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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 20, 1954

MINUTES OF THE SECOND MEETING BETWEEN PREMIER ZHOU ENLAI AND NEHRU

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    Zhou and Nehru continue to discuss the regional situations in Asia and Africa and the overarching foreign policy views of China and India.
    "Minutes of the Second Meeting between Premier Zhou Enlai and Nehru," October 20, 1954, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 204-00007-05, 34-50. Obtained by Chen Jian and translated by 7Brands. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121747
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Minutes of the Second Meeting between Premier Zhou Enlai and Nehru

(Unverified)

Date: 20 October 1954, 3:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Place: Xihua Hall, Zhongnanhai

Our participants: Comrade Zhang (vice minister), Ambassador, Comrade Chen (department head), [illegible] (interpreter and clerk)

Indian participants: [illegible], Bai-chun-hui [sic] (interpreter)

Nehru: We already had a long conversation last night, but the problem had not yet been settled.

I very much understand the stance of China. What I am worried about is not the logic of the issue, but how to break the current deadlock. Apparently, peace cannot be restored in the Far East upon the failure to settle the Taiwan issue. The only solution to the Taiwan issue is to return Taiwan to China. I hope the Chinese government can avoid a large-scale war. Is there any other solution? Undoubtedly, the successful settlement of other issues, e.g. China’s entry into the United Nations [UN], will be conducive to the settlement of the Taiwan issue because things would change in that case. I have no proposal actually. I just intend to make some attempts. I cannot make any suggestion for the Chinese government. But I hope to learn about it and, if possible, provide certain assistance.

I have read some telegraphs, and some of them talk about the speeches delivered by the Prime Minister of Pakistan [Muhammad Ali Bogra] who publicly says that he does not believe in neutralism and that Pakistan is fully in support of the United States. He has also done something strange by criticizing.

Nehru: I have my personal views about the US. If you ask the Americans the same question, they would not find the answer either. They have no clear idea about it. Instead, they are rather confused. Regarding their vested interests and global status, they are rather emotional indeed. The Americans do not have a clear diplomatic policy. Their behaviors are very strange. The American diplomatic policies are greatly affected by their domestic disputes.

Four and a half years ago in November 1949, i.e. one month after the founding of the People’s Republic of China [PRC], I used to go to London and talk to the British foreign minister [Anthony Eden] about the recognition of the PRC. He said that the PRC should of course be recognized, but he hoped to make such recognition together with the US. Then I went to Washington to talk about it with the American Secretary of State. He said that the US would of course recognize the PRC sooner or later, but not then for the sake of public opinion. The American public opinion has mostly favored recognition of the PRC, although they are still reluctant to do so. However, the situation will force them to recognize the PRC. This will not take long.

Zhou: We have to say the American policies are confused sometimes. But there must be a certain base, i.e. threatening the world to maintain its vested interests and expand its interests. The US publicly announces to lead and control the world. It has established military bases across the world and is trying to expand the scale of its alliance. These facts cannot be denied.

Nehru: I agree with that.

Zhou: Therefore, we can see that the Americans have used threats and menaces and have conjured up groundless excuses to create terrorism, thus forcing some countries to follow and defer to them [the US] in panic. President Nehru said to Chairman Mao yesterday afternoon that Britain, France, and other European nations were all scared. They know they will lose their interests if they succumb to the US leadership. But they have no choice. Pakistan’s signing of the Manila Pact is a typical example of it. The Americans have aroused Pakistan’s fears about nonexistent issues and have also fueled its expansionism.

Nehru: What you said is right. American policies include two factors or two methods. Firstly, use armed forces, menaces, or money as a means of subordination. Secondly, arouse fears about international communism. There are two reasons why Britain and France stand with the US. The first reason is an economic reason and the second reason is fears about communism. They are afraid they will not be able to protect themselves without the US. Although they stand by the side of the US, they usually have disputes or near-disputes with the Americans, e.g. their disputes during the Geneva Conference. They have to dispute with the Americans when they find it hard to tolerate. Such disputes have happened many times.

