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August 1, 1958

Second Conversation of N.S. Khrushchev with Mao Zedong, August 1, 1958, in Zhongnanhai

This document was made possible with support from Blavatnik Family Foundation


August 1, 1958, in Zhongnanhai[1]


Present [at the meeting]:

Cdes. Khrushchev, Malinovsky, Kuznetsov, Ponomarev, and Antonov.

Cdes. Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai, Zhu De, Peng Dehuai, Chen Yi, Lin Biao, Peng Zhen, Deng Xiaoping, Chen Yun, Wang Jiaxiang, Yang Shangkun, and Hu Qiaomu. 

N.S. Khrushchev and Mao Zedong briefly recalled past meetings before the start of the conversation.

MAO ZEDONG. In 1954 you asked us for Chinese, but then refused.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Yes, we asked, but then refused because, as it turned out, there was no labor force shortage. The problem was in a poor organization of labor. Right now we even have a surplus of a workforce.

MAO ZEDONG. Possibly I somewhat disappointed you then. It is hard to assimilate Chinese. They even want to be buried in their homeland after death. They bring emigres who live in America and the countries of Southeast Asia to be buried in China. But, if you want, we can give you 100 million people. However, if they remain in the USSR, then what good will [is it if] they form a bloc.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Chinese workers have worked in our Siberia. They worked three years and went to China, and right now all have returned to the USSR.

MAO ZEDONG. What I have said relates to history. Now, after the socialist reforms, people have changed.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Many Chinese even married in our [country] [u nas]. It was Stalin who previously did not permit [them] to marry.

They switch to international questions.

MAO ZEDONG. Today I would like to raise questions of the international situation, methods of work, and relations between our Parties to a broader audience. Marxism-Leninism is the foundation of our Parties. This is common, but historically there are some differences between both Parties as well as between nations. These are minor but nevertheless differences. In important questions our Parties hold to common principles, of course. Even with the liquidation of nations, Parties, and countries minor differences will remain. The Chinese comrades sitting here are also not free of differences. One cannot say that there have been no disputes between us, but they became friends because they quarreled and battled. Don’t be afraid, we won’t battle with you.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV (jokingly). We are ready for battle, but the forces here are unequal.

MAO ZEDONG. On the other hand, your minister of defense is here.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. But you have Lin Biao.

MAO ZEDONG. I would like to exchange views on the international situation. The capitalist world is experiencing many difficulties. Outwardly it is strong, but it is like the old Chinese hero San Bianhu,[2] who could only strike three blows, after which he lost all his strength. We are saying this completely reasonably. Hitler[3] launched only three blows. Chiang Kai-shek[4] also launched a few blows. America and Japan were strong only initially.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Don’t attack Japan. We have a Japanese here – Fedorenko, who will be the Soviet-Chinese representative in Japan.[5]

MAO ZEDONG. Good. We will give him our credentials.

The Americans in Korea tried to test our forces. They conducted a partial mobilization, but managed to collect only seven divisions. They had few people, and moreover their soldiers were pampered: they eat chocolate in the foxholes and drink milk. However, the combat capability of the U.S. cannot be ignored.

As concerns Britain, its forces are weaker. Its whole army constitutes 50-60,000 men. But its main strike forces are four groups of forces – 60,000 in the Middle East, 50,000 in West Germany, 12,000 in Britain proper, and 12,000 in Singapore. The rest of the troops are scattered throughout the whole world. As is evident, the main forces are concentrated in the Middle East and the FRG. There are few troops in Singapore and Britain itself, counting the troops which are suppressing [Northern] Ireland. It turns out that the troops are mainly in the middle, but there are few of them around the edges.

The main forces in the U.S. are also of three or four groupings. This is in the U.S. proper, Europe, and the Pacific Ocean. A small part of US forces is in Lebanon. As we know, America has a total of 19 divisions of ground forces. If a war starts, America will be seized by a panic. The same will also happen with Britain because there are few troops in Britain, and Singapore and the Far East are open. Only a reserve in West Germany of 50,000 men is left. At the present time the Americans plan to leave Lebanon. This threatens the British troops in Jordan being left in the air.

The air forces in Lebanon are targeted against the USSR. The West has high hopes for Turkey, which has 12 divisions and cavalry. Turkey is stronger than Britain in ground forces but there is a big panic in Turkey. One group of Turkish forces is targeted against Bulgaria, another against Armenia, and a third against Syria and Iraq.

Britain, the U.S., and France still have not recognized Iraq, but Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, the FRG, Italy, Greece, and Japan already have.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. We can congratulate one another.

MAO ZEDONG. We have therefore gathered here.

There have been so many military campaigns during the time which has passed since the Second World War. These were first of all Korea and events in the Middle East. This time events in the Middle East developed very well. When could we have so denounced America like this before? During the First World War the United States did not take part in combat operations and was slow, referring to the principles of equality, etc.[6] During the Second World War with fascism America also entered the war only two-three years later.[7] After the second war the situation had changed and forced the Americans themselves to be more active. Their strategic course changed. This was evident from the example of Korea and Lebanon. In Korea they waged war supposedly against aggression and in the eyes of the peoples of the world to some degree they seemed defenders of security since they responded to the attack of Kim Il Sung.[8]

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV (jokingly). We don’t know who began [the war]. The Chinese should know, Zhou Enlai knows.

ZHOU ENLAI. According to our information the Soviet comrades also know.

MAO ZEDONG. They do not know, but the Americans know. It was hard to catch the Americans then. Now it’s easy to catch them. No one touched them in the Middle East. However, they announced that indirect aggression exists in Lebanon and in Jordan. They brought all their forces located in Europe, in the Mediterranean Sea, Africa, and the Pacific Ocean into combat readiness without mobilization; moreover, all these preparations occurred in the open. It was published in newspapers and on the radio what units were being moved and to where. But then a secret order was issued, as a result of which open radio communications between troops was sharply reduced beginning 15 July. The order was cancelled as of 29 July and communications were again conducted by radio, with the exception of the region of NATO, the Mediterranean Sea, and the western part of the Pacific Ocean; the state of combat readiness in their countries and the eastern part of the Pacific Ocean was cancelled. There is no need to keep the secret in the western and southern parts of the Pacific Ocean.

How many troops were they able to collect as a result of all this fuss? A total of 12,000. Their troops are deployed in three places right now – in Lebanon, on ships of the Sixth Fleet, and partially in Turkey. A total of only one battalion was sent from the Pacific Ocean region via Singapore. Right now, it is in India. As is evident, they can move their troops only in battalions. It was announced that four divisions stationed in the US will be transferred, but it is apparent right now that they have remained in place.

