Le Thanh Nghi’s Tour of the Socialist Bloc, 1965
CWIHP eDossier No. 77
Le Thanh Nghi’s Tour of the Socialist Bloc, 1965: Vietnamese Evidence on Hanoi’s Foreign Relations and the Onset of the American War
Making sense of the thinking and behavior of Vietnam’s communist leadership—a political regime that has been one of the most secretive in the world—comes with its fair share of challenges. A central feature of that secretiveness is the zealous guardianship of historical archives. This is especially true of the era of communist rule since 1954 and thus the period of what Vietnam calls the “American War” (1965-1975). In Vietnam today, accessing relevant archival records of the Hanoi regime during that era—concerning its institutions and personal relationships, its deliberative processes, its decisions, its perceived successes and failures of its purposes—is frustratingly difficult, if not impossible.
That unfortunate situation largely stems from the Vietnamese Communist Party’s strong desire to control the retelling of its own history. Presumably, such sources would discredit the standard account of the American War that Hanoi has been peddling more or less unadulterated for the last several decades. The result is a classic illustration of George Orwell’s futuristic adage in his dystopian novel 1984: “He who controls the present controls the past.” From the time of its founding in 1930, the Vietnamese Communist Party has used the past as a source of legitimation. The story of its victory in the American War has been particularly important in that respect, and even more so now that Russia and the rest of Eastern Europe have relegated communism to the dustbin of history. Today, the Party in Vietnam still does not tolerate narratives that challenge or otherwise compete with its own interpretation of events. And it is expressly for the purpose of protecting that monopoly that the Party maintains a veil of secrecy over its internal affairs during the conflict.
The main repository of Vietnamese government documents is the Vietnamese National Archives (Phông lưu trữ Nhà nước Việt Nam), which actually consists of four separate “centers.”
- Center 1 (Trung tâm Lưu trữ quốc gia I) in Hanoi holds the bulk of pre-1945 materials, including colonial-era records pertaining to the administration of Tonkin;
- Center 2 (Trung tâm Lưu trữ quốc gia II) in Ho Chi Minh City is the custodian of colonial-era documents related to the administration of Cochinchina, extant records of pro-Western, now-defunct Saigon-based administrations (1954-75), and the archives of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam (1969-75);
- Center 3 (Trung tâm Lưu trữ quốc gia III) in Hanoi is the keeper of records of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (or “North Vietnam,” 1945-76) and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (1976-present);
- and, finally, Center 4 (Trung tâm Lưu trữ quốc gia IV) in Dalat is the repository for Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945) woodblock records as well as materials pertaining to the administration of the French protectorate of Annam.
Merely accessing the collection at Center 3, which houses materials related to the American War, can be tricky and time consuming. But that is not the worst part of it. As no law governs the release of classified materials in Vietnam, any document bearing a “secret” (mat) or “top secret” (toi mat) stamp theoretically remains off-limits to researchers. Even more deplorable, the files of organs most intricately involved in wartime policymaking (namely, the Vietnamese Communist Party, the country’s primary decision-making body, as well as the Ministries of Defense [Bộ Quốc phòng], Foreign Affairs [Bộ Ngoại giao] and Public Security [Bộ Công an]) are kept at separate locations and remain under the custody of those respective organs. To this point, no serious scholar, Western or Vietnamese, has been able to lawfully research those collections, owing to the sensitivity of the materials they contain.
Despite these hurdles, Center 3 remains a valuable archive for historians of the war. I have been mining its collection for 20 years, annually for the past decade. Through persistence, insistence, and sheer luck, I have found fascinating items there, including “secret” and “top secret” documents. Those include revealing Party and Foreign Ministry documents I was not supposed to see. In deference to my hosts and, specifically, to avoid getting the staff at Center 3 in hot water and compromising my own access to their collection, I have refrained from citing those particular items in my publications. Instead, I have relied on them to ascertain the validity of conclusions and assumptions inferred from other sources—as well as to make myself more interesting in discussions of the war with colleagues and students.
A valuable source for filling in the gaps in the accessible Vietnamese documentary record and elucidating Hanoi’s handling of the war—and one I have relied upon extensively in my own scholarship—is the series Văn kiện Đảng – Toàn tập (Party Documents – Collected Works). Comparable to the US Department of State’s Foreign Relations of the United States, this multi-volume collection features a wide assortment of chronologically organized Party documents pertaining to domestic and foreign policymaking from the time of the organization’s founding to the mid-1990s. The volumes covering the period of the American War are invaluable for understanding Hanoi’s decisions to create the National Front for the Liberation of Southern Vietnam (NLF) in December 1960; shift to a “big war” strategy in the South in 1964; and launch the Tet Offensive in early 1968, among others.
Still, the record these volumes provide is partial at best. Documents addressing sensitive topics such as internal debates, conflicts, and purges are conspicuously absent, presumably to maintain the pretense of Party unity throughout that difficult period. Equally notable for their absence are materials on relations with communist-bloc allies, always problematic in light of the Sino-Soviet dispute and, later, Sino-American rapprochement and Soviet-American détente. And then there is the fact that Party censors have carefully vetted each document and, according to Vietnamese historians, even edited and redacted some of the documents for content.
In all my time mining un-published and published Vietnamese documentary records on the American War, I have never come across the kind of item featured here. It consists of a 34-page summary of discussions about the onset of the American War between North Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Politburo member Le Thanh Nghi and top leaders from eight Eastern Bloc communist parties. The document is authored by Nghi himself. The discussions took place during the summer of 1965, just as the war in the South was heating up.
Relative to other materials about the war to have come out of Vietnam, this document is the most interesting and unique in years. It deals with party-to-party contacts, about which Hanoi has remained entirely silent despite the demise of most of those parties more than 15 years ago, with remarkable detail and candor. The document should have been labeled “top secret” and thus made inaccessible to researchers. However, because it is a draft, it bears no classification, no red stamp. That, plus the fact that the significance of its contents has clearly eluded layers of censors and archivists that handled it, allowed for its digitization and eventual release to me. I even received a photocopy of it, which required a special request on my part and additional vetting and permissions by the Center 3 staff. Since so many people were involved and no one archivist stands to be reprimanded for the document’s release, I feel comfortable sharing it with the Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) and the broader public.
Among other highlights, the document addresses the matter of dispatching Soviet and Hungarian “volunteer troops” to Vietnam; sheds light on the variegated dispositions of communist-bloc countries vis-à-vis US military intervention, support for the North and the Sino-Soviet dispute; provides a sense of the forces and influences that conditioned Hanoi’s anti-American strategy; and confirms the internationalist proclivities of the Vietnamese Communist Party, including its own understanding that defeating the United States was important to fulfill its “sacred revolutionary mission” and “international duty.”
We already know from other sources that the Soviet Union sent experts and advisers to help North Vietnam consolidate its air defense apparatus following the war’s commencement, and that China dispatched “volunteers” of its own armed forces to that same end, as well as to defend the North in the event of an American invasion. Still obscure, however, is whether Eastern European governments, including the Soviet Union, ever seriously entertained the notion of sending contingents of their own soldiers to Vietnam. Nghi raised the matter with Soviet and Hungarian leaders. While Moscow did not seem keen on exercising that option, Budapest seriously considered it. Nghi actually inferred from his discussion with Hungarian leader Janos Kadar that Budapest “demonstrated a very good attitude toward us”; a missile unit of the Hungarian armed forces even volunteered to go to Vietnam just before Nghi met Kadar.
The document exposes some of the difficulties resulting from the Sino-Soviet dispute for Hanoi, confirming insights surmised from Soviet/Russian and Chinese sources. Beijing, for example, cautioned Hanoi against getting too close to Moscow, stating that “Soviet leaders are not sincere about providing help to Vietnam” and “we cannot trust them.” The Chinese leadership insisted that the Soviets must cease being afraid of the Americans and give Vietnam all the help it needs. This move was a blatant attempt to drive a wedge or, at a minimum, create tensions between Hanoi and the Soviet Union. Beijing additionally insisted that whatever assistance Moscow pledged to North Vietnam must be sent by sea; it did not want the Soviets to use Chinese territory or even airspace to deliver their aid.
In Moscow, Soviet leaders informed Nghi they “remained very patient” with the Chinese “for the sake of the Vietnamese Party and of the Vietnamese people,” but warned that they will “speak out when and if necessary” unless Sino-Soviet tensions abate. For Vietnam to prevail in the war, Communist Party of the Soviet Union General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev told Nghi, “we must first be united.” Public accusations by Beijing that Moscow “will not help Vietnam,” the prolonged fracture of the socialist camp, and attendant perceptions that “differences between China and the Soviet Union are irreconcilable” would, according to Brezhnev, only encourage the Johnson administration to “widen its bombing campaign” and “intensify the war even further.” Implicit in that statement is that Hanoi had better urge Beijing to stop criticizing Moscow and challenging its leadership of the socialist camp. The Soviet leader effectively used the carrot of Soviet support and the menace of US escalation to impel Hanoi to press Beijing into making amends with his government.
While the Soviets expressed no qualms about helping Hanoi build up North Vietnam’s economy and air-defense capabilities, they were less inclined to support its war against American and allied ground forces in the South. “Comrade Brezhnev and I have decided to give Vietnam all-out military assistance,” Premier Alexei Kosygin notified Nghi. “We will give you more guns and ammunition so that you can fire as much ammunition as you want to defend Hanoi, Haiphong, and your important bases.” To Nghi’s consternation, Kosygin made no reference to the war below the 17th parallel, nor allowances for use of Soviet military aid there. A few days later in East Berlin, First Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party Walter Ulbricht justified the Soviet stance, telling Nghi that shooting down American aircraft constitutes the best strategy for compelling Washington to abandon its designs in Indochina. That stood in stark contrast to the Hungarians, who pledged generous military assistance for use “in North Vietnam and in South Vietnam” and considered both theaters to be of equal significance. Nghi’s takeaway was that Moscow “worried about a ferocious, protracted war” in the South and an ensuing showdown with the United States, as the two had recently faced over Cuba.