Pakistan is not afraid of China or the Soviet Union. It obtains America’s military aid simply as a menace against India.

Zhou: I have to say that somebody is trying to create an illusion that India is a threat to Pakistan. Actually, this is not true. It has also aroused and utilized Pakistan’s expansionism.

I have had several talks with the Pakistani ambassador. I tell him that Pakistan’s reliance on the US militarily only works to put itself in the American trap and that it will backfire someday. I also say that Pakistan shall unite with India. I have also mentioned it to the Pakistani women’s representative many times. The head of the Pakistani Women’s Delegation asked me to persuade President Nehru to discuss the settlement of the Kashmir issue with the Pakistani president. I told her that both presidents are willing to do so to the best of my knowledge. I also agreed to forward such a message to President Nehru because I am really willing to act as a middleman so long as it is for the sake of peace instead of reliance on the US.

Nehru: I am always willing to talk with the Pakistani president. When Pakistan asked for America’s military aid, we were negotiating with a preliminary agreement established. However, I told them that things have changed after Pakistan acquired America’s military aid and that we had to reconsider it on a new basis. They denied that things have changed. Consequently, our negotiations were terminated due to America’s military aid instead of any other internal reason. I would like to explain something about Pakistan. When India was battling for independence, some people stood by the side of Britain and were against the battle for independence. The current leader of Pakistan was one of the opponents then. These opponents had only religion as their excuse but had no economic and political base. The Pakistani people and the Indian people are of the same race although we have different religions.

I wonder if you have read a report from the New York Times that says China’s charges against America’s occupation of Taiwan are all lies. The American government may reply in this way in the future.

Zhou: We do not have a full understanding of Pakistan’s situation, although we have made some attempts for that purpose recently. At least, Pakistan’s military alliance with the US has generated negative impacts on the efforts to establish peace in Asia and to avoid antagonism, and it is not good for the relations between Pakistan and India. In this regard, Pakistan is to blame. I have always mentioned such a viewpoint every time I talk with our Pakistani friends. Indeed, they feel that it is difficult to give me an excuse.

Nehru: I feel puzzled that Pakistan has become a colony of the US. Its economic conditions are very poor and it fully relies on American aid. American officials are everywhere in Pakistan.

Zhou: I have a question. The British used to adopt a non-ruling policy about India, and that policy has backfired. Have the British people learned any lesson from it?

Nehru: Britain feels unhappy about it but it has no other choice.

As you know, Pakistan has held an election three to four months ago, and 95 percent of the voters participated in the election. Consequently, a government was formed. However, the Pakistani government dismissed it only one month after and dispatched a military governor for military rule.

Zhou: Let us go back to what we talked about previously, I mean the issue of menaces. According to the talks yesterday and today, I believe that we must look at this issue from two perspectives. The first perspective is the fear of communism. As Chairman Mao mentioned yesterday, to address the fears that other Asian countries feel towards China, we have proposed the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and have made a declaration based on such principles. We would apply these Five Principles to our relationships with all Asian nations. We wish to perform obligations together with all Asian nations and do something to the benefit of all nations. We wish to make greater efforts to eliminate their fears and wariness. This is what we have always been doing, and we wish to continue such efforts. I used to express that stance to Mr. [illegible]. We even wish to establish a normal relationship with the Philippines. With regard to Australia, I have also met Mr. [illegible], and I said to him that I could see no possibility for China to threaten Australia. We are willing to use the five basic principles to restrict our relationships with other nations and hence settle the fears and worries of other nations. China will take all measures to get rid of the fears among the Asian nations. China also wishes to cooperate with India in a joint effort for an enhanced regional peace because this is conducive to the elimination of fears. The Asian-African conference is one of the measures for this purpose.

