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Digital Archive International History Declassified

December 09, 1950

LETTER, ZHOU ENLAI TO MAO ZEDONG

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

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    Zhou Enlai asks for Mao Zedong's instructions on whether to attack Seoul in January or postpone the attack until March, and gives details on the benefits of postponing the attack.
    "Letter, 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09, 1950, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Zhonggong zhongyang wenxian yanjiushi (CPC Central Historical Documents Research Office) and Zhongyang dang'anguan (Central Archives), eds., Jianguo yilai Zhou Enlai wengao (Zhou Enlai’s Manuscripts since the Founding of the PRC),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), 615-617. Translated by Jingxia Yang and Douglas Stiffler. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114241
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Chairman [Mao Zedong]:

Please consider the combination of strategic intentions and battle plans.  Concerning the second situation, must [we] postpone the attack on Seoul until early March? If [we] decide to postpone, 70,000 new soldiers could be sent to the army in two groups in early January and late January.  Artillery and tanks will be in time to be used.  Most important, however, is air force and railway transportation.  When the time comes, the Air Force can dispatch four jet-fighter divisions, two air-attack divisions, and three bomber divisions, for a total of 270 planes. Railroads and bridges can be repaired and open to the 38th Parallel after the materials (for repairing them) arrive.  The work with the most decisive significance is the building of the airports at Pyongyang etc. and moving the Soviet air force that is in charge of defense to [areas down to the] north of Pyongyang.  If the decision is still to attack Seoul in January, then only the first group of 30,000 to 35,000 people can be assembled, and only two air divisions of 60 planes can be dispatched.  There is not enough time to dispatch tanks although part of the artillery can be dispatched.  Rush repairs can be done down to Pyongyang at the most.  But whether there are enough materials for Cheongcheon Bridge, [we] still do not know; [we] are investigating.

What is your opinion on this?  Please instruct [so that we may] prepare.

Zhou Enlai

Night of December 9

CHINESE (TRANSCRIPTION) HTML

关于进攻汉城时间问题给毛泽东的信

(一九五0年十二月九日)

主席:

请考虑战略意图与战役计划的结合, 是否在第二种情况下须推迟至三月初再进攻汉城。如确定推迟, 七万人的新兵, 可分两批在一月初及一月底送至部队, 炮兵及坦克一部可赶上使用, 最主要的还是空军及铁道运输。空军届时可出动四个喷气团、两个冲击团、三个轰炸团, 共二百七十架飞机。铁路桥梁材料到后可修通至三八线。有决定意义的工作,便是在平壤等地修飞机场,并将苏联防御空军推选至平壤斟北幅如仍定一月中即攻汉城, 则新兵只能先排第一批三万至三万五千人, 空军只能有两个团六十架出动,坦克来不及, 炮兵可出动一部分, 铁路最多只能抢修至平壤,但清川江桥梁材料是否已够, 尚不能定, 在调查中.

如何, 请指示, 以便准备。

周恩来

十二、先旬夜

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