Memorie.al publishes some archival documents extracted from the Central State Archive (fund of the former Central Committee of the ALP), where there is a record of the meeting of the senior party delegation of the ALP leadership headed by Hysni Kapo and Ramiz Alia, at the reception given in their honor by the Government of the People’s Republic of China, chaired by the Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Chu En Lai and Wu Xiuquan, Deputy Director of the Department for Relations with Outside the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.
The full minutes of that meeting held at the headquarters of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on June 11, 1962, which took place just a few months after the senior leadership of the ALP and official Tirana, had severed diplomatic relations with The Soviet Union led by Nikita Khrushchev, where the two members of the Politburo and the secretaries of the Central Committee of the ALP, Kapo and Alia, were sent by Enver Hoxha on a special mission to seek economic assistance from the People’s Republic of China, which consisted mainly of cereals, after a great crisis that communist Albania was going through at the time as a result of the great drought, as well as the Nitrogen Fertilizer Plant that was planned to be built in the city of Fier.
The numerous requests and prayers of Hysni Kapos and Ramiz Alia to the Chinese side for economic aid, saying that their country was on the verge of disaster and that the Albanian government had also affected the state reserves that were intended for the army in case of war and the response Chu En Lait, to meet the demands they had promised the Albanian government, arguing with the great problems that China itself had at the time, not only as a result of the great drought that had prevailed there that year , but also for the fact that they could not import the technology and machinery from Italy, for the Nitrogen of Fier, which they had promised to the Albanian government!
Minutes of the meeting of the Albanian delegation led by Hysni Kapo and Ramiz Alia, with the delegation of the People’s Republic of China, led by the Chinese Deputy Prime Minister, Chu En Lai, on June 11, 1962
(At the meeting our side was also represented by our Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, Comrade Reis Malile, who also took the notes shown below).
From the Chinese side were present: Comrade Chen Yi, Deputy Chairman of the State Council and Minister of Foreign Affairs; Comrade Chu En Lai, Deputy Chairman of the Council of State; Comrade Wu Xiuquan, Deputy Director of the Foreign Relations Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China; and Comrade Luo Shigao, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the People’s Republic of Albania.
Continued from the previous issue
Comrade Chu En Lai: In terms of trade volume for 1962, it will reach 52 million new rubles. Of this amount, it is certain that 36 million new rubles, or 67% of the deal, will be realized. The amount that will not be realized includes the following items:
We cannot supply you this year with grain that has not yet been delivered for the year – a total of 55,000 tons. The same goes for 900 tons of crude oil. We will not be able to provide you with these items. We wanted to consult with you about this.
As for the goods we have to offer you by buying them from other countries, they are not safe. Most of them we will not be able to give you, such as oils, for example. The same goes for the goods we will procure from capitalist countries; since we have no foreign currency, we will not be able to give it to them.
For some items that we do not produce ourselves and that are not very necessary, we wanted to consult with you about them. So for this year we will not be able to fulfill the agreement we have with you. There is very little hope that the amount will reach over 36 million new rubles.
When Comrade Abdyl Këllezi (Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers) was here, we discussed these objects. After discussing they further, and based on the productive capacity of our country and your conditions, we are of the opinion that by the end of 1964, with great suffering, only 10 objects could be implemented; the other 19 objects can be categorized as such:
For the Nitrogen Fertilizer Plant, Italy refuses to provide us with the necessary technical data, so that the facility could not be secured. The same goes for the Glass Factory. For the other 17 facilities, we think you should build them later than planned, in other words, you should extend them sometime in 1966 and 1967, and even later. We are not able to build them on time because we lack equipment. The same is happening with Vietnam and other countries to which we have promised assistance; we are obliged to extend the deadlines with all of them.
Of course, this can bring you some difficulties, but we have to take responsibility for that. On the other hand, we think that, judging by your workforce, you will not be able to meet all the required construction. This is our opinion, but your government does not accept it. You have announced these items in your five-year plan, but the plan can also be changed and there are many examples of this. Comrade Stalin has said that: an appropriate plan must be changed frequently. And now Nikita Khrushchev, like other socialist countries, is changing their plans.
In short, we are bringing you some difficulties in economic relations between our countries. This is a truth that worries us. We know that you have not come to China on this issue, but please pass this issue on to the Albanian Labor Party and the Albanian government. We will cooperate through the Albanian embassy with the group of Albanian specialists who have come here.