The second perspective is the menace of a large-scale war which originates from the US because it intends to expand the scale of wars and convince the world that large-scale wars may break out. We all wish for peace and therefore try our best to eliminate such a menace. But probability and reality are the two major issues. If all nations are busy expanding their armed forces and preparing for wars, the probability of large-scale wars will be high. Such a probability does exist today. Therefore, we must work together for disarmament and forbid the use of nuclear weapons, hydrogen weapons, and other weapons of mass destruction. India, China, and all other peace-loving nations are doing their best for this goal. But whether any local conflict would spark off a large-scale war depends on the local conditions. I have already mentioned this yesterday. America utilizes the Taiwan issue to threaten the Far East and the world with a possible large-scale war. As I mentioned yesterday, such a war is not going to happen according to the current conditions. If we oppose it, the probability will be lower. If we tolerate it, the probability will get higher day by day. Therefore, we have adopted an opposing attitude just in order to stop the eruption of a large-scale war and isolate the US. If we take an appeasement approach in order to avoid a large-scale war, the Americans will become insatiable and other nations will succumb to its menaces similarly. In that case, the Americans will expand their military bases and utilize the Taiwan issue to sign more Manila Pacts. We shall be wary of it because that is going to undermine the benefits of all nations.

Our attitudes on the Taiwan issue are expected to isolate the US so that it dare not expand the scale of the war. This issue is very complicated. We expect to keep President Nehru updated with the developments of this issue through Ambassador [Nedyam] Raghavan or Ambassador Yuan [Zhongxian]. We know that you are concerned about it and we hope to keep you well informed.

Nehru: The problem is how to stop the current crisis. You mention that no compromise shall be made to the US. You also say efforts shall be made for peace. You are right. But the US and some European countries also say that no appeasement shall be allowed towards China. You seem to have the same attitude and the same wording indeed.

If we look at all Asian nations, we can see that only China and India are the large countries with a stable and strong government that are supported by their people. Both China and India are advanced economically. West Asia is full of small nations which are rather weak, economically and politically, although they are very good nations. For that reason, they have reasons to feel scared. Assassinations usually take place in the Arab nations in West Asia, even including Egypt. These weak nations have endangered the stability of Asia and even the world. As these nations are weak and jittery, they are easily induced and guided to the wrong direction. I agree to your opinion that the Americans plan to establish more Manila Pacts in other regions, e.g. the Middle East.

Zhou: They also plan to establish a Northeast Asia defense alliance with Japan, Syngman Rhee, and Jiang Jieshi [Chiang Kai-shek] in Northeast Asia.

Nehru: Indonesia and Burma do not like to get involved. They are also weak and unstable. However, the nations in West Asia are even weaker. They also have the highly-coveted petroleum resources. Although these nations are not strong enough, they play a certain role internationally and in the UN. It is appropriate to keep these nations in the right direction for the peace of Asia and the world. I agree with you that we should try to eliminate their fears. You mention the five basic principles, which I believe are well established. But the problem is how to convince the other nations that these principles are true.

Zhou: As you mention, we do not expect to appease the US, and the US does not expect to appease us either. But this is not comparable because they are different in nature. I believe President Nehru agrees with me.

The US not only refuses to recognize us, but also encroaches on Taiwan, our territory, and our legitimate interests. We never refuse to recognize the US and we never infringe upon America’s interests in international affairs. We have said that we wish to coexist in peace with all nations according to the five basic principles, including the US. But the Americans have never said that and they refuse to do the same. We have never established anything like the Manila Pact against the US. We have never taken any menacing approach towards Asian nations for the sake of our national interests. However, that is exactly what the Americans are doing. For that reason, we are different from the US in form and in fact, and it is not comparable. We mean our defiance against US hegemony when we say we should not appease the US. But the Americans just do not give us a foothold when they say that they would not appease us.