In the West America is often depicted as Uncle Sam, the Soviet Union in the form of a bear, and France in the form of a young woman. In my view all these symbols correspond to [their] content. America is trying to look strong, but it is actually already heading toward old age, to decline, although as a country the U.S. has existed for 170 years. The bourgeoisie has already grown old. No one is panicking like the American bourgeoisie, except perhaps Chiang Kai-shek and Syngman Rhee,[9] in spite of their outward strength and in spite of the fact that the Communist Party there is weak. McCarthyism, the [House] Unamerican Activities Committee, etc. are evidence of this. America is experiencing fear more than Britain, the FRG, and Italy. In Italy, for example, the Communist Party is strong, but the bourgeoisie of this country is not particularly afraid. America fears the future even more than Japan.

This time America has completely exposed itself in the Middle East. In spite of all the assurances of Eisenhower and Dulles[10] their Sixth Fleet has already been off the coast of Lebanon for a month. It was written in your newspaper that the American ships were anchored there because America was stretching [its] paws toward the Middle East. I think that this is absolutely correct. Otherwise, they would have waited at least a day after the events in Iraq, but they decided to act immediately. The revolution in Iraq occurred at three or four in the morning, but Eisenhower discussed this question already the same day and came to the conclusion that without sending troops there the entire [Middle] East would be lost.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. They made the right decision for themselves.

MAO ZEDONG. Their nerves are not in order. They themselves understand very well that their forces are limited, but in that event what can there be? Therefore, they decided to give the appearance that they are strong and seem to intend to fight. In fact, they have managed to collect a total of only 12,000 troops. They had an intention of swallowing Iraq, then the entire Middle East, but they didn’t think there would be such a storm, such a wave would rise against them.

Our ambassadors in India, Burma, and the other countries of Southeast Asia express dissatisfaction in their reports that during the recent events these countries behaved more cautiously, with more restraint, than during the Suez Crisis.[11] I don’t agree with such an assessment. In fact, four countries of Northern Europe, the Netherlands, Canada, and Luxembourg opposed the American aggression. [Those] who supported America were Britain, Lebanon, rather the President of Lebanon alone, the King of Jordan, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, and Australia. A total of seven countries, including the United States. And who recognized Iraq, the members of the Baghdad Pact, first of all. There are many surprises in the world – the question of attacking Iraq was discussed at a conference of the Baghdad Pact in London, but as a result the recognition of Iraq occurred. During a trip to the FRG Dulles tried to put pressure on the West German government, but as soon as he left the FRG recognized Iraq.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. West Germany has big interests in this region.

MAO ZEDONG. The United States is the most undemocratic country, the most dictatorial state. The U.S. has not consulted with anyone in its actions, except Britain. But Britain could not immediately follow America and therefore it introduced its own troops into Jordan with a delay. I think that Britain is glad that America had the initiative in this matter, but if the Americans leave Lebanon, then it will be difficult for Britain in Jordan.

We have closely studied your letter to De Gaulle[12] and paid attention to the fact that the French announced the dispatch of their warships to the shores of Lebanon. They denied that this was a show of force and asserted that the warships were sent there to check how French people were living there, as if it was necessary to send two warships for this. It seems to me that France also wanted to get involved in this matter, but the Americans did not want this. When the Eisenhower Doctrine[13] was announced, Dulles said that it would be better for him to act in the Middle East without Britain and France, which were in bad odor [pakhnut] after Suez. And at that time the Americans only permitted Britain to take part, and turned down the French. Therefore, De Gaulle had to change [his] tone.

The American troops have not yet left Lebanon. A President has already been elected there[14] and there are rumors that the Americans leave Lebanon, but the British are worried about it, therefore the Americans say that they will leave their logistical units in Lebanon to help the British.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Who says so?

MAO ZEDONG. The press says so.

I think that these rumors are true, the Americans are planning to leave there. Obviously, after this they will seek, if not a conference of heads of government and not the convening of a conference within the framework of the Security Council, then an extraordinary session of the UN. Earlier there was no hope of this, although the Soviet Union also offered such an initiative. I don’t know whether my information is correct, but the U.S. position with respect to the convening of an extraordinary session of the UN is not very active, it seems. What will a delay give them? They are doing everything to delay since they want first of all to withdraw at least half of their troops from Lebanon. Their reputation might be improved from this. Then they will say “we are doing everything to normalize the situation, and do not plan to attack Iraq.” At the present time a new President has already been elected in Lebanon and Hammarskjöld[15] is trying to increase the number of observers there.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. This would then mean US recognition of the Iraqi method. We are in favor of them welcoming this method.

MAO ZEDONG. I think that Lebanon will go its own way, but not the American [way]. Chehad has been elected President there. He is a Christian, but a Muslim should have been in this position There are many middle [promezhutochnye] forces besides pro- and anti-American forces in Lebanon. For example, if Chamoun was clearly pro-American then Chehad takes a middle position. Why wouldn’t Lebanon go its own way? The national revolution in Lebanon suffered no damage, now a split is occurring in the country into those who are for and who are against America. By the fact that the Americans revealed themselves in Lebanon, they did well. It will be interesting for us to know what the British will do in Jordan with their 60,000 troops. The British are acting desperately, like madmen.

They have the same sentiments right now as before: they take up arms as soon as their interests in the Middle East suffer defeat. Their actions right now are like how they acted in Suez, without even consulting with their allies.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. No, they have sought advice.

MAO ZEDONG. They sought advice, but they did not come to agreement.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. The question here is more complex. They have possibly come to agreement with the distribution of roles so as not to give a political win to the socialist camp, but to pull away the opposition forces during the Suez Crisis to the side of the U.S.

MAO ZEDONG. This is one of the possibilities. Another is also possible. The U.S. does not want to act together with the British and French forces, as was evident from the very beginning of the implementation of the Eisenhower Doctrine. It would mean a clash of their interests.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Right, this is taking place. It is apparent to everyone that Britain and France are obvious colonizers. When the U.S. acts together with them, the state of affairs are clear to the Arab peoples. This discredits the Eisenhower Doctrine.

MAO ZEDONG. Yes, this time Britain and France got into trouble, and therefore all the initiative was in the hands of the U.S. just now. Events have developed like the steps of a ladder – first the U.S., then Britain, then France wanted to get involved, but it was not allowed. Madmen often act very crudely. They don’t reckon with the consequences, although they try not to be presented as aggressors, but the whole world in fact considers them as aggressors. However, if this question were put to a vote in the UN, they would get a majority by pressuring such countries as Canada and Japan. This is also understandable by virtue of the class nature of the countries which are members of the Security Council. “Our friend” Chiang Kai-shek and the former representative of Iraq will unquestionably vote for them. The remaining votes will be obtained by lobbying the other delegations.

