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December 1959

Mao Zedong, Outline for a Speech on the International Situation

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation

[Mao Zedong]

An Outline for a Speech on the International Situation

December 1959



The scope of the discussion is to be expressed by myself. What is the enemy’s tactics?


(1) [Waving] the flag of peace, building lots of missiles, establishing lots of [military] bases, preparing to use war to eliminate socialism. This is the first.


(2) [Waving] the flag of peace, [through] cultural intercourse and personnel exchange, prepare to use corrosion [fushi] to eliminate socialism. This is the second.


Self-preservation and elimination of enemies is the fundamental concept [we should follow].


[The enemy’s strategy]: Sometimes conciliating, sometimes strained; Conciliating here, straining there; Conciliating in Europe, tense in Asia; Striving the opportunists, isolating the Marxism- Leninists.


Has revisionism already been systemized and will it determinedly continue? Maybe it’s that way, but maybe it can still be changed.


Maybe it is long term (for example, more than 10 years)


Maybe it is short term, for example, 1-4 years.


The basic interests of China and the Soviet Union have determined that after all these two great powers should unite. Where they don’t unite, it is only a temporary phenomenon, only one finger in ten.


One finger’s worth of historical events.


In 1945, they did not permit [us to make] revolution, but afterwards they consented. From 1949 until 1951, they doubted that [ours was] a real revolution and begin by being unwilling to conclude a mutual-aid alliance treaty, but changed their mind.  In the last ten years, they have helped us build many factories.


In 1953, Gao [Gang], Rao [Shushi], Peng [Dehuai] and Huang [Kecheng] started a subversive movement with Moscow’s support.


In 1954, they liquidated the Luda [Port Arthur – Dalnii port complex] military base and four joint companies.


In 1956, they had the anti-Stalin affair and the doctrine of peaceful transition appeared. We have two articles on this.


In 1957, the Chinese Anti-Right Rectification [campaign] brought out internal contradictions in the people; The Moscow Declaration issued in the fall [caused] us to criticize the [Soviet] friends.


In 1958, China formulated the general line for the period of socialist construction, started the Great Leap and the People’s Communes. [During] the Sino-Soviet talks in Beijing in August, [discussion of] the joint fleet and 70% investment to build a radio station [took place], but we resisted these attacks. The Jinmen Shelling Incident really frightened our friends.


In 1959, [there occurred] the Tibetan affair, the Sino-Indian border affair, the November exchange of documents between the two parties. At the October Beijing talks [with Khrushchev], [we] resisted the friends’ fallacies.


In the same year, the remainder of the Gao-Rao group carried out a subversive movement with the friends’ support.


Also in 1959, since March, our friends have been organizing a big anti-Chinese chorus together with the imperialists and reactionary nationalists, and the Tito revisionists.


In the long term, China will, on the one hand, be isolated, but on the other, gain the support of many Communist parties, many countries, and many peoples.  In these difficult conditions, China will become a very strong country in 8 years.


In another 8 years, China will complete the first-phase construction of the industrial system, first-phase construction of cutting-edge industry, first-phase preparation of a technology contingent [personnel], will complete preparation of a theoretical (contingent); will greatly raise political consciousness in the party and among the people. (Either all three cannot be completed or they can be completed.)


Careful, careful;  [We should] respect facts and refer to rationality.


Study the Soviet Union's merits and support all the Soviet Union's correct positions. There are two good things about the reactionaries’ anti-Chinese [activities]: one is that they have revealed the reactionaries, reducing their prestige among the people; the second is that they have stimulated the consciousness of the majority of the peoples in the world, who can then see that reactionary imperialism, nationalism, and revisionism are enemies, swindlers, and contraband, whereas the Chinese flag is bright red.


The whole world is very bright.  The darker the clouds, the greater the light.


Marxism and Leninism will get the greatest development in China. There is no doubt of this.


Khrushchev and his group are very naïve. He does not understand Marxism- Leninism and is easily fooled by imperialism.


He does not understand China, to an extreme extent. He doesn’t research [China] and believes a whole bunch of incorrect information. He gives irresponsible talks. If he doesn’t correct [his mistakes], in a few years he’ll be completely bankrupt (after 8 years).


He panics over China. The panic has reached its extreme.


He has two main fears: imperialism and Chinese Communism.


He fears that Eastern European or other Communist parties will believe us and not them. His world view is pragmatism. This is an extreme kind of subjective idealism. He lacks a workable agenda and will follow gain wherever it goes.


The Soviet people are good as is the [Soviet] party. There is something not good about the style of the party and people, a somewhat metaphysical style, a kind of capitalist- liberalism inherited from history. Lenin died early and didn’t have time to reform it.


Liberalism and big-power chauvinism will turn to their opposite one day, and will turn out to be something good. Nothing in the world will not fail to turn to its opposite. Our country will also turn to its opposite, and then the opposite will turn to its opposite. It thus returns to the positive.


Continuous revolution.


In the competition for building communism, unbalanced development is a rule, which exists without yielding to people’s subjective will. The notion of “comparing the time of each other’s watch” is an anti-Marxist and anti- Leninist one. The introduction of the notion demonstrates how scared they [the Soviet leaders] are.



Draft of a speech by Mao Zedong, criticizing Khrushchev for his revisionism and for fearing Chinese Communism. Lists the occasions on which the Soviet Union has failed to support China, and extols the concept of continuous revolution.


Document Information


Zhonggong zhongyang wenxian yanjiushi, ed., Jianguo yilai Mao Zedong wengao (Mao Zedong’s Manuscripts since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China), vol. 8 (Beijing: Zhongyang wenxian chubanshe, 1993), 599-603. Translated by David Wolff.


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