Mao Zedong

Interviews With Mao Tse-tung

by Edgar Snow

Date: July to September 1936.
Source: China: The March Toward Unity, pp. 33-50
Published: Workers Library Publishers, 1937 [Original: China Weekly Review, November 14 and 21, 1936.]
Online Version: Mao Zedong Internet Archive
Transciption/HTML Markup/Proofreading: The Rust Belt School, August 2014
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2014). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

book coverIN THE beginning of July, 1936, I entered Soviet territory in Northern Shensi to seek interviews with leading Chinese Communists and to observe for myself the kind of regime furnished by the Soviet government and the Red Army. Red areas now embrace most of Northern Shensi Shenpei), virtually all of Kansu north of the Sian-Lan- chow highway (Kanpei), including the rich Yellow River valley, and the greater part of Ninghsia south of the Great Wall and east of the Yellow River (Ningnan). There are also small detachments of Red partisans in South Shensi, South Kansu, the extreme Northwest corner of Shansi, Southern Suiyuan along the Great Wall, and in Chinghai West of Lanchow.

The present Soviet regions are the biggest single territory ever occupied by the Red Army. For the first time in Red history the high commanders of the various armies are consolidated in a unified region—Chu Teh, Peng Teh-huai, Hsiao Keh, Lo P'ing-hui, Chang Kuo-tao, Hsu Hsiang ch'ien, Hsu Hai-tung, Ho Lung, Lin P'iao, Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai all being concentrated in the Northwest.

I remained in Red China for four months. During that time I traveled the main Red roads in Shensi, Kansu, and Ninghsia, and spent a month with the Red Army at the front. In Pao-an, provisional capital, I interviewed most of the leading Soviet functionaries. My interviews with Mao Tse-tung, chairman of the Chinese Central Soviet Government, and a Red commander, took place always at night. They often lasted till one or two in the morning, Mao retiring very late and frequently doing his heaviest work after midnight—a habit which may be traced to his early career as a newspaperman. Our talks were too long and covered too wide a field to be reproduced here in full, but the following selections, in question and answer form, seem of special interest in relation to current developments.

Chairman Mao knows a little English, which he studied at Changsha Normal College (of which he is a graduate), but for these interviews a returned student, Wu Liang-ping, a young Soviet functionary in Pao-an, acted as interpreter. My interviews were written in full in English, and then re-translated into Chinese and corrected by Mao, who is noted for his insistence upon accuracy of detail. It is interesting to remark that Wu Liang-p'ing is the son of a rich landlord in F'enghua, Chiang Kai-shek's native district in Chekiang, and that he fled from Fenghua some years ago when his father, apparently an ambitious burgher, wanted to betroth him to a relative of the Generalissimo.

On Japanese Imperialism

Pao-an, July 16, 1936

My QUESTION: If Japan is defeated and driven from China, do you think the major problem of foreign imperialism will in general have been solved here?

MAO TSE-TUNG'S ANSWER: Yes. If other imperialist countries do not act as Japan and if China defeats Japan it will mean that the Chinese masses have awakened, have mobilized, and have established their independence. Therefore the main problem of imperialism will have been solved.

QUESTION: The Chinese Soviet government has issued many appeals and proclamations calling for a united front of the parties, armies, etc., to fight to the death against Japanese imperialism and to drive Japan's armies from China. Does it believe that China is now capable of defeating Japan alone—i.e., without the help of any foreign power?

ANSWER: Let me first remind you that neither China nor Japan is an isolated country; the problem of peace or war in the Orient is a world problem. Japan has her potential allies—Germany and Italy, for example—and to oppose Japan successfully China also must seek assistance from other powers. This does not mean, however, that China is incapable of fighting Japan without foreign help. It does not mean that we must wait for foreign alliances before we begin to resist Japan.

China is a vast reservoir of unutilized power which in a period of great struggle can be channelized through organization into mighty lines of resistance. In the long period of internal conflict begun by the counter-revolutionaries in 1927 the Chinese people has already learned much about this power and has found a good means of directing it, through the struggle of the Communist Party. In their long political experience the Chinese masses have mastered the use of very effective weapons to oppose their enemies.

Now, especially since September 18, 1931, the traitors' demagogy has been bankrupted and few people today are deceived by it. The masses increasingly recognize those who lead in their real interest. Even some of the Kuomintang members have participated, or want to participate, in the anti-Japanese movement.