Never before, except during the Korean War, have they suffered great damage and acted in the role of “defenders”. How didn’t they take into account this time that they exposed themselves! The Americans grabbed at the draft Japanese resolution like a drowning man for a straw. The U.S. ambassador in Japan[16] expressed his appreciation about this to the Japanese MFA. This is not new. We have already seen how the Americans are paying their respects to the Japanese, which had not happened before.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Evidently Japan is acting on the advice of the U.S. and therefore now the Americans are thanking them for their vigorous actions. The Japanese motion gave the U.S. an opportunity to save face and withdraw its troops from Lebanon without condemnation. The motion was American, but was offered by the Japanese.

MAO ZEDONG. This proves that the power of the U.S. is limited, that they are faced with many difficulties and the overall situation in the world is not developing in their favor. They are isolated, but their main difficulty is few people. Their population is 170 million, but their army is 2.6 million men, of which 800,000 are ground forces, that is, up to about one-third for the Army, and the Navy and Air Force. I agree with you that the navy isn’t needed except for intimidation but the Air Force can still be used.  There are many logistical units in America, but only 19 divisions can fight in forward positions, that is, less than 300,000 men. Earlier they said that there are more than 20,000 men in one American division, but it is as though they have been reduced to 12,000.

MALINOVSKY. Previously a division consisted of 17,000 men. Right now, they have made five-tailed ones [pyatikhvostki], that is, a mobile division of 12,000 men.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Cde. Malinovsky just returned from Germany, where he spent [his] leave and should know these things.

MAO ZEDONG. The Americans had to move the 24th Division from Germany to Lebanon.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. And they violated the neutrality of Austria when doing this.

MAO ZEDONG. The Americans’ cards are completely exposed right now. In our opinion, the Americans don’t want to fight in Lebanon and Iraq. We are in harmony with the U.S. on this question.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. We have our representative in the American government – Dulles. Better to deal with a fool than with a smart person.

MAO ZEDONG. I don’t say this as a joke. He is not a bad person, and is to our advantage.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. That’s why we drank with him in Geneva.[17]

MAO ZEDONG. But Eden was very jealous at the time.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Eden is the smartest one of them.

MAO ZEDONG. Things are bad for Eden right now.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Yes, he went behind a storm cloud.

MAO ZEDONG. Macmillan’s[18] situation is also not good. He is still not at a dead-end, but is heading for this.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Yes, at least in damage. He will evidently seek talks with the Soviet Union, a meeting before the elections in the expectation of getting votes in the elections. Otherwise, the results of this meeting would be used by the Laborites in Britain and the Democrats in the U.S.

MAO ZEDONG. Does the possibility of such a meeting exist?

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Yes, but somewhat later – before the elections to the British Parliament. Macmillan is interested in speaking to the public as an advocate of conciliation with Russia. And then the Conservatives might get a majority.

MAO ZEDONG. What is your opinion of De Gaulle?

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. A poor person, a pro-fascist.

MAO ZEDONG. Really worse than Guy Mollet?[19]

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Both are bad.

MAO ZEDONG. In my opinion, he is better because he might have differences with America and Britain.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. That’s correct, and we should use this in international policy. He is more to our advantage in this respect than Guy Mollet. But De Gaulle represents the most reactionary forces inside the country.

MAO ZEDONG. How to speak, the most reactionary forces [?]. Were there previously fewer reactionaries in the country?

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Guy Mollet is nevertheless a socialist and he was forced to reckon with the workers, but De Gaulle is free. He relies on the military and big bourgeoisie. He will conduct a more audacious policy.

MAO ZEDONG. This is right. How long can De Gaulle hold out, in your opinion?

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. It is hard to say right now, the forces are still not determined. But the Communists are mobilizing all the forces to say “no” when voting for a new constitution.[20] If the constitution is not ratified, De Gaulle is overthrown, but it is not excluded that the Gaullists will seek a military coup. France is heading for an aggravation of the class struggle. This is the weakest spot in NATO right now.

MAO ZEDONG. I don’t completely agree. The Communists of France should vigorously oppose De Gaulle, but in their long-term interests it is better to keep De Gaulle in power. As you see, I have pro-fascist sympathies. In case De Gaulle is overthrown sympathies toward him will remain in the people. The new government will be unstable and then De Gaulle will again come to power. It would be better if he stayed, but not for long, for three or five years. Let the Communist Party of France temper itself in battle with him. For before this it had to wage a fight only with the liberals. It is hard to develop Communists without pressure and repression. Let all poisonous herbs grow in the country, and more. From the point of view of international politics De Gaulle is more to our advantage, first because he is more friendly toward us and, second, because he is accustomed to seeking conflict with America and Britain. The people of France will then get a lesson. It’s a pity that De Gaulle is one [person]. It would be good if there were two [of him]. One could be overthrown, and the other put [in power].

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. We are considering De Gaulle’s positions in international affairs and using [them] in our policy.

MAO ZEDONG. We both oppose and support De Gaulle. Our newspaper Renmin ribao [People’s Daily] published critical articles against De Gaulle. Pravda also criticized [him].

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV (jokingly). This doesn’t concern us, this is a Party publication.

We even had a misunderstanding. A Politburo member of the CPF expressed dissatisfaction with our policy for insufficiently criticizing De Gaulle.

MAO ZEDONG. They need to be told: the more reactionary De Gaulle is, the better.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. We are acting somewhat differently: we don’t oppose De Gaulle very much so as not to interfere with the development of relations through government channels. We think that this question is domestic. It is better not to reproach the French Communists for following Moscow. The French Communists agree with us on these questions. We ourselves are not opposed him, but speeches by Duclos and Thorez[21] were published in our press to correctly orient our Party and the public. We turned to the PCF Politburo about what aid they needed. The French Comrades said exactly what I said just now.

MAO ZEDONG. I would like to add to what [you] said. From the point of view of the domestic situation in France the coming to power of De Gaulle is also beneficial. It is necessary to prepare for a referendum possibly not providing the opportunity to overthrow him; then the reasons for the seizure of power by the reactionary bourgeoisie headed by De Gaulle will need to be explained to the French working class. It needs to be said that this is an unavoidable phenomenon. If he is overthrown right now then he might come again.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Possibly they will vote for him, [as] the forces in the country have not been determined. The situation in Algeria is completely out of control, but inside France the Communists think that they can control the elections.