To preclude expansion of hostilities in Vietnam, the Soviets leaned—with extreme subtlety—on Hanoi to consider a diplomatic solution. Unless North Vietnamese leaders agreed to peace talks soon, Brezhnev and Kosygin suggested to Nghi, Washington would dramatically escalate the war. Eastern European allies echoed Soviet pleas for temperance, making no secret of their desire to see Hanoi negotiate instead of fight. Warsaw was prepared to do what was needed to “get talks started,” at least according to Chairman of the Polish Council of State Edward Ochab. Eastern European leaders, and Soviet ones in particular, “wanted to display an attitude of increased solidary and friendship with us,” Nghi noted at one point, “but they are still worried about improving their relations” with the Americans. North Korea’s Kim Il Sung was of an entirely different mind on the matter of peace talks, saying, “Our experience in Korea shows that during the negotiations for a cease-fire” the United States “bombed us very heavily in order to put strong pressure on us.” Accordingly, Kim exhorted Hanoi to avoid negotiations at all cost. The Chinese agreed with that prognosis.
The document dispels the notion advanced by some scholars that Beijing pressed Hanoi to refuse Soviet military assistance and rely exclusively on Chinese aid to defeat the Americans following the beginning of the war. Chinese leaders in fact encouraged Hanoi to get what it could from the Soviet Union, especially sophisticated hardware it did not produce or possess in sufficient quantities such as jet aircraft, surface-to-air missiles, and radar installations. “Chairman Mao has said that he does not oppose you Vietnamese comrades asking [Moscow] for support,” Premier Zhou Enlai told Nghi; “the more support you can get, the better.” This was potentially a set-up: Beijing may have expected the Soviets to deny at least some of Hanoi’s requests, pushing North Vietnam toward closer alignment with China in the Sino-Soviet dispute. Whatever Zhou’s intent, Nghi surmised from his conversations with him and Chinese Communist Party Vice Chairman Liu Shaoqi that Beijing “expressed somewhat more sympathy and acceptance of our views regarding the struggle against revisionism” and against the United States, but remained “displeased with our attitude toward the Soviet Union.”
From Nghi’s summation, no country was prepared to do more for Hanoi than North Korea. In Nghi’s own words, Kim Il Sung was “very honest and open,” expressing “total agreement with us,” and offering “straight-forward, honest, and selfless” support. Kim would stop at nothing to support the North Vietnamese, as he told Nghi:
We will strive to ensure that Vietnam will defeat the American imperialists, even if it means that North Korea’s own economic plan will be delayed. We will never think that helping Vietnam will cause problems for North Korea. We produce the items that Vietnam has requested and we certainly are prepared to provide the items as grant aid, aid that you will not have to pay us for later.
By Kim’s own admission, earlier in 1965 Pyongyang declared publicly that “we are strengthening our national defense forces,” even preparing the North Korean people for war, just to scare the South Korean regime and “induce it to reduce the number of troops it is sending to South Vietnam.” This remarkable gesture of socialist solidarity suggests that the attempt on the life of South Korean President Park Chung Hee by North Korean commandos and the so-called Pueblo incident—in which North Korean forces seized a US Navy ship and its 83 crew members—of early 1968 may well have been calculated moves intended to distract the United States as the North Vietnamese prepared to launch the Tet Offensive in late January that year.
Kim’s insistence on Hanoi’s imperative need to build caves to protect vital economic and military installations is fascinating, to say the least. “Based on Korea’s experience, you should build your important factories in the mountain jungle area, half of the factories inside the mountain and half outside—dig caves and place the factories half inside the caves and half outside,” he told Nghi. Kim even counseled Hanoi to dig caves to protect North Vietnam’s fledgling air force. “Building caves for aircraft (a regiment of 32 jet aircraft) is much more difficult, but we have good experience in this area, and our Chinese comrades who were sent here to learn how to do this have gone back home and have successfully built such caves.” To help his Vietnamese comrades undertake such ambitious projects, Kim pledged 500 North Korean experts and laborers, more if deemed necessary later. He also promised to supply Hanoi with all the dehumidifiers and air conditioners it might need to keep the caves dry and avoid damage to the hardware they would shelter!
Kim purported to be “very concerned” about so-called revisionist tendencies in the socialist camp and “the attitude and the positions of the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries toward Vietnam.” But he called for restraint and level-headedness in dealing with those matters. “We believe that even though the Soviet Union is still revisionist, we cannot view the Soviet Union and the US as being the same,” as the Chinese were doing at the time. Besides, Kim noted that Hanoi needed Soviet assistance. In a candid and sensible assessment of the Soviet stance on Vietnam, Kim told Nghi:
We need to strive to win all the sympathy and help we can get, even if the help is small and weak. Even if [the Soviets’] help is 30 percent real and 70 percent phony, or 50 percent real and 50 percent phony, that is still good and we need to strive to secure that help. Some people are afraid that we will be infected by their thinking. Firm, resolute people like us are not afraid of being infected. It is essential to collect and mass forces to oppose the US
Irrespective of their different stances regarding relations with the capitalist camp, all communist leaders agreed that Hanoi must harness and manipulate public opinion at home and abroad, including in the United States, to achieve success in the war. Zhou impressed upon Nghi the importance of making “the people of the entire world clearly understand the plots and schemes of the American imperialists,” as well as “the just cause” and determination of the Vietnamese people. Brezhnev urged Hanoi to “expand your campaign directed against the American imperialists” using “labor organizations, youth organizations, women’s organizations, the press, and other forces around the world to mount powerful protests” against them. The latter actually became a central component of Hanoi’s so-called diplomatic struggle after 1965, as I have argued elsewhere. Ulbricht insisted that “we need to form a broad worldwide front that supports Vietnam and opposes the American imperialist aggressors and warmongers.” Besides waging military struggle, Kadar beseeched that “we also need to step up the political struggle in order to expose the true nature of the American imperialists and isolate them.” At a minimum, the Hungarian leader said, that would “prevent the people of the world from getting the distorted impression that one side is prepared to enter into talks while the other side does not even mention talking.”
Communist leaders also unanimously recognized that Vietnam’s struggle against the Americans occupied a singular place in international politics; that Vietnam was a crucible whose fate would dramatically impact the Cold War. “Your struggle helps us in Eastern Europe to combat the US and West Germany,” Poland’s Ochad explained. Hanoi must prevail, President and First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia Antonin Novotny contended; if Washington emerged victorious from the war in Vietnam, it would be emboldened and “seek to commit more aggression and will start wars against many other countries.” Even Bulgaria, whose leadership was the least enthusiastic about supporting Hanoi’s fight against the United States, acknowledged that Vietnam’s anti-American struggle served to “protect the interests of the entire socialist camp.” Nghi surmised from all this that Vietnam had a “most sacred revolutionary mission” that also happened to be a “glorious international duty.”
Nghi’s record of his tour throughout the socialist bloc offers some exceptional insights into Hanoi’s relations with its closest allies at a critical juncture in its struggle for southern “liberation” and national reunification under its own aegis. It also offers a unique glimpse into the strategy and tactics employed by leaders there to defeat the United States. The emphasis placed on fostering a global front against “US imperialism” by allies encouraged Hanoi’s hardline, militant leaders to make “diplomatic struggle” a critical component of their anti-American strategy, alongside “armed struggle” and “political struggle,” the latter for hearts and minds inside the South. In the end, Hanoi’s ability to exploit world opinion and anti-war sentiment in the West proved essential for securing victory over the United States and the regime in Saigon, and for reunifying Vietnam under communist authority.
I hope that this document’s dissemination through CWIHP and DigitalArchive.org will demonstrate that historians of the war who research Vietnamese archives have no pernicious agenda, and encourage Vietnamese authorities to ease restrictions on access to classified materials and closed collections, especially the Party’s own. The Vietnam War was a seminal event in Cold War history—it is high time we gain more accurate insight into the thinking and policymaking of its most important protagonists.
Pierre Asselin is Professor of History at Hawaii Pacific University. He is the author of A Bitter Peace: Washington, Hanoi, and the Making of the Paris Agreement (North Carolina, 2002), winner of the 2003 Kenneth W. Baldridge Prize, and Hanoi’s Road to the Vietnam War, 1954-1965 (California, 2013), winner of the 2013 Arthur Goodzeit Book Award. He has two books forthcoming from Cambridge University Press: a survey text tentatively entitled Vietnam’s American War, 1954-1975, and the third and final installment of The Cambridge History of the Vietnam War (as volume editor). His current book project is a history of the “global Vietnam War.”
Lê Thanh Nghị, “Report on Meetings with Party Leaders of Eight Socialist Countries,” undated
[Source: 8058 – “Báo cáo của Phó Thủ tướng Lê Thanh Nghị về việc gặp các đồng chí lãnh đạo của Đảng và Nhà nước 8 nước xã hội chủ nghĩa năm 1965,” Phủ Thủ tướng, Vietnam National Archives Center 3 (Hanoi),obtained by Pierre Asselin and translated by Merle Pribbenow, accessible at http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/134601.]