Comrade Hysni Kapo: You correctly assessed the position of our party and the care it should pay to its leadership. The Communist Party of China is very correct in defending Comrade Mao Zedong, who is not only yours, but also of the world communists, who see in him a prominent leader of the international communist movement. Comrade Mao Zedong is the son of your people and your party, but everything he has done for Marxism-Leninism belongs to us all.
Comrade ÇU En Lai: The same goes for your fight and your leaders, who are also ours.
Comrade Hysni Kapo: We understood well everything you told us. All those parties which are led by Marxism-Leninism in their struggle are the same in one way or another. To some extent, as far as our conditions have allowed, our party, during the war, has tried to attract to all masses of people.
(Further, Comrade Hysni Kapo describes our party’s policy towards the National Liberation Front, and then continued): During the National Liberation War we also entered into negotiations and talks with the leaders of reactionary organizations in order to withdraw the masses in the war effort. Of course, when necessary, we should also go to the enemy to talk. Proof of this is the flow of your party and its exact line. To some extent this is very similar to our country.
In 1946, the People’s Republic of Albania was recognized only by the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. The imperialists were also organizing plots in the UN and only the Soviet Union defended Albania there. A delegation of our country also went to the UN then to unmask American imperialism and its believers. This is similar to what you said we should go to our enemy’s lair and hit him there. We all know what imperialism is, although it must become necessary, we know we must also talk to our enemy.
We also have other examples that show our party’s policy in this area. Greece’s position towards the People’s Republic of Albania is well known. (Then Comrade Hysni Kapo explains our country’s relations with Greece and goes on): Despite the hostile attitude of the Greeks, the ALP and our government have consistently taken steps to improve our relations with Greece. (Comrade Hysni Kapo further explained Yugoslavia’s attitude towards our country and our efforts to achieve normal relations at the governmental level and for this, said Comrade Hysni Kapo, we are accustomed to the principle that we should also speak to the enemy as a starting point).
Our relations with the countries of the communist family are completely different from the relations we have with countries run by other social systems. Within our family, Leninist rules and principles must always be respected. These rules and principles have been rejected by Nikita Khrushchev. It is a fact that our party was publicly attacked as a traitor, as an anti-Marxist, etc.
Comrade Chu En Lai: The Second International also accused Lenin of being a traitor, an agent of imperialism, and so on. In our opinion, talks between the international communist movements, as well as between socialist countries, are necessary. Nikita Khrushchev made a big mistake in not inviting Albania to the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The attacks he launched against you at that congress unmask him.
At the Warsaw Pact (Political Consultative Committee) meeting held in February 1960, Nikita Khrushchev called Comrade Mao Zedong a “discarded shoe” (an old boot). This made us very happy, because with this Nikita Khrushchev showed that he is a revisionist. He has slandered us for a long time now, but nevertheless we went to the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the USSR. The speech I read at the congress, by order of the Central Committee of our Party, was gentle but effective in the world. Our participation in the congress did not add weight to Khrushchev, but to that of the ALP. The participation of other sister parties that stand on the right ground did not add to Khrushchev’s weight. Marxism-Leninism allows us to follow the aforementioned tactics even in the midst of the international communist movement, to take part in the unmasking of enemies. We would be isolated without our participation in meetings.
Comrade Hysni Kapo: I thank Comrade Chu En Lai for the speech he read at the 22nd Congress of the PKBS in defense of the ALP and Marxism-Leninism.
Comrade Chu En Lai: The thanks you express are not necessary. The speech I read was necessary and was held in the interest of preserving Marxism-Leninism.
Comrade Hysni Kapo: When we talk about the Soviet-Albanian disputes, the issue is not only in the disputes themselves, but it is a matter of Marxism-Leninism. We were hit at the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the USSR, but the arrows were meant for somewhere else. (Here Comrade Hysni Kapo explained how these blows were also directed against the Communist Party of China)
Comrade Ramiz Alia: The handle of the hammer falls on Albania, but the head hits China.
Comrade Chu En Lai: Yes, it is. The main blow is directed against China. Here we have a proverb that says: Let us strike the oak that the mountain may hear.
Comrade Hysni Kapo: If Khrushchev had invited us to the 22nd Congress, we would have attended. The attack he launched against us at this convention has neither frightened us nor made us weaker. In Albania there is a unity that has never been seen before, neither in the party, nor in the people. His attacks have strengthened us even more. In this a role is played by the exact line of our party and an external factor, the struggle of the sister parties in defense of Marxism-Leninism and, above all, the struggle of the USSR, its assistance and international solidarity.
