Edgar Snow (hereinafter referred to as Snow): On the question of
Taiwan, Chairman, I wonder if you have read about a heated debate
in the United States between John F.Kennedy and Richard Nixon the
questions of Mazu and Jinmen and American policy on the far
Chairman Mao Zedong (hereinafter referred to as Mao): I have read
Snow: The debate was so heated that the two names of Mazu and
Jinmen often appeared in the newspapers so someone made a joke
about it, saying the people had forgotten the two candidates'
names, assuming they were called Mazu and Jinmen instead of Kennedy
Mao: It is because the Americans are afraid of war that they use
this question for their election campaign. These two islands are
very close to the mainland and Kennedy makes use of this point to
Snow: Nevertheless, it shows there is a great difference of
opinion among the American public on this question. Usually people
are indifferent about an election campaign, but this question has
aroused great interest, for many Americans are against the current
U.S. policy. So this is the real issue.
Mao: Nixon has his own idea, saying that these two islands must
be protected. He also wants to get more votes. This question has
given life to the American election campaign. Nixon has gone too
far, as if the U.S. government had an obligation to protect the two
islands. The U.S. State Department says that it has no obligation
to do so. Whether to protect or not depends on the situation and is
to be decided by the president under the circumstances at the time.
This is the statement Eisenhower made two years ago.
Snow: Someone asked this question: Under the American
Constitution the new president will not take office until the
January following his election in early November. If Kennedy is
elected and China occupies Jinmen and Mazu on November 6 what's to
be done then?
Mao: They asked the question in this way?
Snow: Eisenhower remains president until next January.
Mao: We do not look at the two islands that way. We have made
public statements on the question, that is, let Chiang Kai-shek
hold the two islands. We will not intercept their supplies. We can
even send supplements if they do not have enough provisions. What
we want is the whole Taiwan region. Taiwan and the Penghu Islands,
including Jinmen and Mazu are all china's territory. As for the two
islands, they are now in Chiang Kai-shek's hand, let him told them.
It seems that the American presidential candidates are not clear
Snow: Quite possibly.
Mao: There isn't much to be debated on this question. We want
not only the two islands, Jinmen and Mazu, but Taiwan and all the
Penghu Islands. This question may annoy us for a long time. It has
already been 11 Years, and it is quite possible it will drag on for
twice that many years or even longer, because the U.S. government
is not willing to give up Taiwan. It does not want to give it up,
and we do not attack it, so we have had negotiations, first in
Geneva, then in Warsaw. We shall not attack Taiwan while the U.S.
is there. We want to solve the issue through negotiations rather
than force. The U.S. government understands this. Nor shall we
attack Jinmen and Mazu; we have stated this openly. Therefore,
there is no danger of war and the United States may keep its
occupation of Taiwan with its mind at ease. Eleven years have gone.
After another 11 years and still another-that will be 33
years-maybe in the 32nd year the United States will give up
Snow: I think the Chairman wants to wait until Chiang Kai-shek's
soldiers have become three-legged men.
Mao: It is mainly a question of the U.S. government, not of
Chiang Kai-shek or others. If Chiang Kai-shek's men become
three-legged, there will still be men with two legs in Taiwan. It
is easy to find human beings.
Snow: Is the Chairman serious in thinking it will take 11 years
or 22 years for the United States to change its stand? The American
situation develops very fast and it will change very fast too. Of
course the change has something to do with outside factors. All in
all, there will be changes in the situation.
Mao: Maybe. In your article you mentioned one point: that we
were more interested in becoming a member of the United Nations
than in having the United States recognize China, as if we were
more interested in getting into the United Nations. I do not see it
that way and it cannot be said so. We instead of Chiang Kai-shek
should represent China in the United Nations. It should have been
that way long ago, but the U.S. government organized the majority
of countries to block our entry. It does not mean there is no good
in this. We are not eager to get into the United Nations. Some
other countries are eager to have us admitted into the United
Nations of course, excluding the United States. Now Britain has no
choice but to follow the United States, but its original intention
may be the one you talked about, that is, we shall be lawless if we
are kept outside the United Nations, it would be better if we were
bound by United Nations' rules. Quite a few countries hope China
will observe the rules. You know we were guerrillas and accustomed
to being unrestrained. It is hard to obey so many rules, isn't it?
