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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 03, 1954

MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER ZHANG HANFU AND INDIAN AMBASSADOR TO CHINA RAGHAVAN CONCERNING PREMIER NEHRU’S STATEMENT ON THE HYDROGEN BOMB

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

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    Zhang Hanfu and Raghavan discuss the hydrogen bomb and the Colombo Conference.
    "Memorandum of Conversation between Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Hanfu and Indian Ambassador to China Raghavan Concerning Premier Nehru’s Statement on the Hydrogen Bomb," May 03, 1954, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 105-00135-04. Translated by Anna Beth Keim. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116481
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Memorandum of Conversation between Deputy [Foreign] Minister Zhang Hanfu and Indian Ambassador to China [Nedyam] Raghavan Concerning Premier Nehru’s Statement on the Hydrogen Bomb

Guest: Indian Ambassador Raghavan
Receiving Party: Deputy Minister Zhang 

Observer: Deputy Department Director He Ying 

Translator: Chen Hui  

Recorder: He Daji 

Time: 3 May 1954, 4:00 – 4:20 p.m.

Raghavan: What I would like to discuss today is something that I discussed with you a few days ago, and also mentioned to Premier Zhou; that is, Premier Nehru’s statement concerning the hydrogen bomb.  At the time Premier Zhou kindly told me: China more or less agrees with India’s stance and attitude, and the Soviet Union also more or less agrees; at the United Nations Disarmament Commission, the Soviet Union suggested that the three countries of the India, China and Czechoslovakia should participate when the issue of weapons of mass destruction was discussed.

In his statement, Premier Nehru said that the Indian government would do its utmost to ensure that these weapons of mass destruction are not used or created, etc., and that concerned parties would heed his proposed four points when considering this issue.  But this is still not enough; the Indian government wishes other nations to issue opinions as well, and do their part to stop these terrible kinds of weapons.  Although most nations have not participated in the manufacture of these terrible kinds of weapons, they are deeply concerned with this issue, and care very much about the testing of this [kind] of weapon and its effects.  I have noticed that the people of all Asian countries are always [situated] very close to the horrible incidents [that occur] in testing these kinds of weapons, and to their actual and potential consequences.

This is a copy of the statement Premier Nehru made in Parliament, which I would like to give to you.  I have received instructions to communicate our views to the Chinese government, and, if possible, report your [trans. note--plural] response to the Indian government.

As for the general views expressed by Premier Zhou Enlai before his trip to Geneva, I have already reported [them] to the government.

Zhang: I will look at the full text of Premier Nehru’s statement.  I will report this matter to the government, and at the same time also report it to the Premier.  The Premier has already discussed this issue with the Ambassador; [we] will tell the Ambassador if the Premier has other views [to communicate].

Raghavan: India has voiced two requests.  Not just India, but other countries as well should issue opinions in order to stop these terrible kinds of weapons.  The Indian government would very much like to know your [trans. note--plural] views on this issue, and particularly on the four points of advice on the third page of the statement.

Zhang: I told Attaché Goburdhun [trans. note--this name is an educated guess based on the characters Gao-bo-deng] when I saw him on the evening of May 1st, and Premier Zhou received the Indian ambassador to Switzerland on the 30th.   

Besides this, reporters from India and Southeast Asian nations have expressed willingness to have more contact with the Chinese delegation at the Geneva Conference, and learn more about what is happening at the Geneva Conference.  Comrade Huang Hua of the Chinese delegation has already invited reporters from India and other Southeast Asian nations, held a press conference, and promised to keep having frequent contacts with them.

Is the Columbo Conference already over?

Raghavan: It is already over.  But we have not yet gotten the Conference’s final communiqué.

Zhang: We have also only seen the main points of the communiqué, not the whole text.

Raghavan: When we get the full text of the communiqué, we will certainly send it [to you].

Zhang: When will Premier Nehru return to India?

Raghavan: He will return to India today.  There were many disagreements at the Conference; this is actually a good thing.

Zhang: Did the Conference only release a communiqué, not pass [any] resolutions?

Raghavan: Only the communiqué.  Originally it was agreed that the debates and process of the Conference would not be released, so that everyone could freely issue opinions.  But later it was agreed that a final stance would still be released in the form of a communiqué.