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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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Conversations with Zhou Enlai

Zhou Enlai served as Premier of the People's Republic of China from October 1949 until his death in January 1976 and concurrently as the first Foreign Minister from 1949 through 1958. Zhou's involvement and influence on China's foreign policy was immense. This collection features hundreds of conversations that Zhou held with leaders from dozens of countries. See also the Digital Archvie collection: Conversations with Mao Zedong. (Photo: Zhou Enlai is received by Ion Gheorghe Maurer during a visit to Romania in June 1966.)

  • April 12, 1969

    Zhou Enlai and Kang Sheng’s comments to a COSVN Delegation

    Zhou Enlai discusses South Vietnam’s negotiation with the United States and the Middle East question.

  • April 20, 1969

    Zhou Enlai, Kang Sheng, Pham Van Dong, Hoang Van Thai and Pham Hung address the COSVN delegation

    Zhou Enlai acknowledges that Nixon has recognized Cambodia and sees the problems connected. Zhou Enlai warns the Vietnamese about being deceived by Soviet revisionists during negotiations with the US. Kang Sheng criticizes the number of Vietnamese being sent abroad to study.

  • August 23, 1969

    Telegram from Aurel Duma to Corneliu Manescu Concerning the Conversation with Zhou Enlai

    Telegram from Aurel Duma detailing his meeting with Chinese premier Zhou Enlai. Enlai remarks that China believes Soviet citizens to be unhappy with the anti-China stance taken by the USSR. He also discusses Soviet interventions in Chinese territory, specifically Xinjiang.

  • September 07, 1969

    Zhou Enlai’s talk with Ion Gheorghe Maurer, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Romania, in Beijing

    Excerpt from the talk in which Zhou Enlai discusses the Soviet Union’s role in Vietnamese negotiations.

  • September 07, 1969

    Minutes of Conversation between Ion Gheorghe Maurer, Paul Niculescu Mizil, Zhou Enlai, and Li Xiannian on 7 September 1969

    Conversation between Romanian and Chinese representatives. Romanians note that Nixon seemed sincere in his desire to normalize relations with China, and that he believed the Vietnam issue could not be solved militarily. The Romanians believe that Vietnam should pursue the opportunity for talks. Zhou Enlai states that the widespread activity of the USSR proves that the Soviet leaders are "crazy." The Romanians affirm that they would encourage neither the USSR or China to heighten aggression with the other.

  • September 11, 1969

    Note of Conversation between Ion Gheorge Maurer and Zhou Enlai on 11 September 1969

    Zhou Enlai describes his his meeting with Aleksey Kosygin to Ion Gheorge Maurer. The Enlai and Kosygin agree that they will keep the status quo along the Sino-Soviet border, as to not let it come to violence. They also agreed verbally to rework the old border treaties, created in the imperial era. Enlai holds that there are too many differences between China and the USSR to work out easily, but Maurer states that it is a good start.

  • September 11, 1969

    Soviet Report, Information on A.N. Kosygin’s Conversation With Zhou Enlai

    A.N. Kosygin met with Zhou Enlai, Li Xiannian, and Xie Fuzhi in an effort to improve strained relations between the Soviet Union and China. The main focus was the on-going Sino-Soviet border dispute. Kosygin also proposed the expansion of trade relations and economic cooperation as well as the normalizing of railroad and aviation connections. Significantly, the Soviet premier also acquiesced when Zhou declared that Beijing would not curtail its political and ideological criticism of the Soviet Union.

  • September 11, 1969

    Minutes of Conversation between the Romanian Delegation to Ho Chi Minh’s Funeral, Led by Ion Gheorge Maurer, and the Chinese Delegation, Led by Zhou Enlai, 11 September 1969

    Meeting between Chinese and Romanian delegations. The Romanians express their belief that it would take pressure off of them, if the tensions between the USSR and China were resolved. They discuss the general relations between the USSR and Romania and other states in Eastern Europe, specifically how closely their militaries and economies are linked to those of the Soviet Union. Enlai notes how individual communist parties now develop independently, instead of in cooperation with others.

  • March 21, 1970

    Discussion between Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong

    Zhou Enlai advises to support Prince Sihanouk over Lon Nol.

  • March 22, 1970

    Discussion between Zhou Enlai and Prince Sihanouk

    Zhou Enlai gives Sihanouk China’s support in the Cambodian Revolution.

  • March 28, 1970

    Discussion between Zhou Enlai and Prince Sihanouk

    North Korea and several Arabic countries support Prince Sihanouk, but Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union is holding back. Zhou Enlai reassures Prince Sihanouk that the Soviets will reconsider.

  • April 01, 1970

    Discussion between Zhou Enlai and Prince Sihanouk

    Zhou Enlai expresses approval that the Cambodian people want Prince Sihanouk to return.

  • June 16, 1970

    Brief Summary of Conversation between Comrades Zhou Enlai and Kang Sheng on 16 June 1970 with Myself [Kadri Hazbiu] and Cmrade Xhoxhi Robo

    Kadri Hazbiu has a wide ranging talk with Zhou Enlai, covering American imperialism, Sino-North Korean relations, Sino-Albanian relations, and Sino-Romanian relations, among other topics.

  • June 17, 1970

    Discussion between Zhou Enlai and Nguyen Thi Binh

    Zhou Enlai assures Nguyen Thi Binh that victory in Vietnam is possible, despite expansion.

  • July 23, 1970

    Discussion between Zhou Enlai and Trinh Dinh Thao

    Zhou Enlai discusses the advantages and disadvantages of signing the Geneva accords.

  • September 17, 1970

    Discussion between Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong

    Pham Van Dong outlines two new diplomatic offensives the NLF is taking against the US. Zhou Enlai proposes sending Chinese representatives to the front to observe the situation in South Vietnam.

  • December 12, 1970

    Memorandum of Conversation between Romanian Deputy Premier Gheorghe Radulescu and Zhou Enlai during a Visit to China between 20-26 November 1970

    Gheorge Radulescu informs Zhou Enlai that the United States desires to improve Sino-US relations and discuss China's representation in the UN. Zhou states that China does not accept the proposal for Taiwan to remain a member of the UN as an autonomous region of China, because, in that case, other countries could ask that the same be done for Tibet and Xinjiang. Zhou notes the ongoing border disputes with the Soviet Union. Zhou also discusses Japan's growing economy and the threat of renewed Japanese militarism.

  • 1971

    Discussion between Zhou Enlai and Le Duan

    Zhou Enlai agrees with Vietnam on the terms of total US withdrawal and exposing Nixon’s deceptive personality

  • March 07, 1971

    Discussion between Zhou Enlai, Le Duan, and Pham Van Dong

    China and Vietnam’s role in East Asia and the world.

  • June 20, 1971

    Conversation of Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu and Cde. Zhou Enlai at the Embassy

    Notes regarding the conversation of Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu and Cde. Zhou Enlai at the dinner organized by the [Romanian] embassy in honor of the Chinese leadership.