[Handwritten: Brother Tuan will type up an official copy, which should be about 20 pages long][Handwritten: 24 copies] “Report on Meetings with Party Leaders of Eight Socialist Countries” During these talks, in each country we focused on providing to the Party and State leaders internal information on the Vietnamese people’s struggle against the American imperialist aggressors and on our Party Central Committee’s assessments and policies. We provided clear explanations of the plots of the American imperialists, described the victories our struggle has won, and explained our strategic resolve to defeat the American imperialists, to defend the North, liberate the South, and to advance toward the peaceful unification of our country. We described our determined resolve to overcome all difficulties and hardships in order to achieve total victory, and we clearly spelled out the certainty of our victory. We also told the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries that if Vietnam did not resolutely defeat the American imperialist will to commit aggression, the American imperialists would become aggressive and would try to put their foot on our collective heads. They would escalate their acts of aggression and instigate wars against a number of the other fraternal countries, including even the Eastern European countries. We made careful presentations so that the fraternal countries would understand that we were not using only military measures in our struggle and that we were not rigid and machine-like; instead we made it clear that we have a clear and profound understanding of our nation’s most sacred revolutionary mission, which is also a heavy and glorious international duty for us. In general, in all eight socialist countries that we visited (China, the Soviet Union, Poland, Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and North Korea), the Party and State leaders whom we met all indicated that they agreed with our assessments and our analyses; they agreed with the policies and positions of our Party Central Committee; and they said that they would actively support and help us politically, morally, and with all types of material support. They also said they are confident that we will win our people’s struggle against the Americans. As for details regarding each individual country, following are a number of statements and opinions expressed by Party and State leaders that are worthy of note: China:Views Expressed by Liu Shaoqi 1/-Vietnam’s revolutionary struggle against the United States is concrete evidence of Vietnam’s great international proletarian spirit. 2/-With regard to Vietnam’s aid request, China agreed to the request in principle and said there should be no problems. However, China does not produce a number of the aid items requested in large quantities (items such as trucks, construction equipment, iron and steel, TNT and other explosives, etc.) and still has to import such items, so Vietnam should request these items as grant aid from the Soviet Union and the Eastern European nations; if you request these things right now, they will probably give them to you. It is also possible that the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries may provide only a small amount of grant aid. In that case, Vietnam should just buy the supplies on credit, and it will not matter if you do not pay the money back later. Currently our North Korean comrades still have not repaid the money that they owe to the Soviet Union, and this has not caused them any problems. As for any items that you have requested and that the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries do not provide to you, China will do everything it can to try to help you, even though China itself still suffers from many shortages. 3/-With regard to building construction projects, in China we have postponed new construction, postponed expansion, and postponed building large enterprises in Category 1 and Category 2 cities, in coastal provinces and First Line provinces. Large construction projects are only being built in the provinces that are Large Third Line Provinces. Each province selects mountain jungle areas which it views as Small Third Line locations, and they build all of their arsenals in these areas. 4/-China has made active preparations to fight if and when war breaks out in order to be able to pro-actively and effectively deal with even the worst-case scenarios. We should make plans ahead of time to be able to deal with the worst-case scenarios and to take precautions against large-scale enemy air attacks. You Vietnamese comrades should build a number of installations to produce a number of different types of products to support war requirements and you should not produce large amounts of peacetime commodities. You should build these facilities in mountain jungle areas, building small, dispersed facilities in secret locations. After I provided him additional information about our guidelines and policies for transforming our economy and our industries, Comrade Liu Shaoqi said that he agreed with our decisions. However, he suggested that with regard to construction, we should think about the size of the projects and keep our construction projects of only moderate size. Views Expressed by Zhou Enlai (Whom we met when our delegation was returning from the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries) 1/-China’s aid to Vietnam this time will be focused on supporting the war and defeating the American imperialists. It will not be possible to provide all the supplies and equipment during the 1965-1966 period. Later, if the war expands and intensifies, China will make the greatest efforts, within its own capabilities, to provide additional help to Vietnam. 2/-An issue of special concern is the transportation issue. Supplies have not yet reached Vietnam and are stuck in Pingxiang [a city in Guangxi Province in Southwest China] or some other location in China, so essentially Vietnam has not yet received the aid. Railroad, road, and maritime transportation is a very difficult for both of our countries, so we must work together to try to carry out this work. We suggest that your Vietnamese comrades ask the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries that in the future they should clearly inform us of the quantity and the tonnage of aid goods being sent to Vietnam so that we can make the necessary calculations and transportation arrangements. Currently, Poland is cautious and afraid of the U.S. in regard to maritime transportation, and it intends to allow the U.S. to inspect its ships. China is fighting hard on this issue. Later, if the war expands and intensifies, China will do everything it can based on its own capabilities to provide additional help to Vietnam. 3/-As for to the recent political incident in Algeria, we would like to provide our Vietnamese comrades with the following information: Foreign countries, and especially the African countries, were surprised by the incident and they did not understand why Ben Bella was overthrown [editor’s note—Algerian President Ahmed Ben Bella was deposed in June 1965]. However, the Algerian people were not surprised. According to the information we have been able to obtain, and from what we have been told by [Egyptian President Gamal Abdel] Nasser and [Syrian President] Amin [al-Hafiz] (of the United Arab Republic), the primary reason that Ben Bella was overthrown was that he did not respect the sacrifices of the Algerian army and the Algerian people, he planned to mistreat and cast aside former resistance fighters, and he was only interested in kowtowing to foreign countries. The veteran resistance cadres are very unhappy with Ben Bella. Almost all of the current members of the Algerian Revolutionary Council and the Algerian Government are individuals who participated in the resistance war. China and Vietnam have both experienced struggles against Japan, against France, and against the United States, so both of us can understand this situation. 4/-We are very moved and are filled with respect to see how determined the Vietnamese Party and the Vietnamese people are to make sacrifices in their fight against the American imperialists. All with one heart, everyone from top to bottom, Party members, government, soldiers, and civilians united, North and South in solidarity, all under the leadership of the Party Central Committee and Chairman Ho—those are the decisive factors that will ensure Vietnam’s victory. A nation that dares to struggle, that dares to sacrifice, that dares to seek victory, is certain to win victory. We think that if Algeria, which has a population of 11 million people, was willing to sacrifice one million of its people to win victory over the French imperialists, since Vietnam has a population of more than 30 million, we are certain that your resolve will be even stronger. We have told our Chinese cadres that if Vietnam can resist 800,000 enemy troops (of which we anticipate up to 300,000 will be American troops), then China must be prepared to resist an enemy army force that is 40 times larger. Since Vietnam has such courage, China must also have similar courage. Only if Vietnam has great resolve and China also has great resolve will the enemy have to revise his calculations, and only then will the enemy fear us. Vietnam has a spirit that does not fear death, that does not fear sacrifice, and that is why for the past several months the Americans have had to reconsider their plans. However, we should also be vigilant, because every time the enemy makes a new escalation in the war, he also begins to talk about peace in order to deceive U.S. domestic public opinion and world public opinion. We must carry out a very arduous and protracted task, which is to make the people of the entire world clearly understand the plots and schemes of the American imperialists and clearly understand that we have the just cause and that we are determined. [Following line is crossed out: “Comrade Zhou Enlai devoted a great deal of time to talking about this subject.”] 5/-In our opinion, you comrades did a good job during your visits to the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries, and in particular we believe that you made the people of those countries sympathize with Vietnam. This is in part because the people of those countries previously fought against the fascists. You Vietnamese comrades did good work with the people in order to influence their leaders, even though that influence is at present still small. The leaders of those Parties and those States agree with you and support you, but later on they may still vacillate in the face of the imperialists. The Soviet leaders are not sincere or serious about providing help to Vietnam. The Soviet Union gave Indonesia 800 million dollars, they gave India 900 million rubles, and they gave Egypt 1.2 billion rubles. Vietnam is on the front line, but the Soviet Union gives it less, and that is so that Vietnam will not be able to fight big battles, so that it will not be able to start a war. 6/-The Americans plan to increase their attacks against North Vietnamese transportation targets. They will conduct heavy bombing of Haiphong and Lao Cai, and they may even bomb the Pingxiang railroad line. They have not yet bombed Hanoi because they know that there are four Soviet missile units there and they want the Soviets to persuade Vietnam to begin negotiations. If Vietnam remains firm and refuses to sell out its principles, the Soviet Union’s defeatist thinking will not be effective for the Americans. However, it is possible that the U.S. will bomb Hanoi in order to test the Soviet Union, and before they do that they will first issue a warning. There are rumors that in August 1965 the U.S. will suspend the bombing for one month to give the Soviet Union time to persuade Vietnam to begin talks and enter into negotiations. If the Soviet Union were resolute [in supporting you], the U.S. would weaken its stance and would become fearful. 