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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 01, 1954

CABLE FROM ZHOU ENLAI, 'REGARDING A MEETING WITH BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY EDEN'

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    Zhou Enlai, Molotov, and Eden discuss the Korea issue, the Indochina issue, Sino-British relations, British-American relations, and the issue of five powers.
    "Cable from Zhou Enlai, 'Regarding a Meeting with British Foreign Secretary Eden'," May 01, 1954, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 206-Y049. Translated by by Gao Bei. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/110604
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Chairman [Mao Zedong], Comrade [Liu] Shaoqi, and the Central Committee:

Comrade Molotov invited me to meet with Eden yesterday afternoon, and we discussed the following questions:

(1) The Korean issue. There is no meeting today on 1 May, and the conference will reopen on 3 May. Only the Turkish and Thai delegations made speeches yesterday morning. The meeting was adjourned in less than thirty minutes. Eden suggested holding a restricted session and said that “[the members should be] the five of us plus North and South Korea.” Eden said that he had already talked to [US Secretary of State John Foster] Dulles about this, and he assumed that [French Foreign Minister Georges] Bidault would not oppose it either. Molotov and I both agreed to hold the restricted session. We also asked what subjects would be specifically discussed in the restricted session. However, Eden did not answer this question. It is the British and Americans who are taking the initiative and sounding us out, and we should not react too positively except to agree to hold the meeting. Based on the general situation, I assume that Eden's proposal for a restricted session is related to Dulles' return to the US next week. Until now, no North Atlantic [Treaty Organization] country except Turkey has spoken yet to support Dulles during the discussion of the Korean issue. Although the United States fired many blanks on the Indochina issue, they could not scare anyone but themselves. The United States is attempting to form an alliance of invaders of Southeast Asia. However, Britain is still hesitating. On the other hand, France's request for more air support is being refused by Britain and the United States. In sum, it is now impossible for the United States to stop negotiations on the Indochina issue. Eisenhower's recent words showed his retreat and embarrassed Dulles. Therefore Dulles decided to run away [from the conference] and leave the problems to the Under Secretary of State, [General Walter Bedell] Smith. Eden said that Dulles had already decided to return to the US next week. Molotov responded that “it will increase the responsibilities of the four of us.” The current situation shows that Eden will stay, and so will Bidault since [French Secretary of State for Relations with the Associated States Marc] Jacquet of the de Gaulle group and [French Foreign Ministry Political and Economic Affairs Assistant Director Roland Jacquin de] Margerie, who insists on the ending of the Indochina war, came to Geneva from France to pressure him. However, it is still not clear whether or not an agreement on the Korean issue can be reached.

(2) The Indochina issue. Eden said that “I will not use this as a condition for the issue of membership [of countries which should be invited to join the discussion], nor do I require you to answer me. I just want to ask if the Soviet and Chinese sides can push for the withdrawal of the wounded from Dien Bien Phu.” Molotov said: “It can be solved if you discuss this with the Vietnamese delegation.” I said: “It is better to have the two belligerent parties discuss this directly. The two belligerent parties in the Korean War used to discuss directly the issue of exchanging wounded and sick POWs before the armistice in Korea.” Regarding the issue of membership, I said: “Five countries have already been invited to join the discussions on the Indochina issue. It is odd that the decision on the invitation of related countries on both sides has not yet been made. Obviously someone is preventing both sides from attending the negotiations.” Eden said: “I am not preventing it.” It seems that it will take another two days to solve the problem of membership.

(3) The issue of Sino-British relations. When Molotov mentioned that China was complaining about unfairness in international affairs, Eden said: “Britain does recognize China. However, China does not recognize us.” I said: “It is not China which does not recognize Britain. It is Britain which does not recognize us in the United Nations.” Eden said: “Britain is also dissatisfied with China on some [other] things, but I do not want to mention these things when we are dining together today.” Talking about the improvement of Sino-British relations, Eden said: “I brought the British Chargé in the People's Republic of China, [Humphrey] Trevelyan here this time [to let him] meet with the Chinese delegation.” I said: “I also brought the Director of the Department of West European and African Affairs, Huan Xiang, here.” Eden said: “Well, we have some thoughts in common.” Trevelyan came to see us immediately after the meeting and had already arranged to invite Huan Xiang to dinner next week.

(4) The issue of British-American relations. Molotov said: “The United States is intentionally creating tensions, and it makes the American people very jittery. This kind of situation does not exist in the Soviet Union. I assume that Britain does not like that either.” Eden said: “Although the United States [government] talks a lot, the American people are peace-loving.” Molotov then said: “Britain is an influential country in the West, and shares the same language with the United States. Britain should not underestimate its role in improving relations between East and West.” Eden said: “You are flattering me. Industrial development in the United States exceeded ours after World War II. It also replaced Britain as the world's leader. Although we are not jealous, the United States is too impatient.” Eden then cited a playwright [to the effect of]: “We have nothing in common with the United States except the same language.” I said: “Since the United States is not reconciled to the loss of China, it uses every means at its disposal to threaten and massacre people, especially the Chinese people. However, the Chinese people are not afraid of these threats. The American way of doing things only made its own people nervous.” Eden said: “The Americans have some reason to be dissatisfied. The Americans kindly helped China during its war against Japan. However, China repaid kindness with ingratitude.” I said: “The United States helped [Republic of China (ROC) President] Jiang Jieshi [Chiang Kai-shek] oppress and kill Chinese people. How could it not lead to the resistance of the Chinese people?” Eden said: “In fact, the British loss in China was greater than that of the Untied States.” I said: “If we do accounts in history, Britain did not lose anything.”

(5) The issue of the Five Powers [i.e., the UK, the US, France, the PRC, and the Soviet Union. Eden said that he does not care if it is Four or Five Powers, the subcommittee should be composed of seven countries. Molotov said: “This is a good attitude. However, some people do not want to talk about the Five Powers.”

Foreign journalists spread the rumor after the dinner that Eden had met with Dulles before his meeting with me. It was said that Dulles was very dissatisfied with Eden's action. Trevelyan invited [PRC Vice Trade Minister] Lei Renmin for dinner last night. The Deputy Under Secretary for Administration in the British Foreign Office, [Harold] Caccia, and the Assistant Under Secretary [for Foreign Affairs, William Dennis] Allen, were also present at the dinner. Trevelyan stated that three British trade organizations were willing to do business with China. Lei said that the representatives of the three organizations could first come to meet with [the Chinese delegation] at Geneva in order to find out detailed information. Trevelyan agreed with him. Trevelyan also invited Lei to come to Britain and visit the industrial exhibition. The Indian ambassador to Switzerland [Yezdi D. Gundevia] came to see me yesterday morning and asked for information about the Geneva Conference.

Zhou Enlai
1 May [1954]

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