MAO ZEDONG. Hitler’s coming to power was also unavoidable. Since poisonous herbs exist it is because they are not detected. We do not ask them, but they rise to the surface themselves. This gives us the opportunity to eliminate them when they are completely grown. Of course, as a result of Hitler’s campaign you had victims, but as a result of this there also appeared East European countries of people’s democracy, and Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia were added. Wasn’t this useful? I was talking with the Japanese. They kept apologizing for Japan committing aggression in China. But I said that it was not necessary to apologize. If the Japanese had not occupied half of China, I would not have come to Beijing. As a result of Japan’s attack all the people of China were aroused to fight and therefore the Japanese left and we came.[22] One doesn’t write this in the newspapers, although such thoughts are also slipped in.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. This is historically correct.

MAO ZEDONG. Maybe it will be hard for all the people of France to understand, but it is necessary for French workers and the Party not to fear De Gaulle coming to power. The sufferings will be temporary for the people.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Yes, preparations are necessary in a moral sense. But it is also necessary to mobilize all the forces to rebuff De Gaulle and temper the working class in the struggle.

MAO ZEDONG. Then in case of defeat the Party won’t experience fear and pessimism won’t be allowed.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. I agree with this analysis. I remember when Zhou Enlai and Ho Chi Minh discussed the question of Vietnam with me in Moscow, then Ho Chi Minh thought that the French would smash him, and asked for help with volunteers, as was done in Korea. Then Zhou Enlai said that it [was] better not to do this. We agreed, but did not say anything to Ho Chi Minh so as not to prevent him from mobilizing [his] forces. As a result, Ho Chi Minh defeated the French.[23] As you can see, we formed a plot with Zhou Enlai against Ho Chi Minh. It might also be that France, having mobilized forces, can smash De Gaulle without going through a bloody school.

MAO ZEDONG. Our comrades are often prevented from seeing the essence of the question by [their] outer character. The case with Ho Chi Minh is just an example of this. The French then seemed strong, but as a result it turned out that they suffered defeat at Dien Bien Phu.[24] In other words, they seemed outwardly stronger but in essence they turned out to be weaker.

ZHOU ENLAI. Yes, I recall how we came to agreement in Moscow. The French then made big concessions in Geneva, more than we had suggested and ceded much territory to Ho Chi Minh. This also showed their weakness, but we should thank Mendes-France[25] for this.

MAO ZEDONG. Whoever foresaw during Hitler’s attack on Moscow that then there would appear a socialist camp from the Elbe to the Kurile Islands, to the 38th Parallel in Korea and the 17th in Vietnam [?]

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV (jokingly). Maybe you’re proposing a monument to Hitler?

MAO ZEDONG. I would like to set up a monument to Hitler, Chiang Kai-shek, and Dulles. Our teachers are the theory of Marxism-Leninism and fascism. When both teachers teach, people become smarter more quickly. Both teachers need to be molded. We alone – China – could not have molded the people this way if there had been no Chiang Kai-shek and Japan.

But who foresaw that Nehru, U Nu, Sukarno,[26] and Nasser would head the new nation states?

Marx[27] had some adventurist sentiments. He thought and said that soon will come the day of the victory of the world proletariat, but this prediction did not develop and then he spoke again about a new deadline.

Lenin’s[28] prediction was correct. I also did not think that the victory of the revolution in China would happen so quickly. The situation is completely different right now than during Marx and Lenin. The forces of the United States of America are weak, in spite of outward appearances. This is evident in the Middle East. We have won a definite victory, the enemy has retreated.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. The victory in the [Middle] East can have very great consequences. I agree with your analysis, but you counted only the infantry forces of the U.S. and Britain, for the West is not competing with us in the numbers of troops; they are relying on atomic weaponry – aircraft, missiles, and bases. The correlation of manpower is not being taken into account. In modern war, when there will be no front, the correlation of forces is determined by the quantity of atomic and hydrogen bombs and means of transporting them. It is necessary to take into consideration not only the ground troops in Lebanon and Jordan, but even that they have brought in the Sixth Fleet with hydrogen weapons. Large forces have been concentrated to restrain the U.S. position. It is not by chance that the commander of the Sixth Fleet[29] made a provocative speech against us and tried to show that the Soviet Union could be wiped out. We made a statement through TASS and ridiculed the statement of this commander, and at the same time announced maneuvers in three places, and sent Grechko and Meretskov[30] to the Turkish and Iranian borders.

MAO ZEDONG. We little know these names.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. One is a young marshal, the other is old. Meretskov, for example, is ill and can hardly stand on his feet, but is a famous person. He was Chief of the General Staff before the War, commanded in the Finland campaign, and fought the Japanese in Manchuria. His name is entirely suitable for such an announcement. In addition, we had arrangements with the Bulgarian comrades about our bomber aviation under Marshal Skripko[31] taking part in their maneuvers. We didn’t announce our maneuvers beforehand, but in the West they noted that the announcement was not coincidental. We did this in order to tie down [skovat’] the 6th Fleet. Therefore, the Americans had to send troops to Turkey to support the Turkish government. We said earlier that we can destroy Turkey with missiles without any troops. Then after this the NATO commander[32] also calmed down the Turks, saying, don’t be afraid, if they attack you the U.S. will come to your aid on the 50th day. What, will they come to the funerals, and that they are probably afraid of landing in a contaminated zone? The Turks got in touch with us after this. The President and Prime Minister expressed this desire.[33] Zorlu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs,[34] was opposed, but we criticized him in the press. We have reliable documents in our hands that Turkey, Iraq (it is an obvious typo; it must be Iran. – A.P. & N. P.), and Pakistan agreed on joint attacks on Iraq and asked only for US naval support, but the U.S. did not advise [this], because the people of Iraq were united and its borders are mountainous; this mission [could] not be accomplished right away and the war might become protracted. The source of this information is reliable.

MAO ZEDONG. We are familiar with the statement of the commander of the 6th Fleet, but when was Norstad’s speech?

MALINOVSKY. During the Syrian crisis.[35]

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. The correlation of forces in the Arab [Middle] East is not in favor of the West. The prestige of the U.S. has suffered. They should have had to fight to punish the Arabs in order to justify the Eisenhower Doctrine and save its face, but did not fight and recognized Iraq. They thereby suffered a moral defeat and admitted that there was no more Eisenhower Doctrine. Events in Iraq put an end to it. The Arabs understood that they could get to the same place as Lebanon and Jordan have come, but they also understood that it was better to go the Iraqi route, that is, not to drag things out, [but] to immediately chop off the heads of the reactionary clique.

