Mao: Have you talked about this with Chen Yi?
Montgomery: Yes, I have.
Mao: Then, it is all right.
Montgomery: I may push it in the West, but I don't want to play
a big role in the East. Moscow is in the East, so I do not want to
go there. I have a very strong position in my country. If I travel
too much in the Communist East, the British people will ask what
has come over this chap. It will impair my position. If I want to
push this matter, I must keep my position.
Mao: You position is unshakable. Your basic thought is for
Montgomery: The people will follow me. They will agree with my
proposition, though many people in the West disagree with your
Mao: If they disagree, then, they just don't believe in it.
Montgomery: That's right. I stand for noninterference in each
others' internal affairs. Whenever Western countries run into
problems, their practice is to divide one country into two. Korea,
for example, and Laos and Indochina. They feel that all the
problems are solved when a country is divided into two. I do not
think that is right and I shall say that every country should
withdraw its troops and the Koreans should decide what they want
and what they do not want.
Mao: That's right.
Montgomery: This is the only reasonable way.
Nuclear Weapons Are to Scare People, Not to Use
Montgomery: Now people are discussing the question of nuclear
weapons, with an argument. I have talked with President Liu Shaoqi
about China's nuclear policy. Chairman, what's your view on the
Mao: I am not interested in nuclear weapons. They are not something
to use. The more there are, the harder it will be for nuclear wars
to break out. If a war breaks out, it will be a war of conventional
weapons. If conventional weapons are used, the arts of war, such as
strategies and tactics, can be emphasized, and commanders can
change plans to suit the situation. If it is a nuclear war, it will
just be a matter of pressing buttons, and the war will be over
after a few presses.
Montgomery: President Liu told me that you also want to make
some nuclear weapons, because the United States, Britain, France
and the Soviet Union have them.
Mao: Yes, we are preparing to make some, but I do not know when
we shall succeed. The United States has so many; it has ten
fingers. Even if we succeed in making one, we shall still have just
one finger. It is something to scare people, absorbing a lot of
money but useless.
Montgomery: I am also thinking that perhaps you put the
development of nuclear weapons among the last of your various
Mao: That's right. We spend very little money on it. We do not
have a solid economic base, with industry just beginning. The
United States, Britain, France and the Soviet Union have powerful
industrial bases. We are like a poor man or a beggar who walks out
in a beautiful suit.
Montgomery: My view is that it is nuclear weapons that prevent
the breakout of a third world war.
Mao: I have said that the atom bomb is a paper tiger.
Montgomery: Now many British people are demonstrating to demand
the prohibition and destruction of nuclear weapons. I told them,
first, withdrawal of troops; second, disarmament; finally, the
destruction of nuclear weapons.
Mao: Can an agreement be reached, just as chemical weapons were
forbidden during the Second World War, so nobody used chemical
weapons? Nobody uses nuclear weapons?
Montgomery: It won't work now. In the first place, the suspicion
and distrust between East and West must be got rid of. Hence, it is
necessary to return troops to their home countries. That is why I
have found no time to visit Japan; I must first work for the
realization of my three principles.
Mao: All right. Nuclear weapons are to be prohibited after the
realization of the three principles.
Montgomery: I have talked with Marshal Chen Yi and I hope he
will talk to the Soviet Union, requesting them to support my three
Mao: He will go to Geneva to participate in the conference on
the Laos question. He may meet Gromyko and find a chance to talk
about it. I am for it.
These are excerpts from two talks of Mao Zedong' s with British
Field Marshal Montgomery.