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Digital Archive International History Declassified

1955

VIEW OF THE ASIAN-AFRICAN CONFERENCE FROM THE BOGOR CONFERENCE

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation

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    "View of the Asian-African Conference from the Bogor Conference," 1955, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 207-00001-03, 7-12. Obtained by Amitav Acharya and translated by Yang Shanhou. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113181
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View of the Asian-African Conference from the Bogor Conference

(The research material from our embassy in Indonesia is worth reading

and herby printed for reference-The First Department of Asian Affairs)

The Prime Ministers of the five South Asian countries held a conference in Bogor at the end of 1954.

The Indonesian Government, initiator of the Asian-African Conference with an intention of taking this opportunity to raise its domestic and international status, was very active. The ruling party’s newspaper has tried its best to advertise the importance of the Asian neutralist states and the significance of the Bogor Conference. The government placed extremely high hopes in the Bogor Conference, but is not completely optimistic. They really intended to invite China to participate in the conference, but the fear of the inside and outside pressure and the split of the five South Asian states, which affected the convening of the Asian-African Conference, caused their hesitation. Prime Minister Ali’s idea was that in the case that an invitation to China could not be agreed upon, they would rather give up the invitation to China to ensure the successful convening of the Asian-African Conference.

The various circles of Indonesia paid great attention to the Bogor Conference and spoke highly of it. The Peace Committee of Indonesia and 50 parties and organizations in Jakarta issued declarations and held mass rallies to welcome the ministers of the five states in order to promote the success of the Bogor Conference and express their hope for the peaceful co-existence and unity among the Asian nationalities through consultation.

The reactionary Ma-si-you-mei [sic] Party and the Socialist Party of Indonesia did not dare to oppose it directly, but tried their best to fabricate pessimistic views on the Bogor Conference and exaggerated the differences of views and interest among the relevant states. They took a hostile attitude towards China’s participation in the Asian-African Conference, spreading the rumor that China’s participation would not be in favor of the Asian-African Conference.

1. The process of the Bogor Conference

Indonesia had contact with 17 Asian-African states before the conference.

Except for the Philippines and Thailand, all the other states agreed to convene the Asian-African Conference. Only Iraq and Libya clearly expressed their disagreement to invite China. Egypt expressed on behalf of the Arab League that if the Asian-African Conference played a “mediator role between the two big groups”, it was not necessary for China to participate in it. Before the conference, Pakistan and Ceylon seemed to have the intention of hindering the conference from going smoothly. Nehru predicted that “the struggle of two lines” would occur in the conference and found that Indonesia’s attitude towards the invitation to China was not firm enough. Therefore, he dispatched his trusted subordinate Dr. Duter with his letter to visit Indonesia. He said in his letter that “China must participate in the Asian-African Conference”, which consolidated the attitude of Indonesia.

In the evening of December 27, the three early-arrived prime ministers of India, Burma and Pakistan began to have informal contact with the Indonesian prime minister. The Pakistani prime minister raised “the issue of American pilots detained in China”. The Indonesian prime minister said that “the conference has no plan to discuss it”. The former hinted again that since “China belonged to the Soviet Group, China should not participate in the Asian-African Conference”. They ended their talk quickly and unhappily because of the sharp difference of their views. Then, the three prime ministers of India, Indonesia and Burma had another meeting to discuss the “use of tactics” in the conference. They supported Menon’s suggestion that the conference would discuss and determine the time, venue and purpose of the Asian-African Conference first and the membership later. Nehru added that the principle of the membership should be “independent government”.

On 28, they immediately held the first meeting presided over by the Indonesian prime minister after the arrival of the Ceylonese prime minister. First of all, they discussed and determined the time, venue and purpose of the Asian-African Conference, and talked about the issue of membership as well.

The Ceylonese prime minister first asked: “Will China be invited to take part in it? China of course demands peace, but we must see its deeds.” He went on in a changed tone: “Luckily two prime ministers at present have visited China.”

The attitude of the Pakistani prime minister was worse. As soon as he spoke, he asked the question of “what nature of states shall be invited to take part in the conference”, attempting to set difficult questions for the conference.

The Indian prime minister expressed: “We shall invite the independent national governments in Asia and Africa to participate in the conference, oppose including the colonial states.”

The Ceylonese prime minister continued to ask: “What’s the meaning of the so-called independent states?”

The Indian prime minister answered: “Very simple. The independent government means the de facto government.”

Thus, the principle of invitation was decided.

In the morning of 29, the conference discussed the issue of membership and the atmosphere was very tense. Firstly, the participating states nominated other states according the principle of “independent government”. They nominated 30 states in total:

- India nominated Central Africa and China.

- Indonesia nominated “Outer Mongolia”.

- Pakistan nominated Turkey, Iraq, Japan and Taiwan.