7/-I would like to reiterate what Comrade Liu Shaoqi told Vietnam’s leaders, which is that Vietnam and China differ in our respective assessments and opinions about the Soviet leaders. If you Vietnamese comrades want them to increase their support and encourage them to be honest, I would like you to go ahead and try, then see what happens. However, we think you will be unsuccessful. Even [Alexei] Kosygin is the same—he says one thing, but when he goes back home, he changes his position. That is why we cannot trust them. China must continue its struggle against the revisionists.China will write a letter to the Soviet Union to exchange ideas and to respond to the Soviets about the question of having the three Parties—the Vietnamese, Soviet, and Chinese Parties—issue a statement opposing American imperialist aggression against Vietnam and that talks about improving Sino-Soviet relations. We feel that a joint statement is not possible and think that instead we should each issue separate statements. However, in our letter we will make it clear that we want the Soviet Union to truly support Vietnam against the American imperialists. We will also raise a number of requirements that the Soviet Union must first meet: -The Soviet Union must improve its relations with Albania. -The Soviet Union must not help the traitorous Japanese Communist Party. -The Soviet Union should not incite a mass anti-Chinese movement within the fraternal Parties. -The Soviet Union should take a position that truly is completely on Vietnam’s side. -The Soviet Union must truly support Pham Van Dong’s four-points [of April 1965] and the 22 March 1965 statement issued by the National Front for the Liberation of Southern Vietnam. -The Soviet Union must truly stand in the Communist ranks, abandon its policy of Soviet-American cooperation to rule the world, and not “play footsie” with the U.S., Britain, and France. I am informing you of this ahead of time so that you can report this to Vietnam’s leaders [This line is handwritten and replaces the following line that was crossed out: “Based on my personal experience with the current Soviet leaders, this [letter] will not achieve anything.”] Chairman Mao [Zedong] has said that he does not oppose you Vietnamese comrades asking the Soviets for support, and the more support you can get, the better. However, you should ask for items that are appropriate and that will be effective. For example, you should ask for MiG-17 and MiG-19 aircraft rather than MiG-21s, which would be hard for you to maintain and operate. Vietnam should ask the Soviets for a large quantity of explosives. They have a stockpile of one and a half million tons of explosives, so ask them for 100,000 tons—that would be no problem for them. You should demand that they give you a large number of twin-barreled 37mm anti-aircraft guns; equipment to repair roads and railroad lines; communications and radio broadcasting equipment; and a number of ocean-going ships. The Soviet Union must give Vietnam a great deal of help, because only by doing so will it benefit the cause of the world revolution. Their aid must be sent by sea. Every day the U.S. sends three big ships filled with weapons and supplies to South Vietnam. We must do a lot and we must take strong actions, because only then will the U.S. begin to rethink its actions and become afraid. We cannot rely solely on public statements that consist simply of empty words. You Vietnamese comrades should demand that the Soviets help you a lot more and demand that the vast bulk of the aid must be sent by sea. China is not afraid to struggle [i.e., argue] with the Soviet Union over helping Vietnam and over shipping the aid by sea. The Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries have no choice other than to help Vietnam. In reality, however, they are afraid of the imperialists. They only give a small amount of aid to Vietnam while at the same time they make loud propaganda statements to the outside world. They do not dare to take a hard line against the American imperialists. They are in a state of contradiction, so their actions are two-faced. China must struggle against revisionism in every way it can. There are two possibilities: One is that the Soviets will continue to be bad but the revolutionary consciousness of their people be awakened and their people will demand that their leaders be replaced, one by one ([Anastas] Mikoyan may soon be replaced), which will turn the situation in a good direction; or, two, it is also possible that there will be a true transformation in a positive direction. However, at present the opportunity for this has not yet arrived. We must strive to struggle in every way possible. This is a challenge, a test for us. Vietnam is now on the front line of the struggle against the imperialists, but we Chinese are not yet on the front line, so we can devote many forces to the struggle to expose the imperialists and the revisionists. You Vietnamese comrades can contribute more in this effort. There is one thing that you need to keep an eye on—the Soviet leaders are currently avoiding arguing about substance for fear of exposing their true nature. They are different than Khrushchev in that they are smarter. They try to make it look like they are actually lovable and that they are being bullied [i.e., pressured]. China must continue to struggle against them. 9/-I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate something we said to Chairman Ho about the Second Asian-African Conference. China is totally opposed to allowing the Soviet Union to officially participate in the Second Asian-African Conference. However, we also anticipate that a number of the individual Asian republics of the Soviet Union may ask to attend as observers. In order to avoid having the conference fall apart, China would not oppose this. This is for Chairman Ho’s ears only; do not tell the other socialist nations about this. Soviet Union:Views Expressed by [Leonid] Brezhnev: 1/-It is important that you inform us about the situation during peacetime, and it is even more important to inform us during wartime. The briefing you Vietnamese comrades gave us has helped to provide Comrade Kosygin and me with sufficient information to argue for Vietnam’s position. We will cooperate closely in the struggle. We need to keep each other informed about our respective positions and policies on a regular and timely basis, because only in that way can we help each other and coordinate the struggle properly. Naturally the Soviet Union does not want to be informed about the situation simply out of curiosity, and we will not let the information you provide to us fall into the hands of others. 2/-We are in total agreement with the policies and positions of the Central Committee of the Vietnamese Workers’ Party. There is nothing with which we disagree. It is our sincere desire to support you politically and to help you with weapons. We only want to help you win your struggle. Our entire Presidium is unanimous on that point. 3/-Comrade Brezhnev expressed concern about the Chinese newspaper article that said the 17th Parallel no longer exists (I explained this issue to him). [Translator’s Note: There is a hand-written note saying that Point 4 should be dropped in the final version. The subsequent points were re-numbered by hand. Following is the original Point 4, which was dropped: “Comrade Brezhnev asked about the issue of sending Soviet volunteers to fight in Vietnam and asked whether enough Soviet military specialists [advisors] had been sent to Vietnam. I replied only that I would submit his question to the Politburo when I got back home.”] 4/-Comrade Brezhnev said that he believed that China was prepared to participate in the fight against the U.S. in Vietnam. 5/-The Soviet Union is studying the question of providing additional military aid to Vietnam and is considering how it might be able to ship torpedo boats to Vietnam by train. 6/-I would like to thank our Vietnamese comrades for their assessment of Soviet aid as being excellent. We know that our aid does not meet 100 percent of Vietnam’s requirements. We are serious in wanting to find out how we can give you more military help. No matter how difficult it may be, we will continue to provide you with military help. You should have facilities to repair essential weapons. As soon as this meeting is over, we will immediately tell our Soviet comrades to resolve this problem. 7/-The American war against North Vietnam is primarily being conducted with air power. It is very important to protect Hanoi and other important strategic centers. Soviet surface-to-air missiles are very effective. You need to study our missiles and gain a firm grasp of this technology; that is extremely vital. If we can inflict 90 percent losses, or at least 60 percent losses, on the enemy, the enemy will become terrified. We raise this issue in this manner to see if there is a way to resolve the issue of how best to use the Soviet Union’s training personnel. The Americans are fearful for two reasons: the missiles themselves are frightening enough, and Soviet training personnel are providing instruction on how to use them. The Americans are also afraid of becoming involved in a direct clash with the Soviet Union. The Americans are now arguing about whether or not they should attack Hanoi, so we can see that this issue could deter them. The U.S. usually conducts its wars in places where they will not have to cross a border and where they will not be involved in a clash with the Soviet Union. I suggest that you comrades raise this issue with the Politburo and suggest that they study our recommendation. 8/-I talked to Comrade Kosygin about making a maximum effort to help Vietnam. I want you all to believe that we will do everything we can. Our experience has shown us that during wartime building one’s economy and building up industries involves many tense and complex problems. Will evacuating and dispersing your enterprises weaken the economy? Should material supply and technical facilities be built during wartime? After listening to my description of our policy on transforming our economy and our industries, Comrade Brezhnev said that he agreed with his Vietnamese comrade on this matter. He agreed to help to build material supplies and technical facilities and said he would carefully study the question of helping us to build a number of industrial projects in our next plan (fertilizer, heavy machinery, steel mills, etc.). 9/-We have the utmost respect for the stalwart, heroic struggle being waged by our Vietnamese comrades and for their creative labor efforts. Like you, we have the greatest confidence in Vietnam’s victory. We will stand with you in many different areas and will do what we can to help reduce the destruction, the losses, and the sacrifices suffered by Vietnam. The U.S. attempted to send a letter to Vietnam through us, but we refused to accept their letter because we had not been authorized by you to do so (the letter involved a U.S. one-week bombing halt…). We are in complete agreement with your assessment that the imperialists are never sincere. However, we would note that they currently are seeking a way out, so we should find a way to exploit their difficulties. We also do not know what method we should use to try to exploit the enemy’s problems. Should we seek an intermediary or should we use some other way? It would be very difficult for the Soviet Union to do this because our Vietnamese comrades have not yet indicated that is what they want us to do. We want to stress that you have our whole-hearted military, political, and moral support. We will never hold secret meetings or make secret agreements with the U.S. on this issue. We have absolutely no hidden intentions. It is my personal opinion that, in addition to the correct military measures that you comrades are now carrying out, you should also expand your campaign directed against the American imperialists to the entire world. That is something that is extremely essential. The Soviet Union is currently doing a great deal in this area. Every time delegations from capitalist countries or from nationalist countries visit the Soviet Union, we always use these opportunities to gather support and forces for the anti-imperialist front. We have also held discussions with other Communist Parties and the other socialist countries about doing things along this same line. 10/-Our Party Central Committee believes that in addition to helping Vietnam militarily, we must also unite the international Communist movement to support Vietnam. This would enable us to support progressive forces in the United States in the struggle against [President Lyndon B.] Johnson. That is very important. There are now disagreements inside the United States. A number of our comrades have traveled to Europe and Africa to clarify and explain our position. If we can resolve our disagreements with China, the Americans would have to change their attitude toward Vietnam. Unfortunately, however, the disagreements continue. This is truly difficult to explain and to understand. The Americans have openly and blatantly said that by exploiting the Sino-Soviet dispute, they will have a free hand to do what they want. We were very angry but did not know what to say with regard to the statement that [Beijing Party Committee First Secretary and Chinese Communist Party Politburo member] Peng Zhen made in Indonesia [on May 25, 1965], which was that the Soviet Union was giving only a little and very insignificant help to Vietnam, that the Soviet Union was colluding with the U.S., that the Soviet Unions was defeatist, and that it had betrayed Vietnam [editor’s note— A reference to Peng Zhen’s speech at the Aliacham Academy of Social Sciences in Indonesia on May 25, 1965]. We know that it is true that China is helping Vietnam, but we wonder why China will not unite with the other fraternal Parties in helping Vietnam. Even Comrade [Dipa Nusantara] Aidit [of the Indonesian Communist Party] wanted to allow Vietnam’s Workers’ Party delegation to speak on behalf of the fraternal Parties at the ceremony commemorating the formation of the Indonesian Communist Party, but China sabotaged that plan. If the Vietnamese Workers’ Party’s had been able to speak on behalf of