Comrade Chu En Lai: The main help is the internal factor.
Comrade Hysni Kapo: (Explains the issue of unity within our party, then goes on to say that):… We agree with what you (Comrade Chu En Lai) said that Lenin, despite the division between the parties in the Second International, went on to attend his meeting. (Further, Comrade Hysni Kapo noted the situation at the Bucharest Meeting, the Romanian Workers’ Conference 20-25 June 1960).
Comrade Chu En Lai: Your support for our party at the ‘Bucharest Summit’ was essential.
Comrade Hysni Kapo: Both you and we knew in advance what Nikita Khrushchev would bring to this meeting and despite our participation. In addition, we also attended the Moscow Summit (November 1960) despite the difficult situation that had arisen there. We attended there not because we thought Khrushchev could change his thoughts and attitude, but because it was necessary for us to discuss our family problems. We should not have given the upper hand to the enemy, taking the first step in that direction. And Nikita Khrushchev violated the norms of relations between the parties and the Moscow Declaration; he organized the open attack on the ALP at the 22nd Congress of the PKBS.
(Comrade Hysni Kapo further describes the unequal situation in which our party is placed after the 22nd Congress of the PKBS and the situation it would have faced if it had gone to the meeting; later he explained the reasons why the position of the ALP is correct and noted that the Communist Party of China stands on other conditions.He then said that for the whole main issue both our sides stand on similar grounds and our views differ only on the issue of the meeting. But Comrade Hysni Kapo continued: we will convey your thoughts to the Central Committee of our Party. We have been guided by the spirit of friendship and sincerity that binds us whenever we have expressed an opinion here.)
You, Comrade Chu En Lai, spoke here about your economic situation. We are two bodies with one heart; every difficulty of yours is felt by us as well. We understood from the explanations given to you that you placed your heart in our hand and kept no secret from us. We understand very well the measures you have taken. We are not authorized by the Central Committee of our Party to talk to you about economic problems; the leadership of our party has entrusted us to discuss only the issue of the Nitrogen Fertilizer Plant and only to see where we stand in the deadlines for the facilities.
As for the issues you have raised, we cannot express any opinion, but we think that the changes you propose will bring extremely great economic and political difficulties, such as, for example, the failure to fulfill the supply agreement of bread. We would never want you to have less bread than we do, but given the conditions in which we find ourselves, we would ask that this issue, as well as others, be looked at once again.
(Further, Comrade Hysni Kapo talks in more detail to Comrade Chu En Lai about the necessary need for the procurement of cereals and shows the real basis why we asked for them. He also pointed out the need for the distribution of oils, pipes, etc. Comrade Hysni Kapo then told Comrade Chu En Lai, that we understand the purpose of your point that we should walk on our own two feet, but due to the economic conditions of our country, we are not able to achieve this at the moment, but we have mobilize all working measures for the full fulfillment of all tasks of the third five-year plan.)
Comrade Chu En Lai: (He spoke once again and said that we should use our reserves.)
Comrade Hysni Kapo: (He pointed out that we have very few reserves; that they are enough only for a time of war; and that in fact even from those we have already received for the first three months of the year, in the hope that we can ‘replace them with the help form from China).
Reducing the number of objects from 29 to 10 that you want to do is very worrying for us. You express the opinion that our plan may be overloaded. You have also expressed this opinion to Comrade Spiro Koleka (First Deputy Prime Minister]. We analyzed all these issues one by one in the Politburo and came to the conclusion that we have the power to build all the facilities we have included in the plan. Comrade Abdyl Kellezi was sent here precisely to conclude the agreements.
Signing agreements with you reassured us because the facilities we will take from you are the foundation of our third five-year plan for the industry and if we can give them, we have the power to build them. Failure to receive 19 items would be a very detrimental thing to us and that is why we ask you to review this issue. We will report to the Central Committee of our Party, for your view on this, but we can tell you in advance that we know the situation and the effect that such a measure would have on us would be very severe. As for the nitrogen fertilizer plant, it was known for a while that it would come from other countries. If the Italians will not provide it, let’s look somewhere to see if it can be found, because agriculture is also vital in our country and nitrogen fertilizers play an important role in agriculture.