Nehru: I do not want to make a comparison. I just quote the arguments of both sides. The American arguments are influential to some nations in Europe and South America. For instance, the Americans say that the Soviet Union and China do not need to initiate any war. Instead, they can achieve their goals through infiltration.

Now I’d like to talk about Africa. Africa is distant from China. There are many Indians in Africa. There are some dangerous developments in Africa. After European colonialism was faced with setbacks in Africa, [illegible]. From one perspective, their governance nowadays is even worse than during the colonial period [illegible]. These colonized countries established [illegible] in Central Africa and East Africa. The Union of South Africa is completely fascistic. Some unions, such as the Union of South Africa, are opposed to India, but the African people regard Indians as their friends. They are afraid of the United Kingdom and the United States. We have more than 100 excellent African scholars in India, and we have also dispatched more than 100 technical experts to Africa and the Middle East. Africa does not play a big role in international affairs, but it is a dangerous place. Most of North Africa is the manor of France, and there are strong nationalist movements. To some extent, Egypt can be regarded as part of Asia, and the other African lands are Africans’. We must help Africans in their development, because they will be ruined by others if they are not strong enough, which is harmful to both us and the world at large. I mention this because the overall situation should be taken into consideration when an issue is considered.

India’s geographic location makes it connected with Southeast Asia, the Far East, West Asia, and Africa. Over the past 100 years, we keep in close touch with Africa. We have little contact with the American continent, especially little contact with South America. But now we are developing a relationship with South America, and India’s vice president is visiting the countries in South America. Such a relationship requires us to offer our help with the development of the situation.

Now I’d like to talk about one issue that you will talk about. The United States and Europe are jealous to see Asian countries grow stronger. They are jealous of China’s power and they do not want India to grow stronger. The United States once said that it would offer help to India, but now it says the growth of India was harmful to the United States.

The [illegible] you said is a difficult issue, because any industrially advanced country is able to arm itself very quickly. For example, if a country has plants to manufacture planes, it will produce bombers temporarily if necessary [illegible].

You mentioned the Asian-African Conference, which was proposed by the Indonesian prime minister [Ali Sastroamidjojo], and we are in support of this proposal. We hope this conference can be held. But this conference may not [illegible], because the participating countries have contrary policies. At the Colombo Conference, Pakistan had contrary policies. Of course, there will be other participating countries, and the conference may not be a unanimous one. But we should also keep in touch with these countries. I still believe that Asian and African countries should hold a meeting together. Although there are some disputes, the countries will be influenced. In December, a Colombo Conference will be held in Jakarta to discuss the issue about the Asian-African Conference, and the Asian-African Conference will be held two months thereafter.

I would like to talk about one issue you mentioned, that is, how to deal with the panic and doubts of Asian countries. These countries are frequently [illegible] the United States, which aggravates their panic. You have met Prime Minister U Nu [of Burma] and had a thorough talk. Five days ago, I met Prime Minister U Nu and his cabinet. I found that they were still in panic. They mentioned an issue that we had talked about in Delhi, that is, the position of overseas Chinese. At that time, you told me the intention of the Chinese government was to regard those overseas Chinese who retain the Chinese nationality as Chinese and these people should not interfere in the internal affairs of the countries where they live, and those overseas Chinese who have obtained the nationalities of the countries where they live are no longer Chinese. Such words of yours have exerted a positive influence on Burma, and I do not know how the situation is these days.

Burma also said the maps printed in China included a part of Burma and a part of India in China’s territory. It is true that such maps are in old versions, but why did not the Chinese government make some clarification?

And there is still another minor issue I want to talk about. There is a Nepali person called Singh who escaped to China after he revolted in Nepal. He was welcomed and received in China with hospitality. Nepal asked why its rebel was received in China with hospitality, and this issue aggravated their doubts [about China].

Zhou: I’d like to answer such specific questions. I’d like to talk about several other issues.