MAO ZEDONG. Yes, they made a revolution in an hour.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. It is interesting how the Iranians and Turks felt when Feisal’s head was cut off,[36] for the Americans did not lift a finger and killed the hope that they would come to the aid of the reactionary forces.

We won three battles without a war: first – Suez; second – Syria, and third – Iraq. How can we not rejoice at this?

MAO ZEDONG. That’s why we are meeting here to congratulate one another.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. There are three Communists in the Iraq government. It is not yet clear how events will develop. Nasser is in favor of turning Iraq to his path. This is no danger to us. But one also cannot give up. One cannot allow the union of Iraq and the UAR,[37] as was done with Syria. The political parties in Iraq need to be preserved and democratic freedom created.

MAO ZEDONG. This is the best option.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Yes, the maximum program. The minimum program is if they unite with the UAR. This is not a defeat, but it will mean a move from class struggle to a national one. [We] need not give up. And I met with Nasser at his initiative.

MAO ZEDONG. How long did he spend in Moscow and where did he arrive from?

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. He flew in from Yugoslavia, and spent a day with us. Here is the history. He finished his visit in Yugoslavia[38] and left for Egypt on a yacht. The revolution in Iraq occurred during this time [Actually, on July 14. – A.P. & N.P].  He did not know anything about it, and only boasted that he knew everything. The Yugoslav ambassador[39] visited me and passed on a request of Nasser and Tito[40] to give a Soviet aircraft so that Nasser could go to Egypt. This was done on Tito’s advice; otherwise, the Americans could grab Nasser on the yacht. He was correct here. When Tito passed to Nasser that the Russians were giving [him] a plane, after two hours the Yugoslav ambassador again asked me to receive him and said, “Nasser want to fly to Moscow for a conversation”. Tito did not like this. Nasser arrived at night.[41] At night we Russians sleep, not like the Chinese. A meeting with Nasser was set for 10 a.m. the next day and we talked until 5 p.m.[42] We only took a break for two hours. He wanted to consult with Fawzi, his minister of foreign affairs.[43] This is a smart man. We talked again in the evening and Nasser flew out at 4 a.m. I advised him to fly not through Yugoslavia, since he was afraid, they would shoot him down, but via Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Nasser says, “Right, but how [can we] get permission for an overflight?”

MAO ZEDONG. Did they fly along this route earlier?

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. We were afraid that Iran would not give permission in a day. We arranged with Nasser that we would talk with Iran, but he [would talk] with Iraq and with Saudi Arabia. If Saudi Arabia would not give permission for the overflight, then he would be able to fly via Iran and Iraq and directly to Syria. Nasser was afraid the Iranians would shoot down his plane. But we calmed him down, [saying] that this could not happen, otherwise there would be war. When the MFA summoned the Iranian ambassador to Zorin[44] he was shaking like in a fever, fearing that we were planning to declare war since there had previously been an announcement about exercises.

MAO ZEDONG. I would also have become pale in such an event.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. When Zorin told the ambassador that a commission was flying to Egypt to coordinate questions connected with Soviet-Egyptian agreement and the USSR was asking that permission be granted for the overflight of an aircraft, the Iranian ambassador was so happy that he immediately ran to the Embassy and permission was given at 10 p. m. But Saudi Arabia did not give permission for the overflight. Nasser wanted to fly without permission. I objected and said this would be a bad precedent since it would show that we did not respect the sovereignty of the countries of the Middle East. We would tie our hands with this and could not protest violations of the neutrality of Austria. When the pilot of the aircraft reported that Nasser wanted the aircraft to fly right across Saudi Arabia, we ordered him to fly to Damascus. As a result, nothing bad happened. A representative of Iraq came to Damascus and Nasser held a conference. I am confident that this conference was against us. Nasser met there with Aref, a deputy chairman of the government,[45] an extreme opponent of cooperation with Communists.

When I talked with Nasser, I told him to advise the Iraqi government in his name so that they announce after the revolution that they were keeping all the treaties with the West and would continue supplies of oil. This is to our advantage, the illusion is needed for the West, but then the industry could be gradually nationalized. If this were done right away then there might be a war, but right now the West is satisfied since the oil continues to come and the coup in Iraq is an internal matter. Nasser was pleased with this advice.

MAO ZEDONG. Well thought-out.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. But the representative of Iraq in the UN[46] even overreached and said that it seemed that they were not leaving the Baghdad Pact. But this was unfavorable for us. Nasser wanted to weaken the influence of the Communists in the country before the arrival of our ambassador. Right now, the Iraqi government is mainly getting advice from Nasser. They don’t know our point of view. If our ambassador were there, he could tell the prime minister our point of view. Evidently Nasser wants to become a monopolist. Iraq needs weapons. We agreed to furnish them, but Nasser said: give the weapons to me, and I will pass [them] to Iraq. We still had not received an official telegram and had not discussed the question and given a reply. We wanted to give weapons directly to Iraq, which would make it independent of Nasser.

MAO ZEDONG. Was this feasible in practice?

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Yes, through Syria, with Nasser’s knowledge. We are not against Nasser. But we wanted the weapons to go directly to Iraq. We have a private struggle with Nasser right now, but it is not the main thing. At worst, we could agree to the transfer of weapons via Nasser. The main thig is to preserve Iraq. In any event the matter will be in our favor.

MAO ZEDONG. It is entirely possible that Iraq will unite with the UAR.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Yes, but the Communists cannot be thrown under Nasser’s bus right away. Communists have great influence in Iraq right now. The revolution occurred according to the plant of the CC of the Communist Party of Iraq. Qasim is a good person,[47] but Nasser doesn’t like him and therefore it is possible that Naguib’s fate awaits him.[48]

MAO ZEDONG. A request to talk about Naguib.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Naguib headed the revolt against the King of Egypt and was the President. Nasser overthrew him and now keeps him under house arrest.

MAO ZEDONG. Naguib wasn’t a pro-American figure?

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. No. He did not agree with Nasser in everything. Therefore, it is possible that Nasser will not trust Qasim because he sympathizes with the Communists.