When “Taiwan” was mentioned, the Burmese prime minister was very angry. He expressed that if “Taiwan” was invited, Burma would not attend the conference, nor be the initiator, and would walk out immediately. Thus, the atmosphere in the conference hall was very tense, all participants worried about the occurrence of the sharp turn. The Pakistani prime minister, fearing the responsibility of undermining the conference, said in a changed tone: “Although I nominated Taiwan, I still respect others’ opinion.” Therefore, the conference had a turn for the better and the 25 states to be invited were passed one by one.  

In the afternoon of the same day, the conference mainly discussed and adopted the Joint Communiqué. The prime ministers of India and Burma originally intended to list the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, but the prime minister of Pakistan opposed it. The prime minister of Ceylon vacillated and hesitated. In fear of deliberately complicating the issue, the prime ministers of India and Burma didn’t insist on their proposal. On the agenda of the Asian-African Conference, both sides wished to avoid argument so that the prime minister of Burma suggested that “no definite decision shall be made this time. It is left for the Asian-African Conference to decide”.

Thus, the Bogor Conference, which lasted 7 and half hours, ended.

After the conference, all the prime ministers held press conferences respectively. The western reactionary correspondents asked many provocative questions in an attempt to incite one against another and sabotage the conference, especially on the issue of inviting China. The answers of all the prime ministers are OK in general. Only the Pakistan prime minister said that “his disagreement on inviting China to participate in the conference is in fear of causing the uneasiness of the Asian-African states”. He added that Taiwan is not invited because the People’s Republic of China is the de facto government in China”. On the Five Principles, the Indonesian prime minister said that “it may be put forward for discussion in the Asian-African Conference”. At the same time he expressed that he personally supported the Five Principles.

2. Reaction of various Indonesian circles to the Bogor Conference

The various Indonesian circles held that the Bogor Conference was a great success and spoke extremely high of the forthcoming Asian-African Conference. The newspaper of the ruling party took this opportunity to try its best to heighten the status of the present government and sing the praises of the Indonesian prime minister. The political VIPs and celebrities with national consciousness inside and outside the parliament expressed their “satisfaction” and “gratification” at inviting China to participate in the Asian-African Conference. The parliamentarian from the National Party of Indonesia Wen-jing-do [sic] revealed that “inviting China to participate in the Conference has brought about the aspiration of the Seventh Congress of this party”. Foreign Minister Soenarjo said to Ambassador Huang that “I am very pleased that the participation of the People’s Republic of China in the Asian-African Conference has been passed and our aspiration has come true”. At the banquet in honor of the prime ministers of the five states, the Indonesian prime minister clinked glasses with Ambassador Huang, saying “Ganbei” (“bottoms up” in Chinese) to show his friendliness. President Soekarno said to Ambassador Huang: “It won’t do that China shall not come here to participate in the Asian-African Conference, because nothing can be settled without the participation of China.”

3. Several issues concerning the Asian-African Conference

Among the countries that will participate in the Asian-African Conference, many are “peace and neutralist” states, but they have different religions and political systems. Some of them are still colonial states or dependencies with different political attitudes, demands and purposes, but they also have something in common, such as:

1. Oppose colonialism;

2. About the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence (establish the Asian Peace Zone and solve the issues of Asian peace and security);

3. Maintain world peace and oppose the use of atomic and hydrogen bombs;

4. Economic cooperation (equality and mutual benefit);

5. Cultural exchange.

It is relatively easy to “seek common ground” on these issues for the Asian-African countries. If the majority can be won over and the issues can be solved in varying ways, the political role and influence of the conference will be tremendous.

Four fifths of the invited countries have not established diplomatic relations with us, or even have diplomatic relations with Chiang Kai-shek clique. We must make great effort to reverse the traditional prejudice. The Philippines and Thailand originally didn’t plan to participate in the Asian-African Conference, but later under the instigation of USA it decided to participate in, which seems to have a close connection with US imperialist conspiracy for sabotaging the Asian-African Conference.

The Development of relations between China and India, Indonesia and Burma are satisfactory in recent years and the Asian-African Conference shall be held in Indonesia, which provides favorable conditions. If we can exchange ideas with the three countries before the conference and make full preparations, it will be of great significance to the success of the conference.

In addition to the full understanding of the conditions and attitudes of participating states and the prediction of the issues that will possibly occur in the conference and their countermeasures before the conference, we must pay attention to the arrangement of various cadres (It would best if some competent Islamic cadres who understand Arabic will be included) in charge of trade, press, etc to carry out various activities outside the conference, prepare for developing trade, etc. Besides, we must also prepare the countermeasures to the difficult questions deliberately raised by the American, British or the local reactionary journalists and their distorted reports. It will be best if our own press group can strive for the initiative to cover and report the news. In regard to the “Asian News Agency” and the “Asian Journalists Organization” put forward by Indonesian journalists, we should take them into our consideration before hand as they might take this opportunity to submit them again.

This document has been respectively sent to: Premier, Kenong, Dingyi, Military Liaison, and Military Intelligence.

This ministry: All vice ministers, assistant ministers, Soviet and European Dept., First Asia Dept., Second Asia Dept., Europe and Africa Dept., America and Australia Dept., International Affairs Dept., Intelligence Dept., Policy Research Office.