A Cardboard Castle? An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 74: Transcript of Romanian Politburo Meeting
on Ceaușescu's Trip to Asia and Moscow, June 25, 1971

In this set of minutes, the Romanian Politburo discusses Ceaușescu's recent trip to China and Moscow. At the time, the Chinese factor was becoming increasingly impor- tant for the Warsaw Pact, as well as divisive since it did not have the same immediate significance for Eastern Europe as it did for the USSR. Not surprisingly, Romania dif- fered from Moscow more than the other partners did. During his meetings with the Chinese, Ceaușescu explained the Romanian position on the Warsaw Pact, specifically Romanian opposition to the transformation of the alliance into a supranational entity. He also told the Chinese that they were not without blame for what the Pact had become since they had participated in its establishment, if only as observers. On his way back from China, Ceaușescu stopped in Moscow, where top Soviet leaders reprimanded him for various transgressions, including allegedly making anti-Soviet statements.

Comrade Nicolae Ceaușescu: "…" The way we were welcomed in Beijing was especially good. "…" During the visit we met Mao Zedong and Lin Biao33; Kang Sheng34 was also there.

"…" From among the activists, practically all participated, beginning with Zhou Enlai, the chief of the General Staff, Li Xiannian, who leads the government's activity, the secretary in charge of propaganda, Mao Zedong's son-in-law, Yan Yuan.35 "…"

At the third meeting, it was Zhou Enlai who spoke; as to the duration, he spoke about as much as we did. They also told us about the difficulties they had had to overcome, about the fact that there had been a fight between two lines, about the fact that a dangerous frame of mind had been created, that there were a lot of the old landlords, feudals who also held executive positions, that an attitude of kowtowing to foreign countries and a certain bourgeois mentality had appeared, and that the whole activity consisted in uprooting this mentality, in arranging things in such a manner that people would be able to understand the revolutionary principles and become educated by work.

Of course, within the framework of this activity two lines appeared: some cadres— headed by Liu Shaoqi36—wanted this state of affairs to be preserved; then they told

33 Lin Biao, a prominent military and political leader in China, had by 1970 emerged as Mao's second-in-command and designated successor. Just three months after this meeting, he died in a plane crash in Mongolia under mysterious circumstances, and was later officially accused of having plotted to assassinate Mao. A more probable explanation is that he was trying to save himself from Mao's plot against him.

34 Kang Sheng was an alternate member of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party.

35 Probably Yao Wenyuan, member of the politburo in charge of the Propaganda Department, reputed to be Mao's son, later disgraced as one of the "Gang of Four."

36 China's head of state, deposed in 1966, mistreated during the Cultural Revolution and left to die in 1969.

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