all of the fraternal Parties, everyone would have seen our unity, the people of the world would have seen unity, and this would have frightened the Americans. We do not raise this issue out of any desire to cause contradictions [i.e., conflict] between Vietnam and China. We clearly understand the position our Vietnamese comrades are now in. We are just confused and angry because we do not understand why the ideological conflict has been raised in relation to helping Vietnam. The Soviet people and the Soviet Communist Party are very unhappy about the statements made by our Chinese friends that we are giving only a little help to Vietnam. Even Chinese ambassadors overseas have slandered us by saying that we are not helping or that we are helping only a little. However, we have not fallen into their trap, and that is why we have not responded to these lies. For the past six months we have collected a great deal of documentation about this. However, we do not want the American imperialists to know about this, because to the U.S., Sino-Vietnamese solidarity in opposing them would have a decisive effect on the U.S. decision on whether or not to bomb Hanoi and your industrial zones. We have remained silent, even though our spirits have been hurt, in order to force the U.S. to think about this and to be cautious. We did this to benefit the revolutionary movement. This is because we do not want to let the imperialists think that we cannot achieve unity and solidarity with one another. For the sake of the Vietnamese Party and of the Vietnamese people, we have remained very patient and have exercised great restraint, but we will speak out when and if necessary. At a point in time when the Vietnamese people are shedding their blood, we do not want to besmirch our collective international reputation. Our Vietnamese comrades should have more confidence and trust in the Soviet Communist Party and in our people. [Handwritten parenthetical addition: (At this point I spoke up to tell him that our Soviet comrades should work patiently for Sino-Soviet solidarity in order to unite the entire socialist camp and the international communist movement)]. If the U.S. believes that the Soviet Union will not help Vietnam and that the differences between China and the Soviet Union are irreconcilable, the U.S. will widen its bombing campaign and will intensify the war even further. However, the U.S. will not dare to take too many risks, because they know that in the end we will unite, and that is something that they must take into account. We will spare no expense to build up the Soviet Union’s national defense. The Americans are also afraid of that. Perhaps we have been guilty of deficiencies for which our Chinese comrades can criticize us. Our deficiency has been that we have not used labor organizations, youth organizations, women’s organizations, the press, and other forces around the world to mount powerful protests against the American imperialists. However, we are now putting heavy pressure on British Prime Minister [Harold] Wilson. Comrade Kosygin has refused to visit Britain, and while Wilson had previously asked to visit the Soviet Union, we did not approve his request. We are now working to exploit every possibility for the struggle to support Vietnam [Handwritten parenthetical addition: (At this point I interjected a comment about the position of the Soviet Union and the need to expand the struggle front against the American imperialists and to put strong pressure on the British imperialists); there is an additional, illegible handwritten line for insertion between “the position of the Soviet Union…” and “…and the need to expand…”]. 11/-We believe that our Vietnamese comrades will certainly win victory, but you should look for a way to reduce your sacrifices and losses. You should find a practical way to resolve this issue. If in the future you would like to hear our ideas, we will be happy to give them to you. However, we first need to get the ideas of our Vietnamese comrades. The Soviet Union is always ready to play a role to help Vietnam in this matter. [Handwritten “?” in the margin next to this line]. We must develop a political campaign to envelop the American imperialists in a struggle atmosphere that they simply will not be able to withstand. However, we must first be united. If China agrees, we could go to Beijing to discuss the subject of support to Vietnam. This would certainly make the other Parties happy and would scare the imperialists to death. We want to improve our relations with our Chinese comrades. All that is needed is sincerity and clear-sighted intelligence in order for us to be able to work together to work out a plan to oppose the American imperialists. 12/-We are now doing everything we can to create cracks in the North Atlantic alliance [NATO] and to exploit the contradictions between the U.S. and France and the U.S. and Turkey. We have managed to accomplish quite a bit and we will exploit every political situation to shake up and weaken the enemy’s ranks for the benefit of the revolution and for the benefit of the socialist countries. 13/-We are very happy to have had this chance to meet with our Vietnamese comrades. We think that we can tell each other the truth, and we feel better about the situation. We greatly value the Workers’ Party Central Committee’s decision to send this delegation to the socialist countries, and we are confident that our Eastern European comrades will give you an excellent reception and will do their best to help our Vietnamese comrades. Views Expressed by Comrade [Alexei] Kosygin: 1/-I completely agree with your assessment of the situation and with the conclusions reached by our Vietnamese comrades, and I agree with your conclusion that the factors that would turn this conflict into a limited war are continuing to grow. 2/-I was very pleased with the talks I have had with Vietnam’s leaders, both in Hanoi and in Moscow, and I recall those discussions with great pleasure. As for this visit, I am also very happy to talk to you all here. I can say that your conclusions are very correct. I also agree with your policies on transforming your economy and your industry, but I would like to counsel you comrades that you should not try to be too ambitious, that you should not try to build too much. 3/-In the struggle against the American imperialists, we must employ every capability and every solution, both military and political. The Soviet people and the Soviet Communist Party are in total sympathy with Vietnam and will help and support Vietnam. All of the statements issued by the Central Committee of the Soviet Party and the Soviet Government are fully in accord with the positions and statements of our Vietnamese comrades. The statements that we make are based on the principles that Comrade Pham Van Dong has laid out, so our statements are correct. We could not do it any other way. When the American industrial capitalist [Cyrus] Eaton visited the Soviet Union, I told him, “The best way for the U.S to end the war in Vietnam is to agree to Pham Van Dong’s four points; that is the only possible solution to the problem.” Every time we issue an official statement, we follow Pham Van Dong’s statement exactly. The Americans are now trying to find a number of different ways to meet with us to discuss a resolution to the Vietnam problem. Canada is also now serving as an intermediary between the U.S. and Vietnam. We have said that Vietnam knows how to resolve the problem. We believe that Vietnam is very correct, that its position is very correct, and that there is no other way to resolve the Vietnam problem. Generally speaking, the capitalist activists from various nations that I have had a chance to meet do not try to justify the U.S. policy in Vietnam. They are only interested in how to bring an end to the war in Vietnam. My response to them is always that the way can only be found by following the spirit of the position that Prime Minister Pham Van Dong laid out. Our Vietnamese comrades have put forward a very good plan, a plan that is good for Vietnam, good for us, and good for all of the other nations of the world. 4/-I would like to inform you that the Vietnam problem is the reason that relations between the Soviet Union and the United States have become much worse. We will help Vietnam whole-heartedly, in every way we can. The main thing, however, is that we must build a united front against American imperialist aggression throughout the world. 5/-We will do everything we can to carry out the pledges we have made to Vietnam. However, we must do something to reach an agreement with our Chinese comrades on aid and transportation arrangements. 6/-The American situation is very complicated. They may carry out a protracted war, but the American people will certainly not support them. Currently, in the United States the voices of war are being heard [three words crossed out that would make this sentence read “…the voices of the struggle against the war are being heard.”] We believe that Johnson may easily change his mind, listen to his advisors, carry out a big provocation, and take the risk of expanding the U.S.’s military actions. Johnson has moved very far away from the position he took when the voters elected him. Johnson has followed in the footsteps of [Barry] Goldwater, an outspoken leader of the anti-communists. The Americans are increasing their forces, increasing their military budget, and increasing their orders for military supplies and equipment. The situation is becoming more and more complicated with each passing day. We have accurate military intelligence information on this. You comrades need to make preparations and be ready to vigorously respond when Johnson expands U.S. military operations in Vietnam. 7/-Comrade Brezhnev and I have decided to give Vietnam all-out military assistance. We will give you more guns and ammunition so that you can fire as much ammunition as you want to defend Hanoi, Haiphong, and your important bases. 8/-Your trip at this point in time has been very beneficial and very necessary, because it advances the work of pulling together the forces that must be assembled and of making everyone clearly understand and agree with your assessments and conclusions. We believe that the Vietnamese Party and the Vietnamese Government should send delegations to visit a number of countries and Parties in the capitalist world, such as France, Italy, etc. We must pull together all forces to carry out this struggle in order to show the imperialists that we are united. This is the main point. 9/-We have frequently been saddened by the attitude of our Chinese comrades. Peng Zhen’s speech in Indonesia benefited the American imperialists—that was a tremendous betrayal. If we have disagreements, we should not let the imperialists know about our disagreements. We should not display our divisions openly for the enemy to see. We should not let our disagreements spread and grow. We can only fight imperialism by keeping our forces united. We will continue to resolutely follow this path. That is why we view this trip by our Vietnamese comrades to be essential, both for the Vietnamese people and for the entire socialist camp. 10/-I want you comrades to know that our firm, unyielding attitude is that you comrades will win—your victory is certain. We will do absolutely everything possible to unite all forces opposed to imperialism. That is the decision of the international Communist movement. If we did anything else, our Party and our people would never forgive us. 11/-The situation of the Americans in Vietnam is not bright, even though they have great strength. However, we must make accurate assessments of the forces of our enemy. The Americans are very worried about their position in South Vietnam and they are not confident about their ultimate fate. The Americans currently do not yet have any plan to end the war in Vietnam. This fact makes the Americans lose confidence. However, the war will expand and it will become ferocious, because the U.S. will try to hold onto Vietnam for a long time. The people of North Vietnam and of South Vietnam are true heroes. Our entire Party and our entire population are filled with respect for you. The people of the entire world respect you. We clearly understand the complex nature of the struggle in Vietnam. Tiny Vietnam is fighting the very powerful American imperialists. That is truly heroic. You comrades are now holding high the banner of Communism and are bearing the entire burden of the heavy weight of war. Everyone must respect your ideas and opinions. We clearly understand that your struggle is our struggle. We promise that we will whole-heartedly support you and assist you. Poland:Views Expressed by Comrade [Edward] Ochab: 1/-Comrade Ochab expressed Comrade [Władysław] Gomułka’s warmest greetings. He said that Comrade Gomułka could not attend this discussion because he was ill and was recuperating at a remote location. 