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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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Vietnam War

 Documents on the Vietnam War. These telegrams, minutes, and discussion notes range from the mid-1950s to the end of the 1970s, and most come from Chinese and Albanian archives. There are many documents from Albania archives on Vietnam-Albanian relations. The collection also includes several Chinese telegrams and memorandums on foreign and economic relations with Indochina, as well as discussions with Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong. See also the Indochinese War and the 1954 Geneva Conference. (Image, American POW, 1973, US Department of Defense, DDST9904270)

  • April 20, 1965

    Record of Conversation between Soviet Ambassador to China S. V. Chervonenko and Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai on 13 April 1965 (excerpt)

    Zhou Enlai, in a conversation with Soviet Ambassador to the PRC, S. V. Chervonenko, draws parallels between the Algerian War for independence and the struggle of the Vietnamese people. Zhou Enlai recounts his conversation with Algerian leader Ben Bella about the Vietnam War.

  • April 25, 1965

    Note by the East German Embassy in Hanoi on a Conversation with Ambassadors of the Other Socialist States in the Soviet Embassy on 2 April 1965

    During the conversation, it is said that the United States is increasing its attacks and overall involvement in the Vietnam conflict. Additionally, Soviet Ambassador Shcherbakov tells Pham Van Dong how the Chinese continue to evade giving aid to Vietnam because they fear attack from the Americans.

  • May 12, 1965

    Note by the East German Embassy in Hanoi on a Joint Conversation with the Ambassadors from other Socialist Countries in the Hungarian Embassy on 4 May 1965

    Soviet Ambassador Ilya Shcherbakov informs a meeting of Socialist Ambassadors of Soviet-Vietnamese talks in Moscow. He notes that the United States realizes it does not have the international support for Vietnam that it had expected, and that the Soviet Union will continue to support Vietnam in the struggle. He argues that there is still much anti-Soviet propaganda in Vietnam, which comes from the Chinese, and points out three positions of the Chinese that he does not understand.

  • May 16, 1965

    Discussion between Mao Zedong and Ho Chi Minh

    Ho Chi Min asks Mao Zedong for help to build roads along the border to South Vietnam; Mao agrees.

  • May 16, 1965

    Discussion between Zhou Enlai, Nguyen Van Hieu and Nguyen Thi Binh

    Zhou Enlai addresses Nguyen Van Hieu and Nguyen Thi Binh concerning the steps to take should the US escalate in Vietnam and expand into China, comparing Vietnam to Korea.

  • May 17, 1965

    Discussion between Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping and Ho Chi Minh

    Zhou Enlai and Deng Xioaping offer to chastise Soviet revisionists on behalf of North Vietnam

  • May 19, 1965

    Liu Shaoqi, 'Speech at the Reception of the Comrades of the Central Military Commission War Planning Meeting'

    Speech on China's state of preparations for war with the United States.

  • May 28, 1965

    Discussion between Zhou Enlai and Indonesian Prime Minister Subandrio

    Zhou Enlai outlines the Chinese reaction should the US expand the Vietnam War into China, reassuring Subandrio that should the war enter China, his country is prepared to retaliate.

  • June 03, 1965

    Note by the East German Embassy in Hanoi on a Conversation of Comrade Jarck with the Attache of the Czechoslovak Embassy, Comrade Freybort, on 2 June 1965, from 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., in the East German Embassy [Excerpts]

    Conversation at the East German Embassy in Hanoi, where a Comrade Freybort speaks of the difficulties involved with organizing trilateral talks between the China, Vietnam, and the USSR. It is also mentioned that China criticized Vietnam for building diplomatic relations with the USSR, which China sees as an alliance with modern revisionists.

  • June 04, 1965

    Discussion between Zhou Enlai and Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere

    Zhou Enlai sees the current US involvement in the Congo as a serious situation, but, on a worldwide scale, Vietnam is much more serious.

  • June 08, 1965

    Oral Statement by the Head of the Department for the USSR and for the Countries of Eastern Europe of MFA PRC, Yu Zhan, Transmitted to the Embassy on 8 June 1965

    A Chinese response to a statement from the Soviet Union, arguing that the Soviets look only to extend their influence over Vietnam, and not to truly help it to defeat the United States. It points out several examples of Soviet aid to Vietnam, which China believes had ulterior motives.

  • June 15, 1965

    Record of Conversation between Premier Zhou Enlai and Chairman Ho Chi Minh

    Zhou Enlai and Ho Chi Minh discuss preparations for the second Asian-African Conference and the potential participation of countries such as the Soviet Union, Malaysia, and India.

  • July, 1965

    Unofficial Translation of a Letter of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Central Committee to the Socialist Unity Party Central Committee

    Letter from the Soviet Central Committee which breaks down and lists the aid given to the Vietnamese by the Soviet Union.

  • July 09, 1965

    Note on a Conversation with an Unnamed Representative of the International Department of the CPSU CC on the Situation in Vietnam [Excerpts]

    An unnamed Soviet official explains that Chinese officers and advisors in Vietnam are discouraging the use of Soviet weapons, despite the fact that they are the most modern and effective.

  • July 16, 1965

    Discussion between Mao Zedong and Hoang Van Hoan

    Mao Zedong advises Hoang Van Hoan to escalate without hesitation, as the war has already begun to do so.

  • August 03, 1965

    Chinese Foreign Ministry Circular, 'Talks Between the Ghanaian Mission and the DRV'

    The Chinese Foreign Ministry reports on a visit by the President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, to North Vietnam as part of a British commonwealth initiative to mediate peace talks between the US and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The DRV rejected the Ghana overture on the grounds that it was "designed in reality to bypass the Geneva Accords to get the United States and the DRV into direct talks while countries like Ghana help the United States by pressuring the DRV." The circular then gives instructions to the Chinese embassies on how to deal with questions about the mission.

  • August 12, 1965

    Chinese Foreign Ministry Circular, "Malraux’s visit to China"

    The Chinese Foreign Ministry reports on a visit by the French Minister of State Andre Malraux to China. Malraux came in part to act as a peace broker for the United States and proposed a plan to Zhou Enlai to divide Vietnam. Zhou rejected the proposal.

  • August 19, 1965

    Note by the East German Envoy to Moscow, Rossmeisl, on Talks with Unnamed Soviet Vietnam Specialists

    Unnamed Soviet specialists claim that the USSR's aid to Vietnam is worth 1 million rubles per day. They also argue that because of the amount of aid, the Chinese propaganda claiming a lack of Soviet aid is losing ground among the population in North Vietnam, although the rumor still persists in the South.

  • August 19, 1965

    Chinese Foreign Ministry Circular, "Vietnam 'Peace Talk' Activities"

    The Chinese Foreign Ministry reports on overtures made by the United States toward initiating peace talks to end the Vietnam War. Many countries in such as Ghana, France, India and Yugoslavia are attempting to promote the talks, but China remains skeptical of these initiatives and opposed to opening talks.

  • August 20, 1965

    Zhou Enlai’s talk with E. H. K. Mudenda, Agricultural Minister of Zambia

    Zhou Enlai explains Chinese opposition to peace talks with the United States to end the Vietnam War.