(Further, Comrade Hysni Kapo gives general information on the agricultural situation in our country. If we do not provide nitrogen fertilizers, he said, we will always have to import our bread. Changing the plan will be a very difficult thing for us Comrade Hysni Kapo then pointed out our great needs in the field of strengthening our defense and gave some details about the armed forces of the countries surrounding Albania.He also noted that despite the economic weight that the armed forces place on the country, they are necessary for the security of our homeland).
Comrade Chu En Lai: I am aware of some of the things you pointed out, but there are also some new things. First, on the issue of defense, I had known the information from the conversations I had with your comrades from the military delegations. Whatever potential for military material assistance we have had, we have given it to you and we will continue to do a part in the future.
We are convinced that the heroic Albanian people, led by the party, will stand up to all the enemies who will dare to attack your country. The issue here can be compressed into two main problems for you: trash (illegible). We cannot fulfill the grain plan. For this year can you use a quantity of wheat from military reserves? Whenever we have released foreign currency, we will replace everything you use. The amount of cereal you would get this year, we will give you next year. We want to help you with chemical fertilizers, but we are not able to solve the technical side of nitrogen fertilizer production. The Italians refuse to give us the technology.
Comrade Li Xiannian: We are still trying to secure it from the Italians.
Comrade Chu En Lai: We will still try to achieve something with the Italians. We assure you that whenever we get patents, we will help you first and then consider our needs. But if they do not give it to us, we can do nothing. We will also ask Comrade Chen Yi (Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China) to talk about this issue with the Italian firm ‘MOTAI’ when he goes to Geneva (for the conference on Laos). Distant water cannot extinguish the fire that is near, says a wise proverb of our people. Even if we get the technology, it will take us 2, 3, or even more years, before we start producing nitrogen fertilizers.
Comrade Hysni Kapo: (Notes that in no way can the small reserve of grain intended for the army be affected and gives an explanation of our country’s great need for the Nitrogen Fertilizer Plant. Then adds that the construction of the gasification shop may be postponed, but that other stores should start building now).
Comrade Chu En Lai: We have no experience with this. This can only be done after receiving the documentation from the Italians.
Comrade Hysni Kapo: Let us at least start the construction of the power plant that will supply energy to the nitrogen fertilizer plant, as we know the capacity it should have.
Comrade Chu En Lai: This also cannot be done. (Then he insists again that the nitrogen fertilizer plant needs several years to build) and you have an urgent need for chemical fertilizers. So I will talk to friends in government so that we can give you some next year and then do it again and again until the plant is built. 10,000 tons of chemical fertilizers distributed in the fields will add 30,000 tons of wheat. These are the proportions we will use to supply you to meet your needs.
Comrade Hysni Kapo: (Requests once again that all the issues brought by Comrade Chu En Lai be reviewed once again.)
Comrade Chu En Lai: The thoughts I have brought to you are real. I think we should share all the blessings and misfortunes with each other. We will supply you with chemical fertilizers next year; we will also give you the grain at that time. Next year we can give you up to 15,000 tons of chemical fertilizers. Now there is no other way we can act; we will have to push them. What I have presented here is reality and please conveys them to the Central Committee of your party and your government. The most necessary for you are fertilizers and cereals; industrial facilities can be postponed. The most important thing is agriculture. I say this once again because I know this issue is of concern to you.
Comrade Hysni Kapo: (I note the great concern that such a thing causes us).
Comrade Chu En Lai: I was in the northeast of China trying to solve the bread problem. Many industrial and very important centers there we have closed and workers have all been sent to work in the fields.
Comrade Li Xiannian: We are responsible for everything we told you today, especially me who gave you promises. These last few days I looked at the list of objects. We see that once they are all built, you will have a great need for a large workforce for them. By withdrawing all these forces from the village, your agriculture will become weaker.
Comrade Hysni Kapo: (Explains that we already have these forces and that the problem has been well studied from all sides). If the problem we face is that we cannot build the facilities due to technical deficiencies, this is another thing, but in terms of the necessary manpower for the construction and then for the operation of these facilities, we can procure it him.
Comrade Chu En Lai: The main thing is the technical shortcomings; we just are not able to provide it. We are your good friends, but we are also poor; we accepted your requests only after much discussion.
Comrade Hysni Kapo: For us it is better to have a weak friend who is good, as we have in the Communist Party and the Chinese people, than to have a rich friend, but one who wants to put a knife in your back. Memorie.al