We are in support of mitigating the tensions, but the United States is creating tensions by taking advantage of the Taiwan issue. We have to reiterate this point. If we take a tolerant attitude, the United States will expand its activities; if we oppose it, the United States will reduce its activities. If the United States agrees to withdraw its military forces, the tension will not exist. So it depends on the United States, and this point must be stated clearly. Of course, the United States will not accept our request that it should withdraw its military forces, because [illegible]. Struggles are necessary and inevitable, but my friends can rest assured because we know how to deal with the issue [illegible].

The second is about the Asian-African Conference. We wonder the scope of this conference. Specifically speaking, what are the plans for China and other Asian countries?

Nehru: I do not have an exact answer because the situation is still ambiguous. But according to my observations, every Asian country will be invited to attend the conference. Controversial issues will be avoided at the conference, and no internal affairs of any country will be involved. Otherwise, there will be endless arguments. The issues to be discussed are extensive, for example, colonialism, peace, and the relationship between countries. As I said just now, the situation is still unclear.

Zhou: We’d like to air our opinions. We are in support of holding the Asian-African Conference proposed by the Indonesian government, and we are also in support of your sponsoring the Asian-African Conference. We are willing to attend the conference because it is striving for Asian peace, African peace, and world peace, so it is helpful to mitigate the tension, and it does not repel other countries. It is working for peace, although the participating countries have varied situations. Although the issues the conference will be faced with are complicated, common ground will be ultimately found.

You just now mentioned the third issue. Some countries are worried that the Soviet Union and China [illegible], and therefore, the gradual penetration method will be used. I talked about this issue when I was in Delhi. I said all should be decided by the people of the country, and no external interference will be tolerated [illegible]. I believe India and China can build mutual trust on the basis of the Five Principles for Peaceful Coexistence. Our two countries should make efforts to do more things and set an example for the world. Our two countries should not only comply with the Five Principles for Peaceful Coexistence, but also do a good job in this respect. Based on the close relationship between the governments of the two countries, we can help and learn from each other and set an example for the world in the Five Principles for Peaceful Coexistence [illegible].

With respect to the issues proposed by China’s neighboring countries, it is very easy to explain. First, the overseas Chinese. What I have said in Delhi and Rangoon is still effective and will be realized. Speaking specifically, the dual nationality issue of overseas Chinese should be solved. We settle this issue first with Indonesia to set an example. After I was back from Geneva, I received the delegation of the Labour Party of the United Kingdom. Then we made a suggestion with the Indonesian ambassador to start the consultations immediately, and I suggested that the Indonesian ambassador consult with us as the Indonesian chief representative. The Indonesian ambassador notified us that the consultations would start in October. In order to eliminate the speculation of the external media and incorrect reports, this issue will be referred to in the report on the work of the government at the National People’s Congress. I also said that this issue would be first settled with Southeast Asian countries which had entered into diplomatic relations with China. In principle, we do not think there should be dual nationality. But as I said just now, dual nationality is a question left over by history. We propose to determine the nationality by [illegible] and blood. If a person has the nationality of the country where he now lives in, he is not deemed as a Chinese; if he retains Chinese nationality, he should not participate in the political activities of the country in which he lives. This must be demarcated. This principle has been passed on to the main responsible persons of the Indonesian government and has been consented by them. I believe Prime Minister U Nu will agree to this principle [illegible]. But before the parties sign the agreement and solve problem, [illegible], otherwise, there will be turmoil among overseas Chinese, and Jiang Jieshi would also say the Chinese government abandoned overseas Chinese. This will make it possible for Jiang Jieshi to win over overseas Chinese and plunder their wealth and induce young overseas Chinese to work for him with unreasonable benefits. This will also cause trouble for the countries which have entered into diplomatic relations with China because [illegible]. It will also make it easier for countries such as Thailand, Philippines, and Vietnam to formulate provisions unfavorable to overseas Chinese. I said to the Indonesian ambassador and a quasi-official Indonesian delegation, we hope they will not cover incomplete reports before the negotiation results are published. We are willing to help the countries where overseas Chinese live overcome the difficulties, and we also hope they can understand China also has its own difficulties. Our request was reciprocated with sympathy. After Prime Minister U Nu comes to China, I will immediately talk with him about this issue. We are willing to talk with Burma after we talk with Indonesia.

