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Talk with Edward Heath
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(May 25, 1974)

Edward Heath (hereinafter referred to as Heath): Good morning.

Chairman Mao Zedong (hereinafter referred to as Mao): Good morning.

Heath: I am very glad to meet you. It is my great honor.

Mao: Thank you. You are welcome.

Heath: The welcoming ceremony at the airport was very touching, full of bright colors, active and brisk.

Mao (to Zhou Enlai): Why no guard of honor?

Premier Zhou Enlai (hereinafter referred to as Zhou): Since he is not the incumbent prime minister, we were afraid it might cause misunderstanding and incur unpleasantness with the present prime minister.

Mao: I think it is necessary.

Zhou: We shall arrange a guard of honor at his departure.

Wang Hairong: You aren't afraid of offending Wilson?

Mao: No. (Turning to Heath) I cast my vote for you!

Heath: I think the Soviet Union has a lot of troubles. They are facing domestic economic difficulties and agricultural predicament, and there are also differences within the leadership, over questions of tactics and timing, not over long-term strategy. 

Mao: I think the Soviet Union is busy with its own affairs and unable to deal with Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, China and the Pacific. I think it will lose.

Heath: However, its military strength is continually augmented. Although the Soviet Union has encountered troubles at many places in the world, its strength is continuing to grow. Therefore, we deem this to be the principal threat. Does the Chairman think the Soviet Union constitutes a menace to China?

Mao: We are prepared for it to come, but it will collapse if it comes. It has only a handful of troops, and you Europeans are so frightened of it! Some people in the West are always trying to direct this calamity toward China. Your senior, Chamberlain, and also Daladier of France were the ones who pushed Germany eastward.

Heath: I opposed Mr. Chamberlain then.

Mao: I am chiefly speaking of the public in the U.S I haven't seen much about the British public talking about the Soviet Union invading China.

Heath: If Europe is weak, it is possible that a Soviet attempt against China would succeed. Therefore a powerful Europe is very important; it will make the Soviet Union worry.

Mao: We shall be glad to have Europe become powerful.

Heath: Does the principal difference between China and the Soviet Union lie in ideology or result from Soviet power politics? How do you, Mr. Chairman, judge Soviet aims and motives with regard to China?

Mao: Differences between China and the Soviet Union began in 1954, because when Adenauer visited Moscow in 1955, Khrushchov told him that China was no end of trouble. It was written thus in Adenauer's memoirs. Have you ever met Adenauer?

Heath: Yes, I have met him lots of times. I talked with him for a whole day once when he went to Italy for a holiday. He always held that the Soviet Union would attempt to take over Europe.

Mao: Not only Europe, but also Asia and Africa. However, its ability is not equal to its ambition.

Heath: It didn't succeed in Africa at all.

Mao: It lost its position in Egypt.

Heath: Its influence is rather week in the Arab world.

Mao: It is even weaker here in China!

Heath: There isn't the slightest influence here, I think.

Mao: There is some; Lin Biao was their man.

Heath: May I ask you another question, Chairman? How will Sino-U.S. relations develop in future? It seems that relations between China and the U.S. came to a standstill after President Nixon visited China.

Mao: That doesn't matter. Relations are still fairly good. Can you give Nixon some advice and help him tide over the Watergate scandal?

Heath: If he had asked for my opinion at that time, I would have advised him to thoroughly crush that matter 18 months ago. But he didn't ask me at that time.

Mao: So he has faults as well!

Heath: We all have faults.

Mao: My faults are more serious! Eight hundred million people want to eat, and, moreover, China's industry is undeveloped. I can't boast much of China. Your country is a developed country and ours is an undeveloped one. We look forward to the younger generation. I have already received God's invitation, expecting me to call on him.

Heath: I hope the Chairman won't accept this invitation for quite a long time.

Mao: I haven't replied yet.

Heath: I am very interested in what you've just said. China's agricultural production has developed and you are almost self-sufficient in grain; your industry is beginning to develop. Perhaps the U.K. can offer some assistance you need in the way of technology and skills. But how do you, Chairman, inspire over 700 million people to unite and work like this?

Mao: It is a long story. However, we shall be very glad to have your help.

Heath: Good. We are always glad to help you.

Mao: Wonderful. Is your Eden still alive?

Heath: Yes, he is fine. Now he is 76 or 77. He still takes great interest in foreign affairs and international questions.

Mao: He suffered from the Suez Canal issue.

Heath: Yes, he suffered a great deal.

Mao: The Americans let him down. The U.S. has reached out too far. Look, it has reached Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Iran, Turkey, the Middle East, the Mediterranean Sea and Europe.

Heath: It was part of U.S. intentions at the time to contain other regions of the world. It has now come to understand that this is impossible.

Mao: Why should it be afraid of communism? We suggest that countries in Europe and Asia, including Japan, should not quarrel with one another. They may quarrel, but not big quarrels.

Heath: I fully agree with you.

Mao: The Americans abused us for more than 20 years.

Heath: Between the Americans and you there exists a sort of love-hate relationship. Their psychological fear of you has now lessened, so they love you all the more.

Mao: Scared like a rabbit! When Kissinger came to Beijing for the first time, he felt as if the Chinese people would eat him. He admitted that he was very nervous the first time, still a bit the second time, but not in the least the third time. However, we feel rather easy toward the Americans.

Heath: We Europeans are glad to hear this. Are you at ease with Japan, Chairman?

Mao: Yes, we are.

Heath: Do you trust the peaceful intentions of the Japanese?

Mao: We do within a certain period of time. It's hard to say in future. However, we are not afraid of Europe.

Heath: You have no reason to be afraid of Europe.

Mao: But we were in the past.

Heath: That's something that happened long, long ago.

Mao: There's no enmity. It was the allied forces of eight powers in the past, including not only the U.K., but France, Italy, Germany, Austria-Hungary….

Zhou: Also Russia, Japan and the U.S., altogether eight countries that actually represented 12 countries. It happened in 1900.

Mao: All this is now history. Only the question of Hong Kong remains. We won't discuss it at present. We shall consult together at the proper time about what we are going to do. This will be the business of the younger generation.

(PLA Daily)

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