We shall not suffer any loss if we do not get into the United
Nations. What are the good points if we get into the United
Nations? Of course, there are some, but not necessarily many. Some
countries strive for membership in the United Nations and we don't
quite understand their mood. Our country is a united nation. One of
our provinces is bigger than some countries.
Snow: I often say so.
Mao: They try to impose an economic blockade against us, just
like what the Kuomintang did in the past. We were very grateful to
the Kuomintang for setting up an economic blockade against us and
making us find a way out by going in for production in our bases.
The Kuomintang provided us with pay in 1937, 1938 and 1939, but
started blockading us in 1940. We wanted to thank them for forcing
us to go in for production and not rely on them. Now the United
States has also imposed a blockade on us, which has some good
Snow: I remember that in 1939 the Chairman told me"We thank the
Kuomintang in eight respects. First, because the Communist Party
developed too slowly, so the Kuomintang carried out an economic
blockade to help us develop faster." Another respect was since the
Communist troops had very few new recruits, Chiang Kai-shek put
more people in prison, and so on and so forth. Later these points
of the Chairman were proved correct. In fact, the more the people
are oppressed, the faster the people's strength develops.
Mao: That is true.
Snow: In one of you articles you said that the law of
imperialism is to oppose colonized people's efforts for freedom, to
fail, to oppose again, to fail again. The blockade against China
was certain to fail, but they have never given up this way of
thinking. Now they are brooding over an economic blockade against
Cuba. I think it will be a failure, too. It is very hard to
comprehend what they want to gain from it. Anyway, it seems that
they will impose an embargo against Cuba.
Mao: Now it is a partial embargo. It has no big influence on
Cuba. It is possible that they will expand to a total embargo,
which will have a bigger impact, but it is impossible for them to
block Cuba to death. Cuba will find a way. The situation for Cuba
today is after all better than our situation in Yan'an.
Snow: I want to ask another question. In ten to twenty years you
will achieve your goal of industrialization. By then the world's
economic foundation will have seen tremendous changes, as nuclear
power and electronics are applied extensively. Of course by then,
maybe earlier, China will have nuclear power. Some Americans think
it will be far in the future when China develops nuclear power.
However, they fear China will use it irresponsibly once it has the
Mao: No, we won't. How can an atom bomb be used irresponsibly?
That won't do. We can't use it irresponsibly if we have it. To use
it irresponsibly means committing a crime.
Snow: Even though there is no peace treaty or agreement between
China and the U.S., and some Americans think that the United States
and China are in fact in a semiwar situation, world peace every day
relies on China's sense of responsibility, which is first for the
Chinese people and then for the whole world, of which China is a
part. Do you agree with me on this?
Mao: Right. We hold our responsibility for wor1d peace no matter
whether the United States recognizes us or not and no matter
whether we are admitted by the United Nations or not. We shall not
act in a lawless way like the Monkey King, who created havoc in the
heavens, because we are not in the United Nations. We want to
maintain world peace with no world war. We hold that problems
between countries should not be settled by means of war. Anyway,
the maintenance of world peace is not only China's responsibility,
but also the United States'. Resolution of the Taiwan question is
China's internal affair, which we always stick to. We shall not
attack, even though it is so. Will we attack when the Americans are
there? No, we won't. Will we attack for certain after the Americans
leave? Not necessarily. We want to solve the Taiwan question by
peacefu1 means. Many places in China were resolved by peaceful
means. Beijing was liberated peacefully, so were Hunan, Yunnan and
Xinjiang. There is hearsay outside China that the Chinese Communist
Party, among the communist parties in various countries, is
especially naughty, disobedient, unreasonable and reckless. You
have been in China for a few months and those words cannot fully be
trusted. You said that some outsiders say China is like a big
barracks and a big prison. Indeed, it was so in Chiang Kai-shek's
China. Then Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai were indeed barracks.
Since liberation China, through reform and education, has become
quite different from what it was.
Snow: I can surely say that my impression is that there are big