries most fear being overthrown by revolution from below, although they once rose up and overthrew others. [Alphonse] Massamba-Débat of the Congo (Brazzaville) is exactly so. When the mass struggle develops and deepens, if rulers dare to approach the masses, the anti-imperialist movement will develop further.
Judging from this general trend, the people’s struggle has deepened. This is good. However, the bourgeois rulers of Asian and African countries also must undergo trials, splits, and reorganizations. In a certain period of time, the Asian-African Conference will not be held. Therefore, there was nothing to do but to postpone it indefinitely. Everyone approves, Leftists and Rightists both agree, which proves the need to postpone it. There are people who want to hold it. They are a minority.
In this time of great turmoil, great divisions, and great reorganizations, although there have been fewer meetings, the struggle has been fierce, and there remains much work to do. Let us speak again of a situation. Last night we saw material concerning the Organization of Solidarity with the People of Asia, Africa, and Latin America (OSPAAAL) conference, to be prepared in Havana in December and held in January next year. Algeria's foreign minister said to Vietnam’s Comrade Hoang Van Tam that the Havana meeting could not be held. His reason: The six Latin American countries that Cuba has proposed are all rightist and revisionist. This is indeed the case. Because, since holding the Havana Conference of Communist Parties, Cuba has brought in revisionism and sent away persons advocating armed struggle. Is not Cuba now openly replaced with the United States? More than 6,000 Cubans have already gone there and in the future still more will go. A considerably large number of them have signed up to go to the United States, not several thousand but several tens of thousands.
Algeria's foreign minister said: In such a situation, the conference cannot be held in Havana. Even if it is held, the Leftists will be unable to go. He urged the Vietnamese comrades that they participate in the preparatory conference and make the conference impossible to hold. The Vietnamese comrades sought out our embassy to consult. It may be that Algeria was not really searching us out and intended to divulge to us via the Vietnamese comrades. We are still considering this issue.
Why is Algeria this way? There are two assessments. (1) There are only two ways to go to Cuba: via Moscow or Prague. But both ways are restricted. Persons who do not welcome Cuba are not issued visas. Some Latin American Leftists previously in Havana are not allowed to go. This is a fact. (2) There may also be this aspect: The United States fears the holding of the OSPAAAL Conference and add a new banner, which will have an effect. Conferences of the Afro-Asian People's Solidarity Organization (AAPSO) conference have gone well, and they indeed have been disadvantageous to imperialism. The United States, which has cut off Latin America from Asia and Africa, now fears that Asia, Africa, and Latin American will link together. Therefore, the United States has been attempting via Algeria (Bouteflika’s relations with the United States and the United Nations are good), to use language of the Left to attain its objective of the Right.
Foreign Minister Pak, you have seen Bouteflika. That man, via U Than, has relations with the United States. I am almost certain that the invitation for U Thant to participate in the Asian-African Conference is not from Ben Bella, but from Bouteflika. Ben Bella told me in person that it was Bouteflika who did it. He wants a way to solve this difficulty. After Ben Bella was overthrown, they said that it was Ben Bella who asked. Our Ambassador Zeng Tao was not tactful. This issue was raised in the Standing Committee. The Algeria Foreign Ministry was greatly irritated and thought that Ambassador Zeng Tao should be expelled. The reason is that he spoke of its sore spot.
With regard to the assessment of the Algerian coup d’etat of 19 June, we believed the words of the UAR and assessed it as good. Our assessment was wrong. Leaders of Asian and African countries in London at the time, as well as the leaders of some black African countries had their doubts about Boumediene and, in particular, Bouteflika. They were right. We should be frank. If we know something is wrong, then we admit it. In this struggle, the attitude of Boumediene and Bouteflika is much worse than that of Ben Bella.
Foreign Minister Pak: I said to Vice Premier Chen Yi at the time that Bouteflika was a bad person, and Vice Premier Chen Yi said he was a good person.
Zhou: Not only did you have your doubts, but Comrade Nguyen Duy Trinh did as well. When I later saw Comrade Nguyen Duy Trinh, I said to him: You were right, and we were wrong. Foreign Minister Pak’s doubt was also right. We should frankly admit that this was a mistake. In Africa, we have also admitted our mistake.
Chen: In any event, we have to examine it. My think that Bouteflika certainly will be first to fall from power.
Zhou: Perhaps, but not necessarily.
Chen: It is not only a problem of Bouteflika alone. We were wrong with regard to the entire coup d’etat of 19 June.
Zhou: During the African Summit, once we admitted this, many African countries that are friendly to us were very happy. Boumediene completely failed. Our frank attitude won over many countries. Boumediene personally went to Accra and failed completely. Toure, [Julius] Nyerere, Massamba-Débat, [Kwame] Nkrumah, and others joined together to question Boumediene. All the African subcommittees did not choose Algeria's participation and blocked it. At that time, Nasser changed his tone and said it could not be discussed at the foreign ministers conference discussion, but only in the Standing Committee. Therefore, Boumediene rushed back on the 24th. They themselves held a three-day meeting and discussed the issues of a postponement of the Asian-African Conference and relations with China. In the end they in fact themselves decided to agree on a postponement. With China, they still want to maintain relations. Boumediene is isolated in Africa. Of course, Comrade Chen Yi said that the future depends on development. This also shows that the struggle of the people of Asia and Africa is profound. We have work to do. We have to do a great deal of work and engage in more bilateral contacts. The theme is to speak of Asian-African solidarity under the banners of anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism, with the Vietnamese issue at the center.
As for the Conference of Newly Emerging Forces, if Sukarno is brought down by the Rightists or turned into a puppet, it will naturally collapse.
We will study the OSPAAAL Conference and other issues, put forth some views, and exchange them with you.
Well, then, these are our views on the three issues. If you have other issues, we will have another exchange in the afternoon.
Vice Premier Ri: Comrade Premier is very intense.
Zhou: They gave me a name: intense for a lifetime.
CC: Politburo Standing Committee; Peng Zhen, Chen Yi, [Li] Xiannian, [Luo] Ruiqing, Fang Yi, Li Qiang, Confidential Affairs Bureau, General Office, CPC Central Committee; Office of Foreign Affairs, CPC Central Committee (2), International Liaison Department, CPC Central Committee (2); Ministry of National Defense (1)
Zhang; Ji; Wang; Qiao; Han; Gong; Huan; General Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1); Second Asian Affairs Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; 5 file copies; 32 copies printed in total
Received on 15 November 1965 Submitted for printing on 16 November 1965
General Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Printed and distributed on 16 November 1965
Chen Yi, Zhou Enlai, Pak Seong-cheol, and Ri Ju-yeon have a detailed conversation about the situations in Indonesia, Algeria, Uganda, Mali, Guinea, and members of the Third World.
- China--Foreign relations--Indonesia
- Vietnam War, 1961-1975
- United States--Armed Forces
- France--Foreign relations--United States
- United States--Military policy
- Guinea--Foreign relations--Korea (North)
- Indonesia--Foreign relations--Korea (North)
- Cambodia--Foreign relations--China
- Afro-Asian politics
- Egypt--Foreign relations--Korea (North)
- Korea (North)--Foreign relations--Uganda
- China--Foreign relations--Egypt
- Algeria--Foreign relations--China
- Indonesia--Politics and government--1950-1966
- Algeria--Politics and government--1962-1990
- China--Foreign relations--Uganda
- China--Foreign relations--Guinea
- United States--Foreign relations--Vietnam (Republic)
- Burundi--Foreign relations--China
- China--Foreign relations--Kenya
- Indonesia--Military policy
- Asian-African Conference (1st : 1955 : Bandung, Indonesia)
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