MAO ZEDONG. They are already writing about this in the Western press.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Therefore, it is possible that they will put Aref in his place. Qasim has long been associated with the Communist Party. Back in 1956 we had a report that Qasim had proposed a plan for a coup. The plan came down to the King and Prime Minister[49] having to come to his unit. He wanted to make use of this and kill them both. But the plan was not carried out because the King arrived alone and Qasim was afraid that the revolt would be doomed to failure if the Prime Minister was not removed. We did not advise carrying out this plan then since we didn’t trust the report and thought that was a British provocation. But Qasim then did not carry out the coup not on our advice, but because there were no conditions. Now he has obtained the ability since his unit was sent to Jordan via Baghdad. How the situation will develop further is hard to say. Nasser will evidently achieve his goal. Apparently, the Communists will not be able to withstand him.

MAO ZEDONG. Isn’t there a strong Communist Party there?

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. It is not excluded that it will be decapitated. Class consciousness is still at a low level.

MAO ZEDONG. There are 60,000 Communists of the six million population of Iraq. Isn’t this enough?

B. N. PONOMAREV. No, there are about 2,000 Communists there during the underground, according to information of the leadership of the Iraqi Communist Party.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Right now we are trying for our ambassador to get there quicker.

MAO ZEDONG. What is going to happen if they don’t accept the ambassador?

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. They will accept [him], but they want to delay the time of arrival.

B. N. PONOMAREV says that there is already a report about Iraq’s agreement to the appointment of the Soviet ambassador.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Very good. It is possible that this is the result of our instruction to one Embassy official in Egypt, who was appointed Soviet [counselor] in Baghdad, to find his way to Baghdad through Syria and find [the reason] for the delay in the reply. This was done to avoid Nasser.

MAO ZEDONG. You spoke very well. We have essentially already switched to the question of the method of work. Your method is good since it is flexible. You have used the anti-Soviet statements of Norstad in your favor. You have successful held maneuvers just now. When both sides have atomic weaponry, they are afraid that they, too, might be destroyed. I said back in Moscow that both sides are afraid.[50] It is impossible that they are not afraid. Overwise, it turns out that I alone am afraid. Another question is who is more afraid. I began to think on this question several years ago. I think that the West is more afraid. I had an opportunity to verify my assumptions in many events. There were sometimes when they developed not in favor of my convictions, but it seemed more that my opinion was justified.

In a conversation with Gromyko, I then asked him about the spirits of Western diplomats. He replied that these shady people look upbeat, but really feel their weakness. I think that this judgment is well-founded.[51]

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Look, they started a war in Egypt, but did not bring it to an end. Twice [they] were on the edge of war – this is Syria and Iraq.

MAO ZEDONG. Right. Then in the conversation I was told that a statement about sending volunteers was made from tactical considerations. Gromyko did not know how to explain to Nasser if in fact volunteers would have to be sent. I asked him what is a limited war and could volunteers be sent in this case. He then replied that a war would arise if volunteers were sent. Is this correct? I doubt this. We tested doing this in Korea.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. In a conversation with me Nasser said that if the U.S. attacked Iraq, then Egypt would automatically enter the war. I did not advise him and cited the Chinese experience as an example. Officially China did not fight with America, but won the war.

MAO ZEDONG. There were a million and a half of our men there.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. I told Nasser that his entire army could fight in Iraq, pretending to be volunteers. Nasser did not agree with me.

MAO ZEDONG. In my opinion, our enemies agree with this means of waging war. In their opinion in general it is better to fight with volunteers, but not with countries. In my opinion, in general it is better not to send volunteers. But if there is a war, then it can be done. They say that the use of volunteers in war is an innovation of China and the Soviet Union, but in fact the Americans thought this up. For example, in China both you and the Americans helped Chiang Kai-shek. So, actually, the use of volunteers is everywhere an accepted system. If there is a conference of heads of government then it would be good to advise Dulles to switch to this system.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. I will tell Dulles that Mao Zedong suggests this, and I support [this].

MAO ZEDONG. Dulles won’t support this suggestion. Our friendship with him is not deep.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. But sometimes points of view coincide.

MALINOVSKY. There is a fine point on the question of the use of volunteers of how to use atomic weapons in a war. Atomic weapons need to be used against warring countries, but how is it to be when those fighting are not countries but volunteers [?] The use of such a weapon against them is inhumane. This would have a deterrent value for unleashing an atomic war.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. According to international law atomic weapons cannot be used since the country from which the volunteers came is not in a state of war.

In a conversation with me Nasser stubbornly sought [to find out] whether we would declare war if combat operations began there. I told him that you are the President, you can decide such questions personally, but I cannot without the government, I need to consult. (Ironically). It seems I convinced him. He understood that I didn’t want to give [my] word. I said that it is early to decide such a question right now, maybe the war can be won without shooting. Everything will depend on the conditions. Nasser asked me to give him bombers and rockets. We didn’t give [them] to him, saying that it will be better for him if the bombers and rockets were only in our hands. Then he asked me to give him medium-range missiles. I asked what, in your opinion, is medium range [?] He replied, 60-70 kilometers. I said that for us medium range is 2,000-2,500 kilometers.

Nasser suggested announcing our meeting himself. He said: in the West they meet and announce but why can’t we? We agreed to publish a communiqué. This was very useful.

MAO ZEDONG. Yes, it was very useful.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Then through his correspondents Nasser instigated that Khrushchev declared such and such. This was all untrue.

MAO ZEDONG. The assertions of the journalists were not categorical.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Before leaving for Beijing, I received Indian journalists.[52] They asked me: is it true that I made such statements to Nasser[?] I avoided this question, saying neither yes nor no, let them think about it.

MAO ZEDONG. I think that it is necessary to fight all the time and have the correct tactics of fighting. I think that the situation is favorable for us. When I talked about correlation of forces between the capitalist camp and us, I intentionally avoided the question of missile weaponry. You made a good addition to this question. Yesterday I asked you about the quantitative difference between the inventory of our missile weaponry between them and you. You replied that the difference is not great.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Yes, the difference is chiefly qualitative.

MAO ZEDONG. You also said that the production of missiles is very expensive.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Yes, expensive, but it is necessary to produce [them], and we will produce [them].

MAO ZEDONG. Then in the event of war we will get missiles from you.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. By that time you will have your own.

MAO ZEDONG. Our country is poor, it is hard to say whether we will have missiles.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Who said your country is poor? The wealth of your country is people. Your country is growing like a Herculean [bogaytrsky] child.

MAO ZEDONG. Is it not?

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. We have one another’s backs. We are looking forward and therefore we do not fear for our rear. You are looking forward and you do not fear for your rear since we are covering you. This is good.

MAO ZEDONG. For which we also built a specialized steel plant in Qiqihar.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. This is good. Build a nuclear submarine yard.

MAO ZEDONG. We will build [one] without fail. With your aid we will turn into winged tigers but, on the other hand, we have a claim against you.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. You threw burrs into our garden in a friendly manner.