We are confident that the Chinese people will not submit to Japanese imperialism. We are confident that they will mobilize their great reserves of power to resist Japan on the held of battle, and with their utmost vigor meet the challenge of the invader. In this struggle ultimate victory will certainly be China's. If she fights alone the sacrifice will be comparatively great and the duration of the war will be comparatively long, for Japan is a strong, well-equipped power and will have, besides, her own allies. In order to achieve victory over Japanese imperialism within the shortest time possible, and with the smallest waste, China must first of all realize a united front within her own borders, and, second, must seek to extend it to all those powers whose interests are the interests of peace in the Pacific.

QUESTION: Under what conditions can the Chinese people defeat and exhaust the forces of Japan?

ANSWER: Three conditions will guarantee our success: first, the achievement of the national united front against Japanese imperialism in China; second, the formation of a world anti-Japanese united front; third, revolutionary action by the oppressed peoples at present suffering under Japanese imperialism. Of these, the central necessity is the union of the Chinese people themselves.

QUESTION: How long do you think such a war would last?

ANSWER: That depends on the strength of the Chinese People's Front, many conditioning factors in China and Japan, and the degree of international help given to China, as well as the rate of revolutionary development in Japan. If the Chinese People's Front is powerfully homogeneous, if it is effectively organized horizontally and vertically, if the international aid to China is considerable from those governments which recognize the menace of Japanese imperialism to their own interests, if revolution comes quickly in Japan, the war will be short and victory speedily won. If these conditions are not realized, however, the war will be very long, but in the end just the same Japan will be defeated, only the sacrifices will be extensive and it will he a painful period for the whole world. The Chinese Communist Party, the Soviet government, the Red Army, and the Chinese people are ready to unite with any power to shorten the duration of this war, but if none joins us we are determined to carry on alone. [The Communists are "officially" at war with Japan, the Soviet government having declared such war in an official proclamation in Kiangsi, early in 1932—E.S.]

QUESTION: What is your opinion of the probable course of development of such a war, politically and militarily?

ANSWER: Two questions are involved here—the policy of the foreign powers, and the strategy of China's armies.

Now, the Japanese continental policy is already fixed and it is well known. Those who imagine that by further sacrifices of Chinese sovereignty, by making economic, political or territorial compromises and concessions, they can halt the advance of Japan, are only indulging in Utopian strategy. Nanking has in the past adopted erroneous policies based or, this strategy, and we have only to look at the map of East Asia to see the results of it.

But we know well enough that not only North China but the lower Yangtze Valley and our southern seaports are already included in the Japanese continental program. Moreover, it is just as clear that the Japanese navy aspires to blockade the China seas and to seize the Philippines, Siam, Indo-China, Malaya and the Dutch East Indies. In the event of war Japan will try to make them her strategic bases, cutting off Great Britain, France and America from China, and monopolizing the seas of the southern Pacific. These moves are included in Japan's plans of naval strategy, copies of which we have seen. And such naval strategy will be coordinated with the land strategy of Japan.

China will of course be in an extremely difficult position at such a time. But the majority of the Chinese people believes it can overcome these difficulties. Only the rich me,' in China's seaports are defeatist. They are afraid they 1l lose their property.

So as China considers questions of economy, of sources of supplies of war materials, etc., these questions of the Japanese naval blockade, of the cessation of commerce, etc., must inevitably come up for answer by the foreign powers. If Japan is to be allowed to isolate China as easily as she did Manchuria, if the powers are to do nothing more than they did there, then naturally Japan's task will tend to be minimized.

Ideally, of course, our military strategy should be the strategy of the "inner front". That is, if the foreign nations, if Great Britain, America, France and the U.S.S.R. resist the Japanese blockade, they will arrange themselves in the strategy of the "outer front". China would then fight in the milieu of Japanese imperialism while the other countries opposed Japan on the periphery. In such a situation the possible encirclement and crushing of Japan's imperial war machine in a brief period would be manifest.

Many people think it would be impossible for China to continue her fight against Japan, once the latter had seized certain strategic points on the coast, and enforced a blockade. This is nonsense. To refute it we have only to refer to the history of the Red Army. In certain periods our forces have been exceeded numerically some ten or twenty times by the Kuomintang troops, which were also superior to us in equipment. Their economic resources many times surpassed ours, and they received material assistance from the outside. Why, then, has the Red Army scored success after success against the White troops and not only survived but increased its power till today?

The explanation is that the Red Army and the Soviet government had created among all people within their areas a rock-like solidarity, because everyone in the Soviet was ready to fight for their government against its oppressors, because every person was voluntarily and consciously fighting for his own interests and what he believed to be right. Second, in the struggle of the Soviets the people were led by men of ability, strength and determination, equipped with deep understanding of the strategic political, economic and military needs of their position. The Red Army won its many victories—beginning with only a few dozen rifles in the hands of determined revolutionaries—because its solid base in the people attracted friends even among the White troops, among the civilian populace as well as among the troops. The enemy was infinitely our superior militarily, but politically it was immobilized.

In the anti-Japanese war the Chinese people would have on their side greater advantages than those the Red Army has utilized in its struggle with the Kuomintang. China is a very big nation, and it cannot be said to be conquered until every inch of it is under the sword of the invader. If Japan should succeed in occupying even a large section of China, getting possession of an area with as many as 100,000,000 or even 200,000,000 population, we will still be far from defeated. We shall still have left a great force to fight against Japan's warlords, who will also have to fight a heavy and constant rear-guard action throughout the entire war.

As for munitions, the Japanese cannot seize our arsenals in the interior, which are sufficient to equip Chinese armies for many years, nor can they prevent us from capturing great amounts of arms and ammunition from their own hands. By the latter method the Red Army has equipped its present forces from the Kuomintang; for nine years they have been our "ammunition-carriers". What infinitely greater possibilities would open up for the utilization of such tactics as won our arms for us if the whole Chinese people were united against Japan!

Economically, of course, China is not unified. But the uneven development of China's economy also presents advantages in a war against the highly centralized and highly concentrated economy of Japan. For example, to sever Shanghai from the rest of China is not as disastrous to the country as would be, for instance, the severance of New York from the rest of America. Moreover, it is impossible for Japan to isolate all of China: China's northwest, southwest and west cannot be blockaded by Japan, which continentally is still a sea power.

Thus, once more the central point of the problem becomes the mobilization and unification of the entire Chinese people and the building up of a people's united front, such as has been advocated by the Communist Party ever since 1932.

QUESTION: In the event of a Sino-Japanese war do you think there will be a revolution in Japan?

ANSWER: The Japanese revolution is not only a possibility but a certainty. It is inevitable and will begin to occur promptly after the first severe defeats suffered by the Japanese Army.

QUESTION: Do you think Soviet Russia and Outer Mongolia would become involved in this war, and come to the assistance of China? Under what circumstances is that likely?

ANSWER: Of course the Soviet Union is also not an isolated country. It cannot ignore events in the Far East. It cannot remain passive. Will it complacently watch Japan conquer all China and make of it a strategic base from which to attack the U.S.S.R.? Or will it help the Chinese people to oppose their Japanese oppressors, win their independence, and establish friendly relations with the Russian people? We think Russia will choose the latter course.

We believe that once the Chinese people have their own government and begin their war of resistance and want to establish friendly alliances with the U.S.S.R., as well as other friendly powers, the Soviet Union will be in the vanguard to shake hands with us. The struggle against Japanese imperialism is a world task and the Soviet Union, as part of that world, can no more remain neutral that can England Or America.

QUESTION: Is it the immediate task of the Chinese people to regain all the territories lost to Japan, or only to drive Japan from North China, and all Chinese territory above the Great Wall?

ANSWER: it is the immediate task of China to regain all our lost territories, not merely to defend our sovereignty below the Great Wall. This means that Manchuria must be regained. We do not, however, include Korea, formerly a Chinese colony, but when we have re-established the independence of the lost territories of China, and if the Koreans wish to break away from the chains of Japanese imperialism, we will extend them our enthusiastic help in their struggle for independence. The same things applies to Formosa. As for Inner Mongolia, which is populated by both Chinese and Mongolians, we will struggle to drive Japan from there and help Inner Mongolia to establish an autonomous state.

[In answer to a later question, in another interview, Mao Tse-tung made the following statement concerning Outer Mongolia:

"The relationship between Outer Mongolia and the Soviet Union, now and in the past, has always been based on the principle of complete equality. When the people's revolution has been victorious in China the Outer Mongolia republic will automatically become a part of the Chinese federation, at its own will. The Mohammedan and Tibetan peoples, likewise, will form autonomous republics attached to the China federation."]

QUESTION: In case the Sino-Japanese war extends over a very long period and Japan is not completely defeated, would the Communist government agree to make a peace recognizing Japanese control over Manchuria?

ANSWER: Impossible! The Chinese Communists, like the Chinese people, will not permit Japan to retain one inch of Chinese territory!

QUESTION: In actual practice, how could the Communist government and the Red Army cooperate with the Kuomintang armies in a war against Japan? In a foreign war it would be necessary for all Chinese armies to be placed under a centralized command. Would the Red Army agree, if allowed representation on a supreme war council, to submit to its decisions both militarily and politically?

ANSWER: Yes. Our government will wholeheartedly submit to the decisions of such a council provided it really resists Japan.

QUESTION: Would the Red Army agree not to move its troops into or against any areas occupied by Kuomintang armies, except with the consent or at the order of the supreme war council?

ANSWER: Yes. Certainly we will not move our troops into any areas occupied by anti-Japanese armies—nor have we done so for some time past. The Red Army would not utilize any wartime situation in an opportunist way.

QUESTION: What demands would the Communist Party make in return for such cooperation?

ANSWER: It would insist upon waging war, decisively and finally, against Japanese aggression. In addition it would request the observance of the points advanced in the calls for a democratic republic and the establishment of a national defense government [discussed in several recent proclamations issued by the Soviet government and the Red Army to the Kuomintang—E.S.].

QUESTION: How large a base does the Red Army need, and how much support from the outside, to engage in an anti-Japanese war?

ANSWER: The Red Army can fight from a small base or a large base, but the greater it is, naturally, the greater and stronger will be the force it can mobilize for fighting the Japanese.

If we have three or four provinces we can summon to war a greater and more effective anti-Japanese force than Nanking's entire army. As for help, we need much, the more the better, but still we can get along very well without any outside assistance. We have already been fighting without anybody's help in a ten-year revolutionary struggle.

QUESTION: How can the people best be armed, organized and trained to participate in such a war?

ANSWER: The people must be given the right to organize and to arm themselves. Despite severe repression in Peiping, in Shanghai and other places, the students have begun to organize themselves and have already prepared themselves politically. But still the students and the revolutionary anti-Japanese masses have not yet got their freedom, cannot be mobilized, cannot be trained and armed. When the contrary is true, when the masses are given economic, social and political freedom, their strength will be intensified hundreds of times, and the true strength of the nation will be revealed.

The Red Army, through its own struggle, has won its freedom from the militarists to become an unconquerable power. The Anti-Japanese Volunteers have won their freedom of action from the Japanese oppressors and have armed themselves in a similar way. If the Chinese people are trained, armed and organized they can likewise become an invincible force.

QUESTION: What, in your opinion, should be the main strategy to be followed in this "war of liberation"?

ANSWER: The strategy should be that of a war maneuver, over an extended, shifting and indefinite front: a strategy depending for success on a high degree of mobility in difficult terrain, and featured by swift attack and withdrawal, swift concentration and dispersal. It will be a large-scale war of maneuver rather than a simple positional war characterized by extensive trenchwork, deep-massed lines and heavy fortifications. Our strategy and tactics must be conditioned by the theater in which the war will take place, and this dictates a war of maneuver.

This does not mean the abandonment of vital strategic points, which can be defended in positional warfare as long as profitable. But the pivotal strategy must he a war of maneuver and important reliance must be placed on guerilla and partisan tactics. Fortified warfare must be utilized, but it will be of auxiliary and ultimately of secondary strategic importance.

Geographically the theater of the war is so vast that it is possible for us to pursue mobile warfare with the utmost efficiency and with a telling effect on a slow-moving war machine like Japan's, cautiously feeling its way in front of fierce rear-guard actions. Deep-line concentration and the exhausting defense of a vital position or two on a narrow front would be to throw away all the tactical advantages Of our geography and economic organization, and to repeat the mistake of the Ethiopians. Our strategy and tactics must aim to avoid great decisive battles in the early stages of the war, and gradually to break the morale, the fighting spirit and the military efficiency 0f the living forces of the enemy.

The mistake of the Ethiopians, quite aside from the internal political weaknesses of their position, was that they attempted to hold a deep front, enabling the fascists to bombard, gas and strike with their technically stronger military machines at heavy immobile concentrations, exposing themselves to vital organic injury.

Besides the regular Chinese troops we should create, direct, and politically and militarily equip great numbers of partisan and guerilla detachments among the peasantry. What has been accomplished by the Anti-Japanese Volunteer units of this type in Manchuria is only a very minor demonstration of the latent power of resistance that can be mobilized from the peasantry of all China. Properly led and organized, such units can keep the Japanese busy twenty- four hours a day and worry them to death.

It must be remembered that the war will be fought in China. This means that the Japanese will be entirely surrounded by a hostile Chinese people. The Japanese will be forced to move in all their provisions and guard them, maintaining troops along all lines of communications, and heavily garrisoning bases in Manchuria and Japan as well.

The process of the war will present to China the possibility of capturing many Japanese prisoners, arms, ammunition, war machines, etc. A point will be reached where it will become more and more possible to engage Japan's armies on a basis of positional warfare, using fortifications, deep entrenchment, etc., for as the war progresses the technical equipment of the anti-Japanese forces will greatly improve, and will be reinforced by important foreign help. Japan's economy will crack under the strain of a long expensive occupation of China and the morale of her forces will break under the trial of a war of innumerable but indecisive battles. The great reservoirs of human material in the Chinese people will still be pouring men ready to fight for their freedom into our front lines long after the tidal flood of Japanese imperialism has wrecked itself on the hidden reefs of Chinese resistance.

All these and other factors will condition the war and will enable us to make the final and decisive attacks on Japan's fortifications and strategic bases and to drive Japan's army of occupation from China.

Japanese officers and soldiers captured and disarmed by us will be welcomed and will be well-treated. They will not be killed. They will be treated in a brotherly way. Every method will be adopted to make the Japanese proletarian soldiers, with whom we have no quarrel, stand up and oppose their own fascist oppressors. Our slogan will be, "Unite and oppose the common oppressors, the fascist leaders". Anti-fascist Japanese troops are our friends, and there is no conflict in our aims.

On the United Front

Pao-an, September 23, 1936

QUESTION: Will you please explain the united front policy of the Communist Party and its change in attitude toward the Kuomintang governments?

ANSWER: Three main factors have influenced the decision leading to the policy announced in our recent manifesto issued August 25, at Pao-an, and addressed to the Kuomintang.—E.S.]

First of all the seriousness of Japanese aggression; it is becoming more intensified every day, and is so formidable a menace that before it all the forces of China must unite. Besides the Communist Party we recognize the existence of other parties and forces in China, of course, and the strongest of these is the Kuomintang. Without cooperation our strength at present is insufficient to resist Japan in war. Nanking must participate. The Kuomintang and the Communist Party are the two main political forces in China, and if they continue to fight now in civil war the effect will be unfavorable for the anti-Japanese movement.

Second, since last August (1935), the Communist Party has been urging, by manifesto, a union of all parties in China for the purpose of resisting Japan, and to this program the populace has responded with sympathy. Today the Chinese people, as well as many patriotic officials, are eager to see the reunion of the two parties for the purpose of national salvation. They are eager to see an end to the civil war. Without it, the movement for resisting Japan is faced with great obstacles.

The third point is that many patriotic elements even in the Kuomintang now favor a reunion with the Communist Party. Certain anti-Japanese elements, even in the Nanking government and Nanking's own armies, are today ready to unite because of the peril to our national existence.

These are the main characteristics of the present situation in China, and because of them we are obliged to reconsider, in detail, the concrete formula under which such cooperation in the national liberation movement can become possible. Such a formula has, in fact, been proposed in our recent negotiations with the Kuomintang. The fundamental point of unity which we insist upon is the national liberation anti- Japanese principle. In order to realize it we believe there must be established a National Defense Democratic Government, within a national defense democratic republic. Its main tasks must be (1) to resist the foreign invader; (2) to grant popular rights to the masses of the people, and (3) to intensify the development of the country's economy.

Such a program fulfils the will of the people at present and will win their unanimous support, and this is why the Soviet government favors the establishment of such a united people's democratic government.

We will support a parliamentary form of representative government, an anti-Japanese salvation government, a government which protects and supports all popular patriotic groups. If such a republic is established the Chinese Soviets will become a part of it. We will realize in our areas the same measures for a democratic parliamentary form of government as are realized in the rest of China.

QUESTION: Does that mean the laws of such a government would also apply in Soviet districts?


QUESTION: Does it mean that the present laws of the Soviets, especially on the land question, will be nullified?

ANSWER: If and when the formation of a united front with Nanking is realized, that problem can easily be settled.

Of course we realize that Japan and pro-Japanese elements in China will violently oppose this program. Its principles are directly opposed to their own interests. But the Chinese people will welcome it and we believe will fight to realize it. Everyone who still has a conscience must feel that the alternative [i.e., if the united front is not achieved and civil war continues—E.S.], which is subjugation by Japanese imperialism, means extinction for the Chinese people.