2/-The Polish Party and the Polish people whole-heartedly stand on the side of the Vietnamese people. We lost six million people during our struggle against the fascists, so we have a very clear understanding of the heavy burden that Vietnam bears, and we have great respect for Vietnam’s heroic struggle and for how you have been honed and have matured in battle. We are certain that Vietnam will win victory and we totally agree with Vietnam’s conclusions and policies. 3/-We suggest that Vietnam let us know what Poland can do to get talks started (We gave the Poles a clear explanation of the devious American plot involving negotiations without pre-conditions). 4/-Comrade Ochab was careful not to directly criticize China like Comrade [Communist Party of the Soviet Union Organization Committee Secretary and Politburo member Andrei] Kirilenko did. He said only that recently the Chinese had issued a semi-official statement in the Chinese press which said that the 17th Parallel was no longer a boundary line, and he asked what the Vietnamese comrades thought of this statement (After listening to him, we explained our position. The Polish comrades did not ask any more questions, nor did they say anything else about this subject). 5/-Public opinion in the European countries is increasingly denouncing the war that the U.S. is waging in Vietnam. In the U.S., the people are becoming increasingly worried and opposition to the war is growing stronger among intellectuals, university students, journalists, and scientists. We Poles have only limited ability to influence the U.S. 6/-West Germany is stepping up its plots and schemes directed against Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the German Democratic Republic [East Germany]. We are strengthening our defenses and are increasing our vigilance. Poland has a good chance of successfully completing its five-year plan, but we are still experiencing many economic problems and our agriculture is still weak. 7/-The imperialists plan to exploit the contradictions within the socialist camp and between Communist Parties by using them to attack Vietnam. Our Party is working to promote solidarity in order to prevent the imperialists from exploiting disagreements. You Vietnamese comrades are encountering major challenges but you are fighting stalwartly. We would like to thank our Vietnamese comrades for struggling hard, because your struggle helps us in Eastern Europe to combat the U.S. and West Germany. The German Democratic Republic:The Views of Comrade Walter Ulbricht: 1/-The Party and Government of the German Democratic Republic is in total agreement with Vietnam’s assessment of the situation and with its policies and policy guidelines. We will actively support you and will maintain close solidarity with Vietnam in your fight against the American imperialist aggressors. We need to form a broad worldwide front that supports Vietnam and opposes the American imperialist aggressors and warmongers. 2/-Our Vietnamese comrades see the true nature of the American imperialists and their plots. We are sitting here talking to you comrades while the Americans and the West Germans are just a few hundred meters away from us, so we understand their nature and their plots. Unfortunately, there are still some people who do not understand, so we must unite to make them understand. 3/-We share your belief that the Americans will only negotiate when we attack them strongly. South Vietnam is fighting hard and is winning. North Vietnam must erode the strength of American air power even more than it already has. The socialist countries must actively help Vietnam to inflict heavy losses on the American air forces. Only if many more American aircraft are shot down will the American imperialists reconsider and agree to sit down to talk. Air defense and shooting down enemy aircraft are extremely important. There are currently two parallel possibilities: to continue to fiercely shoot the Americans in the head and to negotiate a political settlement when necessary. 4/-The war in Vietnam provides a very valuable lesson for the socialist countries. The situation in Vietnam has given rise to many new issues. The socialist countries can learn many lessons from the experience in Vietnam. The struggle in Vietnam is our common struggle and that has tremendous impact on our support. 5/-Our own situation, in which we are opposing the West German revanchists, has caused us many complex and difficult problems, and our struggle is very expensive. The situation in which our country finds itself is different from your situation. Every person fights in his individual position, but the entire socialist camp must unite to push imperialism back, and the more united we are, the more victories we will win. We have cooperated well with each other—Vietnam has won military victories and the German Democratic Republic has won a diplomatic victory over West Germany in Egypt [editor’s note—following the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and Israel in May 1965, many Arab countries, including Egypt, broke relations with Bonn]. We are now studying how to strike a new blow against the West Germans. The battlefield in the fight against the imperialists is vast, but all we need to do is to unite and to coordinate our struggle. There are many different forms of struggle, but we need to pay a great deal of attention to the political struggle. 6/-We suggest that our Vietnamese comrades should come up with a complete plan so that when you request long-term economic assistance we can more easily fulfill your request, because at present the socialist countries in Eastern Europe have divided up production responsibilities amongst ourselves. We are always ready to help Vietnam, and we will do whatever we are capable of doing to help you. Bulgaria:Views Expressed by Comrade [Todor] Zhivkov: 1/-Vietnam is the Southeastern forward outpost of the socialist camp, and you are fighting to protect the interests of the entire socialist camp. Bulgaria will maintain solidarity with Vietnam and will stand on Vietnam’s side in the struggle against the American imperialists. 2/-There must be a military solution as well as a political solution, but we should seek the softest, most flexible method. Bulgaria’s military and economic assistance will be limited because we are a small country, but we will make positive efforts to support you politically and diplomatically. The Bulgarian Party Central Committee and the Bulgarian government will issue concrete instructions to our various agencies to develop and expand Vietnam’s political influence. 3/-We are prepared to accept more Vietnamese students sent here to study in Bulgaria. Hungary:Views Expressed by Comrade [János] Kádár: 1/-The Hungarian Party, government, and people have a true international proletarian position and attitude toward the Vietnamese people’s struggle against the American imperialists. We view it as our common struggle; we will maintain solidarity with you in this fight and will try to do anything we can to help Vietnam, including sending volunteer army fighters should that be necessary. 2/-We are in total agreement with the policies and policy guidelines of the Vietnamese Party, the Vietnamese government, and the Central Committee of the National Liberation Front. Alongside the military struggle, we also need to step up the political struggle in order to expose the true nature of the American imperialists and isolate them. The Hungarian Party and government has officially and publicly stated that it views the National Liberation Front as the sole legitimate representative of the people of South Vietnam, and we are prepared to approve the establishment of a Front representative office in Hungary. 3/-Even though there are still disagreements, the Parties and the socialist countries need to unite and to maintain solidarity in the struggle against imperialism, first of all to provide the greatest support to Vietnam. The Hungarian Party and government agree with the Soviet Union’s position that if we all issue a joint statement and sign an agreement to support Vietnam we will become even stronger and our enemy will be forced to fear us. 4/-On the occasion of this visit by your Vietnamese delegation, we have decided to conduct a major propaganda campaign to give our people a clear view of the representatives of heroic Vietnam and to let our people clearly see Vietnam’s revolutionary fervor. We view helping Vietnam as our duty and we will do everything possible to provide help. We will devote all of our resources and capabilities to supporting and helping Vietnam. 5/-In parallel with the military struggle, the political struggle is also extremely important. We must provide explanations that will prevent the people of the world from getting the distorted impression that one side is prepared to enter into talks while the other side does not even mention talking. 6/-At this time of ferocious struggle, we must resolve the most important problem, which is to achieve unity and solidarity in opposing the imperialists and in providing all-out support to Vietnam. The Parties and the socialist countries must assume this responsibility. There may be differing ideas, but the most important thing is to support Vietnam’s struggle against the American imperialists. Recently our Chinese comrades have said one thing that is good, which is that the governments and the peoples of the socialist countries and the nationalist countries should unite in support of Vietnam. In addition to the above views, Politburo Member and Deputy Prime Minister [Jenő] Fock told Ambassador Hoang Bao Son the following: +a/-The Hungarian Party Central Committee and government are very pleased with the results of the talks and with the signing of an aid agreement with our Vietnamese comrades. They have briefed the entire Party about giving support and help to Vietnam, and they have also provided partial information on this subject to the general population. The Central Committee and the government have decided to work to persuade the entire Hungarian population to support Vietnam. The Hungarian people say that we are not providing enough help and they say we must help even more. Perhaps we will consider launching a fund-raising campaign. +b/-If Hungary sees that Vietnam is using its military aid properly, that aid might be increased by approximately two million rubles. Hungarian military aid may be used both in North Vietnam and in South Vietnam. Hungary’s military aid may be increased, provided that the Soviet Union and China do not require Hungary to pay for transportation costs. +c/-In September, or perhaps by the end of 1965 when discussions are held about the 1965-1966 trade agreement, Vietnam can discuss long-term aid, but that will depend on the military situation in Vietnam. +d/-Hungary has excellent mining equipment and it is a pity that our Vietnamese comrades have not bought any of our equipment over the past several years. We suggest that Vietnam reexamine this subject.Minister of Defense [Lajos] Czinege provided the following additional information to Ambassador Hoang Bao Son: -A Hungarian Army missile unit has volunteered to be sent to Vietnam. -Hungary has a number of new, well-made weapons: a rifle with a sighting device and computation device that can hit a bird at distances of one to two kilometers, meaning it would be very good for shooting down helicopters; a folding-stock silenced sub-machinegun that would be very good for use by sappers, and Hungary is willing to provide as many of these guns as Vietnam wants; an artillery piece with a range of three kilometers that is so light that three people can carry it but that is rather technically difficult to disassemble and reassemble—this gun could be used in South Vietnam; a small mine with great destructive power; and an anti-aircraft gun for use in defending bridges. He also said that Hungary had many coastal defense mines. -He said Vietnam should send personnel to Hungary to study these weapons and added that if we decided that we could use any of these weapons, our personnel could take the weapons back to Vietnam with them. The Hungarian comrades reminded Ambassador Hoang Bao Son that the Hungarian Party Central Committee plans to send two Politburo members to Vietnam to hold direct meetings with the Vietnamese Workers’ Party in order to get to know each other better, to build on the results of this visit by our Vietnamese delegation, and to hold further discussions on aid (this will be a Party-to-Party visit). Vietnam will decide on the date of the visit. The visit could wait until after 2 September, Vietnam’s National Day, but they said the sooner the visit can be arranged, the better. Czechoslovakia:Views Expressed by Comrade [Antonín] Novotný: 1/-Czechoslovakia stands with Vietnam and whole-heartedly supports Vietnam’s struggle against the American imperialists, no matter how badly this might affect our economic relations with the United States. Czechoslovakia recently signed an agreement with the U.S. calling for the U.S. to return 165 million gold korunas (our former currency), but because Czechoslovakia was protesting so vociferously about the Vietnam War, the U.S. has refused to return this money to us. We will also certainly not forgive the Americans and the West Germans for their plot involving Czechoslovakia’s border. 