Second, the map. This is also a problem left over by history. Indeed, the maps published in China are old versions because we have not surveyed the boundaries and have not talked with the relevant countries, but we will not change the boundaries ourselves. Otherwise, the people will think we are even worse than the Guomindang, although the Guomindang demarcated the boundaries without principle. We have undetermined boundaries not only with India and Burma, but also with the Soviet Union and Mongolia. There will be some differences if our maps are compared with those printed in such countries. Prime Minister U Nu suggested talking about this issue, and he said the Guomindang government, Beiyang government, and Qing government did not talk about this issue. We agreed to talk about this issue, but we requested some time for preparations. Prime Minister U Nu said he would visit China’s Yunnan Province when he was free, and we agreed. He wanted to pass by Yunnan on his way back [to Burma], and we also agreed because it would be safer to fly in the air above land than fly in the air above the sea.

Third, Singh. This issue is very simple. He entered Chinese territory via Nepal with 26 military personnel, 19 rifles, and 500 bullets. We immediately [illegible] their weapons and offered them asylum, and our practice is in line with international principles. He advocates peaceful cooperation, but we do not allow him to carry out activities in Chinese territory in order to overthrow the Nepalese government. In the years during which the Dalai Lama was unfriendly to us, he stayed in India for asylum. The former Indian ambassador said to us [illegible], India found it difficult to refuse the Dalai Lama because India would not allow him to carry out activities on Indian territory in order to overthrow the Chinese government and [illegible] receive him with religious rituals. We agreed to this practice at that time. But later the Dalai Lama went back to Lhasa. His elder brother and sister-in-law went to India and remain in India and are received by the Indian government. They disseminated religion in India and may be keeping in touch with Tibet. But we do not mind because we believe the Indian government is friendly to us.

This involves China’s establishment of diplomatic relations with Nepal. The Nepalese government has agreed to establish diplomatic relations with China, and we hope Nepal can establish formal friendly diplomatic relations with China like the friendly relationship between China and India.

Nehru: We are glad to see Nepal establish diplomatic relations with China. Nepal has talked with us about this issue. As you know, we do not interfere in Nepal’s internal affairs, but we have offered assistance to the Nepalese army and have helped Nepal build roads. India and Nepal have cultural and historical connections. One [illegible] signed between Nepal and India recognized Nepal’s independence, which was not recognized by the United Kingdom in the past because it regarded Nepal as a feudal native state. We agreed with Nepal in the treaty that the two countries should coordinate their foreign policies and Nepal should consult India with respect to its foreign policies.

With respect to the establishment of diplomatic relations with China, Nepal has talked with us. Of course, we told them that we were glad to see Nepal establish normal diplomatic relations with China.

The Nepalese king is now in Switzerland to have his disease treated. Nepal’s domestic situation is not stable.

With respect to the map issue you mentioned, as for India, our boundaries are determined, and we are now administrating according to the current boundaries. I [illegible] with Burma because it may become a disadvantage that the enemies can take advantage of. I think you definitely understand that China will oppose if India publishes a map in which Tibet is regarded as a part of India. This is where misunderstandings and doubts come from.

In addition, I have another issue to talk about, but I feel it is [illegible] when I come up with it. I do not want to interfere in your matters, but I have received a telegraph from India’s representative in the Vatican, and the telegraph mentioned several bishops. [illegible] ambassador said that these several bishops had been brought to trial. I now give the telegraph as it is. When I was in Hanoi, some Catholics wrote to me.

Zhou: Yes. They know you are visiting China, and you are sure to make use of this opportunity. We will talk with Chairman Mao after 3:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon.