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Digital Archive International History Declassified

December 09, 1950

LETTER FROM ZHOU ENLAI TO MAO ZEDONG

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    Zhou Enlai reports to Mao Zedong on his talk with Zakharov about their strategic intentions and plans to cross the 38th parallel. Zakharov insists that one army should be moved to the Wonsan area to cover the southward-advancing flank, despite Zhou's disagreement with this move.
    "Letter from Zhou Enlai to Mao Zedong" December 09, 1950, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Zhonggong zhongyang wenxian yanjiushi (CPC Central Historical Documents Research Office) and Zhongyang dang'anguan (Central Archives), eds., Jianguo yilai Zhou Enlai wengao (Zhou Enlai’s Manuscripts since the Founding of the PRC), vol. 3 (Beijing: Zhongyang wenxian chubanshe, 2008), 613. Translated by Jingxia Yang and Douglas Stiffler. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114240
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Chairman [Mao Zedong]:

Zakharov came for a talk.  He was worried about the danger that the enemy may attack Wonsan Harbor to obstruct the rear lines of our advance to the south.  I told him of our strategic intentions and our campaign’s tentative plans to cross the 38th Parallel.  (I) also explained that the operations of Song [Shilun]’s Army in this campaign to include liberation all the way to Seisin and Wonsan.  If Song’s Army continues to advance south after its rest and reorganization, the 19th Army will move to Seisin, Wonsan and Pyongyang in mid-January for garrison duty.  After Zakharov listened to this, he still suggested that one army (he mentioned the 66th Army) should be moved to the Wonsan area for operations to cover our southward-advancing flank. I said that this would disperse the main force.  Furthermore, currently the enemy is withdrawing its Wonsan armies to Seisin.  If [we] wait for Song’s army for a week, [I am] afraid [the enemy] will then press on towards Seisin.  When that time comes, our 13th Army will attack towards the south.  It will be fine to have one division cover the flank if there are enemies at Wonsan.  He still would not agree.  It was not until I consented to report it to the Chairman that he was satisfied and departed.

Zhou Enlai

Night of December 9 [1950]