2/-We clearly understand the importance of the struggle being conducted by our Vietnamese comrades, we clearly recognize your struggle’s close connection with our country, and we agree with the conclusion reached by our Vietnamese comrades that if the U.S. should win that struggle, it will seek to commit more aggressions and will start wars against many other countries. 3/-We must frankly acknowledge that the U.S. is exploiting the disagreement between the Chinese Communist Party and the Soviet Union and the other Parties. If it had not been for this situation, the U.S. would never have dared to take such actions against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. We cannot understand the position of our Chinese comrades on the issue of helping Vietnam. Our aid must be unified and closely coordinated. In the future, the history of the international communist movement will assess and reach conclusions about who caused this division, and the side that caused this split will have to bear the responsibility (I interjected at this point to explain our Party Central Committee’s policy of patiently and steadfastly working to achieve solidarity). 4/-American forces in Vietnam will be bankrupted and will fail. The U.S. cannot defeat Vietnam morally or militarily. In spite of the heavy losses that Czechoslovakia has suffered from the recent floods (this was our biggest flood since 1892 and it has caused losses of at least 250 million rubles), we will do everything we can to help Vietnam, because you are facing far greater problems than we are. We also want to help our Cuban comrades, because the U.S. may also carry out provocations against Cuba to incite military clashes. We will certainly support Vietnam in its struggle on the front lines, and we are also prepared to accept Vietnamese students and help to train cadres for Vietnam. 5/-We have told France that Vietnam’s struggle is totally just and that Czechoslovakia will do everything it can to support Vietnam morally, politically, and materially. People’s Democratic Republic of Korea:Views Expressed by Comrade Kim Il Sung: 1/-We totally agree with your assessment of the situation and with the policies of our Vietnamese comrades. The conflict in Vietnam will be ferocious. Our experience in Korea shows that during the negotiations for a cease-fire (negotiations that lasted for two years), the enemy bombed us very heavily in order to put strong pressure on us. During the Korean War they bombed our entire country, and they even destroyed our dikes. We think that the enemy may bomb Hanoi. It was Korea’s experience that during the entire course of the war large enterprises were unable to function and that the only enterprises that could operate were small and widely dispersed. 2/-The Park Chung Hee clique is afraid that if the U.S. reduces its troop strength in South Korea in order to be able to send more troops to South Vietnam, North Korea will attack the South, and that is why they have proposed that they send two or three of their divisions to South Vietnam in place of sending American troops. The troops they select to send are vicious thugs, those who had their land confiscated from them in North Korea or those who served as puppets of the Japanese occupiers. The South Korean political parties in South Korea’s legislature do not dare to oppose the sending of South Korean troops to South Vietnam. At present the movement opposed to sending South Korean troops to Vietnam is weak. Although, as a result of North Korea’s influence, the middle class has protested, their slogans and demands are weak. In the future this movement will gradually grow and expand. At this time we still have not been able organize a broad-based high tide of opposition in South Korea. 3/-Reports of your victories in South Vietnam have greatly encouraged us. You comrades fight very well. According to our intelligence reports, the Americans will try to control South Vietnam’s coastal areas, areas that their Air Force and their 7th Fleet can bomb, control, and defend. In the future, when you attack enemy positions and seize and hold towns and cities in South Vietnam, you need to make sure to take precautions to defend yourselves against enemy aircraft. Our South Vietnamese comrades [of the National Liberation Front] are pretty good at shooting down aircraft, and our North Vietnamese comrades are also fighting rather well. South Vietnam is making excellent attacks against enemy airfields. Based on Korea’s experience, you should build your important factories in the mountain jungle areas, half of the factories inside the mountains and half outside—dig caves and place the factories half inside the caves and half outside. 4/-With regard to aid, we have the following thoughts: -We are determined to provide aid to Vietnam and we do not view such aid as constituting a heavy burden on North Korea. We will strive to ensure that Vietnam will defeat the American imperialists, even if it means that North Korea’s own economic plan will be delayed. We will never think that helping Vietnam will cause problems for North Korea. We produce the items that Vietnam has requested and we certainly are prepared to provide the items as grant aid, aid that you will not have to pay us for later. -Building a factory in a cave, such as a machinery factory, will require a cave with an area of almost 10,000 square meters. It took North Korea from 1951 to 1955-1956 to finish building its factories in man-made caves, but today we can do the work faster. Digging the caves and installing the machinery is difficult. You must install the machinery as you build the cave, constructing the factory in successive stages. It also took about three or four years, or two years at the very minimum, to build our underground headquarters command posts, but today we can build them faster. Using military personnel to build the caves is a very good practice. You can use simple methods, digging for a short time and building the projects half underground and half on the outside, following the method of building half outside and half in a cave inside a mountain. Then you can gradually, systematically, expand the project. We will immediately send 500 of our experts and laborers to work with Vietnamese cadres and workers. Aside from food and vegetables that Vietnam will provide, North Korea will provide all the other things that our workers need; our personnel will bring with them equipment and some supplies. If the construction work produces good results, we will send 500 more of our people. If they do good work, we will expand the construction work. We should begin the work on a small scale, perhaps three caves—one factory and two command posts—and then later we will expand the construction work. The work must be done quickly, it must be done well, and it must be completed as soon as possible, carrying out the work while at the same time conducting studies for more such projects. There is one important point, however, which is that when machinery is installed in caves and tunnels it can easily become rusty because of the high humidity; precision measuring devices can also be affected, so you must have air conditioners and de-humidifiers. North Korea will make machinery and tools to be used underground and will produce trucks for use underground. Building caves for aircraft (a regiment of 32 jet aircraft) is much more difficult, but we have good experience in this area, and our Chinese comrades who were sent here to learn how to do this have gone back home and have successfully built such caves. When building caves for aircraft you have to select an area that includes both mountains and flat ground. To summarize, if you want to build caves and tunnels, you have to assemble a work force, you have to have electricity, and you have to analyze the geology of the mountain and the nature of the rock that makes up the mountain. [Following three paragraphs were crossed out and have hand-written notations saying “delete”] -It would be difficult to build ship-building facilities in just one year. We should concentrate on building one shipyard first, one that can build both steel-hulled ships and wooden-hulled ships, and we can expand later; it may be possible to build one additional shipyard. Carry out the design work in 1965, manufacture the equipment in 1966, and complete the construction work in 1967. North Korea will help Vietnam with the design, with cadres, with equipment, and with a quantity of steel. -There are only two items that North Korea will not be able to provide to Vietnam: building a factory to produce cartridge cases made of special steel (North Korea is not yet capable of producing this equipment—we have to purchase this kind of equipment from the Soviet Union because they have sophisticated automatic production machinery) and field telephone wire, which North Korea also is not yet capable of manufacturing. -North Korea will supply all of the other items: 20,000 tons of steel, 100 kilometers of railroad track, electrical transformers, 200 trucks, 300 pieces of towing equipment, diesel engines, etc. Our only suggestion is that the delivery schedule deadline be extended. You comrades should check to make sure that North Korean equipment is compatible with Vietnam’s electricity supply. 5/-North Korea is very concerned about the attitude and the positions of the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries toward Vietnam. This is because Vietnam is now our Number One issue and everything else should support this issue. The attitudes, positions, and relations of the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries with Vietnam will also be their attitudes, positions, and relations with North Korea and with regard to other issues. 6/-This past spring Comrades Deng Xiaoping and Peng Zhen visited North Korea to ask us for our thoughts about their argument against the 1 March 1965 19-Party conference [editor’s note— Deng Xiaoping and Peng Zhen visited Pyongyang from 14-15 March 1965]. We contributed three opinions to them: +We should not list the names of or make accusations against all of the countries that attended the 1 March 1965 conference. Cuba, for example, is now directly being forced to contend with the United States and it needs Soviet aid, so it was forced to attend the 1 March conference. Because of this, should we really criticize Cuba and criticize all of the other countries? +We should not say that the Soviet Union is cooperating with the U.S. to rule the world, because if that were true, that would mean that we are opposed to the Soviet Union and we would not be able to have any further discussions with the Soviet Union. +We should not say that the Soviet Union is lying when it says it is helping Vietnam. We said to them, we would like to ask you whether you think that Vietnam needs Soviet aid? Does China agree that the Soviet Union should aid Vietnam? If that is the case, what is the reason for saying that Soviet aid to Vietnam is a lie, that it is phony? If the Soviet Union had in fact entered into an alliance with the United States, then it would never be able to help Vietnam. If the Soviet Union is allied with the U.S., then how could Vietnam receive Soviet aid? For these reasons, we said that we believe that even though the Soviet Union is still revisionist, we cannot view the Soviet Union and the U.S. as being the same. We advised our Chinese comrades that even if the Soviet Union does not want to do it, it would be better for us to induce them, to persuade them, to force them to support Vietnam. Comrades Deng Xiaoping and Peng Zhen did not reply. However, later on we noticed that the Chinese statement had been changed in two places. However, the section stating that Soviet support for Vietnam was a lie had been kept in the statement. 