MAO ZEDONG. You want us to clean.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. No matter, we’ll walk in slippers.

MAO ZEDONG. Maybe you still haven’t figured it out yet. This is not a burr but the gold.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. We aren’t taking another’s gold. Even Lenin said that when we win, we will use the gold to decorate the public latrines.[53]

MAO ZEDONG. Then we’ll built it together.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Right. So it will be. Communism cannot be national, Russian, Chinese, or Yugoslav.

MAO ZEDONG. What will happen to the UN then?

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. It will fly up to the sky.

MAO ZEDONG. I would suggest making a floating city on ships and then sending representatives from all countries there.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Right. And then there should be a single center organizing and coordinating the economic efforts.  Whom are you sending to the ship [?]

MAO ZEDONG. I will float myself. Here, by the way, yesterday you did not agree with me on the question of advisers.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. You’re being disingenuous, you are taking advantageous positions. You want to have our advisers and criticize us for them.

MAO ZEDONG. Then we will send no one to the ship.

LIU SHAOQI. We are telling you our comments concerning the advisers just to your face and to no one else.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. It is better if I expressed comments about Chinese advisers and Mao Zedong listened.

MAO ZEDONG. Yesterday you said that you were in a disadvantageous position; why did you then make the first socialist revolution?

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. And this is also our fault, for this are we paying back to the Chinese?

MAO ZEDONG. Lenin made this.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. But he died.

MAO ZEDONG. And he left you to figure it out. But Lenin is everywhere. When is he right now? Maybe above the American 6th Fleet?

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. In the Middle East. The 6th Fleet is a mirage. If it had no USSR on [its] left flank it would be insolent, but right now it is afraid, although it shouts.

MALINOVSKY. A strong enemy never shouts.

MAO ZEDONG. Right. And here the Americans shout to the entire world.

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Like in a forest – whoever fears to go alone either sings or whistles.

I think we need to step up our policy in the Mediterranean Sea. As I already said yesterday Albania needs to be made more active. Missile weaponry, missile-carrying aircraft, a submarine fleet, torpedo boats, and good coastal equipment are needed to be there. Then we’ll see how the 6th American Fleet behaves.

MAO ZEDONG. What is the position of Yugoslavia in connection with the events in the Middle East [?]

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. [Their] position is not bad. Insufficient, but not bad. Tito is acting according to the proverb “Both pray to God and do not interfere with the Devil.” He is pursuing such a policy because he doesn’t want to break with the U.S. I told Nasser: you are friends with Tito, suggest to him that he make a statement that the USSR, Yugoslavia, Albania, and Bulgaria – the countries having common interests in this region – adopt joint measures in the event of a threat to peace in this region to create the impression that we have supposedly already come to agreement. I said to Nasser that then there will be no war, but [I] am not confident that Tito will go for this. That’s what kind “your friend” is.

MAO ZEDONG. Did Nasser manage to come to agreement with Tito on this question?

N.S. KHRUSHCHEV. Of course not. It is impossible to come to agreement with Tito about this, but I have thrown a burr on their path.


Conversation transcribed by

N. Fedorenko

A. Filyov

RGANI. Collection 52. Inventory 1. File 498. Sheets 78-107. Typescript. N.S. Khrushchev’s Copy.


[1]The conversation actually took place in the Swimming Pool Pavilion in Zhongnanhai. An interesting detail: evidently Fedorenko and Filyov were embarrassed to indicate this.

[2]The interpreter did not understand what Mao Zedong wanted to say or did not catch what he had said. Mao was actually comparing the capitalist world to “the hero of the ‘three-edged ax’” (san banfu yingxiong三板斧英雄). He had in mind the legendary general of the Tang dynasty Cheng Yaojin (589-665) who knew only three battle blows with his ax. In contemporary Chinese, the expression “san banfu” means “only three tricks”.

[3]Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) — chancellor of Germany (1933-1945), the ideologist of Nazism.

[4]Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975) headed the Republic of China in 1928-1945, and later was the president of Taiwan.

[5]Nikolai Trofimovich Fedorenko (1912-2000) was appointed ambassador to Japan back on June 15, 1958. Prior to this, from 1955 on, he had worked as deputy minister of foreign affairs. It is curious that on May 4, 1958, in the course of a conversation with acting chargé d’affaires of the PRC in the USSR Chen Chu (1917-1999), to a question about “appointment of the Soviet ambassador to Japan” (probably the question was when and who would be appointed ambassador) Fedorenko replied that he did not possess such information.

[6]The United States entered the First World War on April 6, 1917, four months earlier than China (the Republic of China declared war against Germany and Austro-Hungary on August 14, 1917).

[7]The United States entered the Second World War on December 8, 1941.

[8]Kim Il Sung (1912-1994) – Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the DPRK in 1948-1972, president of the DPRK in 1972-1994.

[9]Syngman Rhee (1875-1965) – president of the Republic of Korea in 1948-1960.

[10]Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) – thirty-fourth president of the United States in 1953-1961. John Foster Dulles (1888-1959) was secretary of state of the United States in 1953-1959.

[11]Reference is to the second Arab-Israeli War of 1956-1957 during which the forces of Israel, Great Britain, and France attacked Egypt, whose president Gamal Abdel Nasser (1918-1970) had nationalized the Suez Canal on July 26, 1956.

[12]Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970) was chairman of the Council of Ministers of France in 1958-1959, then (1959-1969) President of the French Republic.

[13]The Eisenhower Doctrine was proclaimed on January 5, 1957. According to this doctrine, any country subjected to armed aggression could request economic and/or military assistance from the United States. Putting this doctrine into force, Eisenhower sent troops to Lebanon.

[14]Reference is to Fuad Chehab (1902-1973) who succeeded Camille Chamoun (1900-1987), whom the Americans had persuaded to retire, as president of Lebanon.

[15]Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961) – Secretary General of the UN in 1953-1961.

[16]Douglas MacArthur II (1909-1997) was U.S. ambassador to Japan in 1957-1961.

[17]Apparently, the reference is to the summit meeting in Geneva on July 18, 1955.

[18]Harold Macmillan (1894-1986) was prime minister of Great Britain in 1957-1963.

[19]Guy Mollet (1905-1975) was chairman of the Council of Ministers of France in 1956-1957.

[20]The constitutional referendum was held in France on September 28, 1958. 79 percent of the French people voted in favor of a new Constitution in which power was concentrated in the hands of the President.

