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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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Sino-American Confrontation, 1949-1971

The People's Republic of China and the United States squared off against one another from 1949 through 1971. For other Digital Archive collections on US-China relations, see Sino-US Ambassadorial Talks, 1955-1970, and Sino-American Cooperation, 1972-1989. (Image: Dwight Eisenhower visits Taiwan, June 1960.)

  • May 23, 1949

    Cable, Kovalev to Stalin, Report on the 22 May 1949 CCP CC Politburo Discussion

    Kovalev reports to Stalin on the politburo meeting. the discussion concerned the economic situation in China, the military situation in China, and a previous conversation between Mao and American ambassador John Leighton Stuart.

  • December 07, 1949

    Cable, Zhou Enlai to Wang Zhen

    Zhou Enlai responds to two cables about the activities and whereabouts of George Fox-Holmes, Douglas Mackiernan, and John Hall Paxton.

  • January 13, 1950

    Telegram, Mao Zedong to Liu Shaoqi

    Mao Zedong cables to Liu Shaoqi regarding the status of US property and institutions in China, the situation in Hong Kong, and Chinese representation at the United Nations.

  • January 18, 1950

    Telegram, Mao Zedong to Liu Shaoqi

    Mao Zedong gives Liu Shaoqi guidance on Chinese foreign policy towards the United States and Great Britain.

  • January 20, 1951

    Report from P. F. Yudin to I. V. Stalin on Meetings with the Leaders of the Communist Party of China, including Mao Zedong on 31 December 1950

    Yudin recounts his meetings with Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, and Zhou Enlai. In three meetings, Yudin learned more about China's relations with other communist parties in Asia, economic conditions in China, and developments in the Korean War.

  • October 19, 1954

    Minutes of Chairman Mao Zedong’s First Meeting with Nehru

    Mao Zedong and Nehru discuss Sino-Indian relations, the political situation in Asia, and the role of the United States in world politics.

  • January 04, 1955

    Minutes of Conversation between Premier Zhou Enlai and Soviet Ambassador Pavel Yudin regarding Dag Hammarskjold’s Trip to Beijing

    The Soviet ambassador brought to Zhou Enlai a telegram between the United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld and the UN Assistant Secretary-General. The telegram stated that Hammarskjöld was going to visit Beijing for negotiating the release of the US pilots who had served in the Korean War and been captured by the Chinese.

  • January 05, 1955

    Transcript of Conversation between Zhou Enlai and Humphrey Trevelyan

    Zhou Enlai discusses with Trevelyan Humphrey China's concerns with Britain's attitude regarding Sino-British relations. Zhou says that the Chinese side is willing to improve Sino-British relations, improve the situation in East Asia, and ease international tensions. Zhou also discusses with Humphrey the Taiwan issue. He criticizes the U.S. for infringing upon Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan and Britain for its double standards on the Taiwan issue.

  • January 22, 1955

    Record of Conversation from Premier Zhou's Reception of the Indonesian Ambassador Arnold Mononutu

    The Indonesian ambassador tells Zhou that the Indonesian government has sent out the letter of invitation inviting China to attend the Asia-African Conference. Indonesia hopes that PRC will send delegation to this conference and that the Chinese premier will visit Indonesia. Zhou Enlai expresses that after the Chinese government receives the official letter of invitation, the government will give official reply.

  • January 28, 1955

    Mao Zedong, 'The Chinese People Cannot Be Cowed by the Atom Bomb'

    Mao Zedong spoke to the Finnish Ambassador Carl-Johan Sundstrom on the history of Chinese wars with European powers and states that China and Finland have had friendly relations. He then addressed the possibility of the U.S. waging an atomic war over Taiwan and how Chinese would respond. Finally, Mao foreshadowed the downfall of U.S. and British ruling classes to the end of tsarist Russia and Chiang Kai-shek should the United States enter another world war.

  • March 21, 1955

    Letter from Humphrey Trevelyan to Zhou Enlai

  • May 27, 1955

    Summary of the Views of Afro-Asian Countries on the Taiwan Issue at the Afro-Asian Conference

    The People's Republic of China maintains that the Taiwan issue was an internal issue of China, and it was the US who created tension by invading and occupying Taiwan.

  • January 23, 1956

    Gazette of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, 1956, No. 03 (Overall Issue No. 29)

    This issue features remarks from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about an incursion of two US military aircraft in Chinese airspace. It also discusses mobilizing primary and secondary school graduates to participate in the agricultural cooperative movement. Other sections cover scientific collaboration between universities and research institutions, sports, and the handicraft industry.

  • March 10, 1956

    Gazette of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, 1956, No. 09 (Overall Issue No. 35)

    This issue features a political report from Zhou Enlai, which discusses the Five-Year Plan, the transformation of Chinese intellectuals, the United States, and Taiwan. It also conveys instructions from the Department of Higher Education, the Ministry of Health, the Sports Committee, and the New Democracy Youth League (later the Communist Youth League) to further develop sports in colleges and universities. Other sections cover various administrative concerns, including the division of districts in Shanghai, the establishment of Guixi Tong Autonomous Prefecture in Guangxi, and the transfer of towns from Jilin Province to Inner Mongolia.

  • May 17, 1956

    Cable from the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, 'Pakistani President’s Exclusive Conversation with American Reporters'

    The Pakistani President stated that Islamabad's warming relationship with the PRC did not mean a move away from the US. He reaffirmed Pakistani commitment to the Southeast Asian defense treaty and the Baghdad Pact while urging the US to recognize the PRC and advocating an increase in Sino-Japanese trade.

  • September 15, 1956

    Gazette of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, 1956, No. 33 (Overall Issue No. 59)

    This issue begins with a statement about an American military aircraft that intruded into Chinese airspace on August 23rd. It also discusses transporting cargo from ports along the Yangtze River, agricultural matters such as breeding animals in production cooperatives, and the "exemplary worker movement" in schools.

  • May 12, 1957

    Brief Summary of Conversation between Comrade Mao Zedong and the Delegation of the People’s Assembly of the People’s Republic of Albania

    Comrade Mao mentioned that the communism belief closely united western and eastern countries in the socialist camp, and the Asian, African and Arab states are our allies in the war against imperialism. Comrade Rita answered Mao's questions about Albania's domestic situation, such as religion and domestic consumptions. Mao also depicted Chinese ancient tale the Monkey King to Rita, explaining the revolution situation in China.

  • June 13, 1957

    Cable from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, 'Premier Zhou’s Conversation with Ambassador Nehru'

    Premier Zhou Enlai and Indian Ambassador Ratan Kumar Nehru exchanged views on Taiwan Incident and situation in West Asia.

  • September 07, 1957

    Transcript of Conversation between Zhou Enlai and Reverend Warren McKenna

    Rev. Warren McKenna from the U.S. talks with Zhou Enlai about the goal of their visit to China, which he says is to better understand "new China". Zhou welcomes the American Youth delegation to China. Zhou agrees with McKenna that working towards world peace and better U.S.-China relations is not only dependent on efforts by professional diplomats, but also direct communication between the two countries' citizens. Members of McKenna's delegation proceed to ask Zhou Enlai questions on various topics, such as the entry of American journalists into China, strategies to improve U.S.- China relations, detained U.S. and China citizens in both countries, Tibet, etc.

  • February 06, 1958

    Abstract of Conversation: Premier Zhou and Ambassador Nehru

    Indian Ambassador to China Nehru and Premier Zhou discuss Sino-British relations, focusing on Britain's position on Chinese representation at the United Nations. According to the Premier, Britain is acceding to American demands and allowing the United States to create 'two Chinas.'