7/-We have little contact with the Soviet Union. This spring, before leaving to go home, the previous Soviet ambassador came to see me. He asked me what I thought of the Soviet Communist Party Central Committee. I gave him the following three opinions: +The Soviet Union supports Vietnam. That is a good thing, so you should continue to support Vietnam and support them even more strongly. You need to do a great deal more through concrete actions—that will demonstrate your anti-imperialist spirit. +Your relations with the U.S. should be cooler. You should not make agreements with the U.S. At the very least, you should cool your relations with the U.S. You must take a firm, resolute attitude toward the United States. There needs to be a clear line between revolutionary struggle and diplomatic struggle. The entire socialist camp must support Vietnam against the U.S. The Americans are now killing Vietnamese, so how can you make diplomatic agreements with the Americans? You must struggle harder. +I again recommended that the Soviet Party immediately end its interference in the internal affairs of other Parties (first of all the Japanese Party, and secondly the Indonesian Party). When the new Soviet ambassador arrived, he brought with him a letter from Comrade Brezhnev. The contents of the letter were as follows: First, the new Soviet ambassador’s assignment was to strengthen and expand relations with North Korea, and also that the Soviets agreed with the things that I had said to the former ambassador (however, the letter did not specifically mention the afore-mentioned three points). The new ambassador talked about actively supporting Vietnam, and then he presented to us a list of the military aid items that the Soviet Union was giving to Vietnam. He talked about the Soviet Union cooling its relations with the U.S. but he did not talk about the question of Soviet relations with the Japanese Communist Party. At this point I interjected that we could unite if the Soviet Union would actively support Vietnam and if it cooled its relations with the U.S. However, the Soviet ambassador said that they were having big problems in their relations with China. I replied that the Soviet Union should not instigate anti-Chinese movements. I said that the Soviet Union was still selling anti-Chinese books and that it was publishing and selling [Mikhail] Suslov’s anti-Chinese report. That was the reason that China had to write articles responding to the Soviet publications and responding to Suslov’s report. I asked him why the Soviet Union did not make the first move by stopping the sale of anti-Chinese publications. I then brought up the issue of relations with the Japanese Communist Party and the fact that Si-ga’s [sic] book opposing the Japanese Party was being sold in Leningrad. I suggested that the Soviet Union should rethink its relations with the Japanese and Chinese Communist Parties. The Soviet ambassador invited me to come visit the Soviet Union. I said that I would not go anywhere—I would not visit the Soviet Union and I would not visit China. The ambassador then invited me to stop in the Soviet Union when I went abroad to attend the Second African-Asian Conference. I replied that I would consider it, but in fact, and I’m telling this to you comrades privately, we are sending Comrade Choe Yong-geon to attend the Second African-Asian Conference. I would like to mention another thing that our ambassador to the Soviet Union just reported to us: The Soviet Deputy Prime Minister did not attend the recent U.S. national day party (4 July 1965), as has been the customary practice in past years. Instead the Soviets sent only a senior official, a department head, from the Soviet Foreign Ministry. The Western press commented that this appeared to be a return to the era of Stalin. 8/-We greatly value the results of the talks that we had in Hanoi in November of last year, and we hope that both of us will continue to firmly maintain the policy stance that was discussed in Hanoi. The Korean Party’s position is the same as it was when we held our discussions back then: That we would carefully study and consider pressing the Soviet leadership to follow an honest, correct path of actively supporting Vietnam in opposing the American imperialists. Our approach is to study the situation further, to wait to see the attitude of the Soviet leadership, and to encourage them to more actively support you. The Soviet leaders have many weaknesses and shortcomings. For example, the Soviet Union is afraid to strongly denounce the talks between South Korea and Japan because they want to do business with Japan (when Kosygin visited North Korea he did not dare to strongly denounce these talks). They are selfish and are only thinking about doing business with Japan. There is a big difference between doing business with Japan and Japanese militarism. In the context of Vietnam’s struggle, you comrades are striving to secure aid and to demonstrate our solidarity to the enemy—that is not a bad thing; it is a good thing. Based on the spirit of our discussion in Hanoi, the Korean Party constantly strives to follow a policy of improving and encouraging the positive and of criticizing the negative. We need to strive to win all the sympathy and help we can get, even if the help is small and weak. Even if their help is 30 percent real and 70 percent phony, or 50 percent real and 50 percent phony, that is still good and we need to strive to secure that help. Some people are afraid that we will be infected by their thinking. Firm, resolute people like us are not afraid of being infected. It is essential to collect and mass forces to oppose the U.S. We met with and contributed many ideas to Comrade Aidit (from the Indonesian Communist Party) on the question of concentrating our strength to support Vietnam, but those comrades have a different view, and they have a different opinion of Soviet support for Vietnam. We do not think that the Soviet leaders are all good or that they are all correct—they have many shortcomings and they are still infected with the vestiges of revisionism. At this time we do not publicly argue with the Soviet Communist Party, but in the future, if necessary, we will criticize them. When Comrade Kosygin visited Korea he asked us if we were having economic problems and if we needed any help. We did not ask him for anything. Brezhnev says that Khrushchev’s cutting off of military aid to North Korea was a mistake and he is now asking to resume aid to us, and North Korea did not refuse his offer. The Soviet Union is providing additional missiles and aircraft, but they are not providing a lot of help. Our policy is to go ahead with resuming relations with the Soviet Union. We will accept military aid, but we will not ask the Soviet Union for economic aid or for other things. In summary, the Soviet-Korean relationship continues to follow the spirit of the discussions we held with one another during the Hanoi talks. As for our relations with the Eastern European countries, the German Democratic Republic, Poland, and Hungary want good relations with us; relations with Czechoslovakia are normal; but relations with Bulgaria are not very good. We advocate a policy of unity and solidarity, but with the following conditions: opposition to imperialism, active support for Vietnam, support for the national liberation movement, and non-interference in the internal affairs of fraternal Parties. 9/-In our relations with China and the Soviet Union, it is very difficult for us to contribute our ideas to them—if we actively seek to talk to them about a subject, they will not listen to us, but if they ask me about something, I will give my opinion. Like Vietnam, we have no illusions about revisionism. We do not act like some people have said, one-third revisionist or one-fifth revisionist. I do not know whom their statements are aimed at, but I am certain that these statements are not aimed at Korea or Vietnam. We believe that the Vietnamese delegation’s visit to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe has achieved good results, and that the visit provides a good foundation for the future. We are determined that in international conferences of people’s organizations North Korea will stay in lock-step with Vietnam. We are united and have very close, very good coordination with each other. I hope that we will continue that coordination in the future. We are in total agreement with one another. We are currently preparing our people for war, but we do not say this too loudly to outsiders; we are preparing for war in the context of continuing to carry out our economic work until the day that war breaks out. We have said publicly that we are strengthening our national defense forces; we said this primarily to threaten South Korea and to induce it to reduce the number of troops it is sending to South Vietnam. ** * In general, in all of the eight countries that our delegation visited, the Party and State leaders of these fraternal nations expressed their affection and esteem for our Party and our people. They all honor and respect the heroic struggle being waged by the people of North and South Vietnam; they are confident that we will certainly be victorious; they agree with our positions and our policies; their attitudes indicated that they are totally on our side and that they actively support and will help our struggle; and that they clearly recognize the close relationship between our struggle and their own country’s struggle and viewed our struggle as a common struggle. The Party and State leaders of these fraternal countries all value and respect our Party Central Committee, and in particular they have great respect for Uncle Ho [Chi Minh]. They all expressed sincere and warm praise for Uncle Ho. Everywhere we went we received a proper, high-level reception. The peoples of the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries provided many expressions of support for the battle that is being fought by our people. The Chinese and North Korean peoples displayed deep and profound sympathy with us. The Chinese leaders wanted to talk a lot about resolutely enduring sacrifices and hardships to win total victory over the American imperialists; about actively striving to demand that the Soviet Union provide us with more assistance and to demand that the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries send their aid to us by sea. The Chinese comrades expressed somewhat more sympathy and acceptance of our views regarding conducting the struggle against revisionism in a manner suited to our situation and the conditions that we face. On the other hand, they also indicated that they were, to a certain extent, displeased with our attitude toward the Soviet Union. The North Korean leaders were very honest and open; they expressed total agreement with us; and their support was very straight-forward, honest, and selfless. The Soviet leaders wanted to display an attitude of increased solidarity and friendship with us. They want to give us more help, but they still have many internal disagreements, with some of them saying that they should consider one issue or another in making decisions regarding the level of their assistance to us (in the area of defense assistance, their response was more positive). However, their attitude regarding support to us is better than it was before, but they are still worried about improving their relations with the U.S., and they are worried about becoming involved in a confrontation with the U.S. The Soviet comrades wanted to emphasize the political campaign to isolate the U.S. They want to improve relations with China by forgetting about former issues, by dropping the former problems and concentrating instead on supporting Vietnam. The Soviet comrades also again raised the issue of reaching a political settlement. They are worried about a ferocious, protracted war, but they respected our views. They did not say anything concrete and did not dare to say much about reaching a political settlement. The leaders of the Eastern European countries indicated that they understand and sympathize with us more than they did before, that they clearly recognize that our struggle is also their common struggle, a struggle that is related in many ways to the situation in Eastern Europe. They now recognize more clearly the plots and schemes of the United States and West Germany, and they are more focused on strengthening their national defenses than they had been before. Poland, Germany, and Czechoslovakia enthusiastically support us. Hungary in particular demonstrated a very good attitude toward us and indicated that it wants to strengthen its relations with us. Generally speaking, the leaders of the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries are all concerned about public opinion and the attitude of the popular masses, which are demanding more active support of Vietnam. That has put pressure on their leaders. Bulgaria does not face the same economic difficulties as the other nations, but their help is limited. The political situation in Bulgaria is not good. Their people are very concerned about Vietnam, but their leaders are more interested in relations with Yugoslavia and with the U.S., Britain, and France, and also in opening their borders to allow people from the capitalist countries to visit them. As for Bulgaria’s political situation, later on it may lead to a sudden change as a result of their lack of vigilance.
 Foreign scholars have already been able to do that, to some degree at least, using documents from archives in China, Russia, and other Eastern European countries whose governments and communist parties maintained close ties to their North Vietnamese counterparts during the Vietnam War.
 On the issue of Soviet volunteer troops to Vietnam, see Ilya V. Gaiduk, The Soviet Union and the Vietnam War (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1996), 35-47.
About the Author
Pierre Asselin is the Dwight E. Stanford Chair in the History of US Foreign Relations at San Diego State University. He is the author of A Bitter Peace: Washington, Hanoi, and the Making of the Paris Agreement (University of North Carolina Press, 2002), which won the 2003 Kenneth W. Baldridge Prize, and Hanoi’s Road to the Vietnam War, 1954-1965 (University of California Press, 2013), winner of the 2013 Arthur Goodzeit Book Award.Read More
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