[21]Jacques Duclos (1896-1975) and Maurice Thorez (1900-1964) were leaders of the French Communist Party in 1964-1975 and 1930-1964 respectively.

[22]Мао announced this on September 4, 1956 in a meeting with former lieutenant-general of the Japanese army Endo Saburo (1893-1984).

[23]The President of the DRV Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969) was only able to discuss this with Khrushchev and Zhou Enlai in Moscow, in March 1953, after the funeral of Stalin. To be sure, up till now there is no documentary evidence confirming Ho Chi Minh’s visit to Moscow at this time, but it is known that Zhou Enlai, who at the time was in Moscow, on March 13, 1953, two days after a conversation with the new leaders of the CPSU, including Khrushchev, sent a telegram to the chief of the group of PRC political advisors in Vietnam Luo Guibo (1908-1995) and the CC of the Vietnam Workers’ Party saying that “the question of supplying military technology to Vietnam can be resolved.” Li Ping and Ma Zhisun, eds., Zhou Enlai nianpu [1949-1976]) (Chronological Biography of Zhou Enlai [1949-1976]), vol. 1 (Beijing: Zhongyang wenxian chubanshe, 1997), 289. Therefore, Zhou Enlai must have discussed Vietnamese subjects in Moscow. 

[24]The battle of Dien Bien Phu took place between March 13 and May 7, 1954.

[25]Pierre Mendès-France (1907-1982) was chairman of the Council of Ministers and minister of foreign affairs of France in 1954-1955. On July 21, 1954, he concluded the Geneva peace agreement that ended France’s colonial war in Indochina.

[26]Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964) was prime minister of India in 1947-1964; U Nu (1907-1995) was prime minister of the Union of Burma in 1948-1956, 1957-1958, and 1960-1962; Sukarno (1901-1970) was president of Indonesia in 1945-1967.

[27]Karl Marx (1818-1883) was the founder of Marxism.

[28]Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870-1924) was the leader of Bolshevism, chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR/USSR in 1917-1924.

[29]Vice-Admiral Charles R. Brown (1899-1983) commanded the American navy’s 6th Fleet in 1956-1958.

[30]Andrei Antonovich Grechko (1903-1976) in 1958 was the first deputy minister of defense of the USSR and commander-in-chief of the USSR’s ground forces; Kirill Afanas’evich Meretskov (1897-1968) was the aide for higher education institutions to the minister of defense of the USSR.

[31]Nikolai Semyonovich Skripko (1902-1987) was an aviation marshal.

[32]Lauris Norstad (1907-1988) was an American general and Supreme Allied Commander of NATO’s combined armed forces in Europe in 1956-1963.

[33]Mahmut Celâl Bayar (1883-1986) was the president of Turkey in 1950-1960; Ali Adnan Ertekin Menderes (1899-1961) was prime minister of Turkey in these years.

[34]Fatin Rüştü Zorlu (1910-1961) was minister of foreign affairs of Turkey in 1957-1960.

[35]Syrian crisis, that is the exacerbation of diplomatic relations between the USSR and the United States on account of Syria, occurred in 1956-1957.

[36]Faisal II (1935-1958), the king of Iraq, was not decapitated. He was shot.

[37]The United Arab Republic was formed on February 1, 1958. It consisted of Egypt and Syria. Syria left the UAR in 1961, but the name UAR was retained by Egypt until 1971.

[38]Nasser made an official visit to Yugoslavia on July 2-12, 1958.

[39] Reference to Veljko Mićunović (1916-1982), who was the Yugoslav ambassador to the USSR and the Mongolian Peoples’ Republic in 1956-1958.

[40]Josip Broz Tito (1892-1980) was president of Yugoslavia in 1953-1980.

[41]Actually, it was early morning, July 17, 1958.

[42]The conversation took place in a diplomatic dacha in Khoroshyovo, a small town outside of Moscow.

[43]Mahmoud Fawzi (1900-1981) was foreign minister of Egypt in 1952-1964.

[44]Valerian Aleksandrovich Zorin (1902-1986) was deputy minister of foreign affairs of the USSR in 1947-1955, 1956-1960 and 1963-1965.

[45]Abdul Salam Arif (1921-1966) was minister of internal affairs in Iraq in 1958. He was president of Iraq in 1963-1966.

[46]Ismat T. Kittani (1929-2001) was acting delegate of Iraq to the UN in 1958-1959.

[47]Abd ul-Karim Qasim (1914-1963) was prime minister of Iraq in 1958-1963.

[48]Mohamed Naguib (1901-1984) was the first president of Egypt in 1953-1954. He was replaced by Nasser.

[49]Nuri al-Said (1888-1958) headed the government of Iraq on several occasions, including 1954-1957 and 1958.

[50]Mao spoke about this in Moscow at the conference of representatives of communist and workers’ parties on November 18, 1957. See O. Borisov [O. B. Rakhmanin] and M. Titarenko, eds., Vystupleniiia Mao Tsze-duna ranee ne publikovavshiesia v kitaskoi pechati (Speeches of Mao Zedong Previously Unpublished in the Chinese Press), vol. 2 (Moscow: Progress, 1975), 88-101.

[51]Reference is to Mao’s conversation with minister of foreign affairs of the USSR Andrei Andreevich Gromyko (1909-1989) in Moscow on November 19, 1957. See Shen, Eluosi jiemi dang’an xuebian: Zhong Su guanxi: 1945-1991 (Selected Documents from the Declassified Russian Archives: Chinese-Soviet Relations: 1945-1991), vol. 8, 344-56.

[52]Khrushchev granted an interview to Indian journalists on June 29, 1958. See Pravda (Truth), August 5, 1958.

[53] See V. I. Lenin, “The Importance of Gold Now and After the Complete Victory of Socialism,” in V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 33, trans. David Skvirsky and George Hanna (Moscow: Progress, 1973), 113.

On this second day of the talks, international affairs were the main topic of conversation. From the Soviet record, which like those of the first and the next discussion, was made by Fedorenko and the third secretary of the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs Anatolii I. Filyov, it is evident that the atmosphere was fully relaxed, anti-imperialism brought the communist leaders together. Both hated America, Great Britain, France, West Germany, Japan, and their leaders. They discussed the situation in the Near East in detail and were heartened by the victory of leftist forces in Iraq. They joked a lot. And only at the end did Mao lightly touch upon his claims to Khrushchev, who at once reminded the Chinese leader of the Soviet advisors. It was obvious that this question continued to bother him, and Khrushchev exacerbated his grievance.

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RGANI, f. 52, op. 1, d. 498, ll. 78-107. Translated by Gary Goldberg.


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