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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 30, 1965

HUNGARIAN EMBASSY IN THE DPRK, REPORT, 30 MAY 1965. SUBJECT: ON CHINA’S WAR PLANS.

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation

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    The Hungarian Ambassador to Pyongyang speculates that China's recent talk of war planning with North Korea may be for the purposes of "disinformation."
    "Hungarian Embassy in the DPRK, Report, 30 May 1965. Subject: On China’s war plans.," May 30, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Hungarian National Archives (MOL), XIX-J-1-j China, 1965, 71. doboz, IV-40, 003661/RT/1965. Translated by Balázs Szalontai. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121766
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Concerning my ciphered telegrams of April 24th and 26th, I report the following:

Romanian Ambassador M. Bodnăraş and GDR Ambassador H. Brie separately informed Comrade Moskovsky about what Chinese Ambassador Hao Deqing had told them with regard to the situation in Asia.

Speaking about the support to be provided to Vietnam, Hao Deqing declared that the Soviet Union was supplying obsolete anti-aircraft guns and machine guns to Vietnam. In addition, the Soviet government asked for China’s permission to establish a Soviet military base, at which at least four thousand Soviet military advisers would be stationed, in Kunming.  

In the opinion of the Chinese ambassador, things were progressing well in Vietnam and Asia, too, but he pointed out that the struggle against American imperialism would not be decided by the situation in Vietnam. The American imperialists must be chased out from the whole of Indochina, and even from the whole of Asindoia; this is what they [the Chinese] are preparing for. According to the Chinese standpoint, this required an unexpected attack [launched] on a wide front, the Chinese ambassador said. One must start military operations [all over] from Indochina to Korea, by which we will dissipate the military force of the imperialists. The Chinese ambassador also declared that China and the DPRK had reached an agreement that at a suitable time, and after the creation of a suitable pretext, they would start military operations against the American occupying forces along the demarcation line in Panmunjeom.

The Chinese people had done their best to develop the national economy and to construct socialism, Hao Deqing said. Unfortunately, the development of the international situation hinders their work to build up the country, and they must discontinue their efforts; they must switch to armed struggle against imperialism, and they must eliminate imperialism.

Cuban Ambassador Vigoa also informed me about this Chinese plan (he was the one who raised the issue). Among others, he said that according to the information available to him, the Chinese government was making preparations for a large-scale surprise attack that would be extended from Korea to Malaysia. During Subandrio’s visit in China in January, they allegedly managed to reach an agreement that at a suitable time, Indonesia would also launch an attack on Malaysia. Comrade Vigoa’s conversation with Yi Hyo-sun indicates a similar tendency. Namely, said person stated in the presence of the [Cuban] ambassador that they (Korea) were ready to take action against the imperialist occupying forces, but for the time being, they were reluctant to [initiate] such an action, because due to the inter-party disagreements, there was no unity between the socialist countries. That is, they were not certain whether the fraternal countries would support such a military operation.

There is a small discrepancy between the narratives of the Romanian and GDR ambassadors. Comrade Bodnăraş claimed that the Chinese were making preparations for such an action, and they would [launch] it at their convenience, whereas according to Comrade Brie (who later corrected this statement, though), the Chinese ambassador expressed the view that an all-out military operation would take place [only] if American aggression directly affected China, too.

It is possible that the information provided by the Chinese ambassador serves purposes of disinformation, for it is doubtful if the Chinese ambassador would so “confidentially” disclose such a state secret. Nevertheless, one cannot know for sure if they are actually contemplating such a plan or not.

According to the information that I obtained from Comrade Polish Ambassador Naperaj in the recent days, the Korean comrades are in the process of concentrating troops near the demarcation line. Lately, they have not granted permission to the [members of the] Polish section of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission to hunt in the vicinity of the demarcation line in Panmunjeom.  

On the occasion of my trip to Panmunjeom on May 12-14th, I also noticed the construction of new anti-tank obstacles in the northern part of the demilitarized zone. True, in the opinion of Comrade Colonel Borski, the stones, whose diameter is approximately 50-60 centimeters and which have been placed on the soft soil that was tilled as late as last year, can hardly be regarded as effective anti-tank obstacles. Nevertheless, this is the first occasion since 1953 that such [obstacles] are being constructed along the highway.

Finally, one may raise the question (which we discussed with the Polish ambassador) of whether the Chinese obstruction of Soviet arms shipments to Vietnam could be related to the aforesaid Chinese plan.

József Kovács

(ambassador)