Part of the Kuomintang, we know, is already opposed to accepting further humiliation at the hands of the Japanese. Among the people, among all classes, among army men, scientists, students, merchants, policemen, professional people, as well as among our own workers and peasants, there are already organized anti-Japanese patriotic groups, and with these groups we want whole-heartedly to shake hands and cooperate. We hope that such elements will form a united force to overcome the influence of the Japanophiles. We hope that such elements will help to restore and once more to realize Sun Yat-sen's basic principles in the Great Revolution, i.e., (1) alliance with the U.S.S.R. and those countries which treat China as an equal, (2) cooperation with the Chinese Communist Party, and (3) fundamental protection of the interests of the Chinese working classes. We hope such elements will help to realize the final will of Sun Yat-sen and oppose Japanese imperialism.

If such a movement develops in the Kuomintang we are prepared to cooperate with and support it, and to form a united front against imperialism such as existed in 1925-27. We are convinced that this is the only way left to save our nation. If such a program is realized we need not fear Japan. Japanese imperialism is incapable of defeating a really united, armed and organized Chinese people.

Meanwhile, however, Japan hopes to form an anti-Red front of her own. This in reality means a front of subjugation for the Chinese people. We want to form a national liberation front, and success for it will mean victory in the anti-Japanese struggle, and a victory, ultimately, for world peace. For only by such a victory can the Chinese people march hand in hand with all the free peoples of the earth.

QUESTION: What exactly do you mean by "representative" government? What, for example, would you insist upon as the minimum demand for suffrage?

ANSWER: Suffrage should be universal, without any qualifications of property, position, education or sex.

QUESTION: If such a program is accepted by Nanking, will the Red Army agree to change its name and submit to the higher command of Nanking?

ANSWER: We recognize (as mentioned in an earlier interview) that in an anti-Japanese war there must be a unified command of the national armies, but we also believe that the war council must be representative. It should be emphasized that this is only possible on the basis of the anti-Japanese liberation front. Some Kuomintang members also talk of "unification", but not to support the national liberation and anti-imperialist movement. In reality it is perfectly clear that without real anti-imperialist struggle there can be no unification of the country.

Whether or not the Red Army changes its name depends upon the conditions of the reunion.

QUESTION: Does the new policy mean recognition by the Communist Party that national liberation must be established before class revolution can be accomplished?

ANSWER: It is and has been all along a principle of the Communist Party that in this stage the anti-imperialist drive must be realized, so that our emphasis on the national struggle against Japan does not, fundamentally, represent any new thesis.

At the same time, as already pointed out, we believe the anti-Japanese movement can only be made effective if realized simultaneously with the liberation of the oppressed peasantry and the realization of Sun Yat-sen's third point, the protection of the interests of the workers and peasants.

QUESTION: Does the united front policy mean that the Communist Party is willing to give up, or postpone indefinitely, the practice of land confiscation from landlords and redistribution to poor and landless peasants?

ANSWER: This will also have to be decided upon with the development of the anti-Japanese movement. However, we are confident that the anti-Japanese program cannot be realized without relief to the peasantry. Agrarian revolution, as you know, is of bourgeois character. It is beneficial to the development of capitalism. We are not opposed to the development of capitalism now in China, but against imperialism. This principle meets the demands of all democratic elements in the country and we support it wholeheartedly.

QUESTION: Would not the realization of the united front on this basis in actual effect mean an immediate declaration of war on Japan?

ANSWER: Yes, quite possibly if the reunion were proclaimed today war might begin tomorrow.

[NOTE: In conversation with various Soviet functionaries I was assured that the Soviet government might agree to change the name of the Soviets, as well as that of the Red Army. On the latter's banners already the inscription has been altered from "Workers' and Peasants' Red Army" to "Chinese People's Anti-Japanese Vanguard Red Army". It has been suggested in informal "Red-White" talks that the Soviet districts might change their name to the "Experimental Area" or "Special Administrative Districts." Generally there seems to be a willingness among the Communists to make such changes in nomenclature as might facilitate an agreement, but not fundamentally affect the independent role of the Communist Party and the Red Army.

[The Communists evidently will not insist upon representation in the Cabinet of the proposed "democratic republic". They would be prepared to submit to its discipline. The point of universal suffrage would perhaps not be insisted upon. But a central demand would be the guarantee of civil liberties, of the rights of freedom of speech, press and assembly, and the release of political prisoners. The Communist Party, I was also assured by Chairman Mao, would be willing to agree not to organize mass movements opposed to the principles of the National Salvation United Front, and not to "promote" class struggle.

Peiping, November 5, 1936.

Works of Mao Zedong by Date  | MIA Library