Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung,
Foreign Languages Press
First Edition 1961
Second Printing 1967
Third Printing 1969
1. The forces of world reaction are definitely preparing a third world war, and the danger of war exists. But the democratic forces of the people of the world have surpassed the reactionary forces and are forging ahead; they must and certainly can overcome the danger of war. Therefore, the question in the relations between the United States, Britain and France and the Soviet Union is not a question of compromise or break, but a question of compromise earlier or compromise later. "Compromise" means reaching agreement through peaceful negotiation. "Earlier or later" means several years, or more than ten years, or even longer.
2. The kind of compromise mentioned above does not mean compromise on all international issues. That is impossible so long as the United States, Britain and France continue to be ruled by reactionaries. This kind of compromise means compromise on some issues, including certain important ones. But there will not be many such compromises in the near future. There is, however, a possibility that the trade relations of the United States, Britain and France with the Soviet Union will expand.
3. Such compromise between the United States, Britain and France and the Soviet Union can be the outcome only of resolute, effective struggles by all the democratic forces of the world against the reactionary forces of the United States, Britain and France. Such compromise does not require the people in the countries of the capitalist world to follow suit and make compromises at home. The people in those countries will continue to wage different struggles in accordance with their different conditions. The principle of the reactionary forces in dealing with the democratic forces of the people is definitely to destroy all they can and to prepare to destroy later whatever they
cannot destroy now. Face to face with this situation, the democratic forces of the people should likewise apply the same principle to the reactionary forces.
* This document was written to counter a pessimistic appraisal of the international situation at that time. In the spring of 1946, imperialism headed by the United States of America, together with the reactionaries in various countries, was daily intensifying its anti-Soviet, anti-Communist and anti-popular activities and trumpeting that "war between the United States and the Soviet Union is inevitable" and that "the outbreak of a third world war is inevitable". In these circumstances, since some comrades overestimated the strength of imperialism, underestimated the strength of the people, feared U.S. imperialism and feared the outbreak of a new world war, they showed weakness in the face of the armed attacks of the U.S.-Chiang Kai-shek reactionary gang and dared not resolutely oppose counter-revolutionary war with revolutionary war. In this document Comrade Mao Tse-tung was combating such erroneous thinking. He pointed out that if the forces of the people throughout the world waged resolute, effective struggles against the forces of world reaction, they could overcome the danger of a new world war. At the same time, he pointed out that it was possible for the imperialist countries and the socialist countries to reach certain compromises but that such compromises do "not require the people in the countries of the capitalist world to follow suit and make compromises at home", and that "the people in those countries will continue to wage different struggles in accordance with their different conditions". This document was not made public at the time and was circulated only among some leading comrades of the Central Committee. It was distributed at the meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in December 1947. Since the comrades present unanimously agreed with its contents, the full text was later included in "A Circular on the Decisions Made at the Central Committee Meeting of December 1947", issued by the Central Committee in January 1948.