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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.)

  • July 18, 1954

    Minutes of Conversation between Zhou Enlai and Laotian Foreign Minister Phoui Sananikone (Summary)

    Sananikone asks for Zhou's opinion on several problems/issues Laos faces regarding the armistice and unification in Laos. Sananikone also makes clear that Laos does not plan on joining the Southeast Asian Pact, saying there is no need to if the conference can reach an agreement.

  • July 19, 1954

    Minutes of Conversation between Zhou Enlai, Pierre Mendes-France, and Eden

    Zhou, Mendes-France, and Eden discuss regrouping areas and French troops in Laos. The three are close in their opinions, but there are still points of division. Mendes-France agrees to limit the number of French troops, but insists a specified time limit is unreasonable. Mendes-France also insists that some regrouping areas are needed in the south. This last point, the three agree to leave to military experts.

  • July 20, 1954

    Minutes of Conversation between Zhou Enlai and Cambodian Foreign Minister Tep Phan (Summary)

    Zhou Enlai and Tep Phan discuss the Vietnamese proposal for conflict resolution. The Cambodian side discusses issues on which they agree with the Vietnamese (that the Vietnamese will not be discriminated against in Cambodia, that there will be no combatant personnel in Cambodia, etc.) and issues on which they disagree (military issues, Viet Minh withdrawal timetable, etc.). Zhou expresses hope that these issues will be resolved in an upcoming meeting with the Vietnamese, and that he will do what he can to assist in the resolution.

  • July 29, 1954

    Memorandum of Conversation, between Soviet Premier Georgy M. Malenkov and Zhou Enlai

    Soviet Premier Georgy M. Malenkov and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai discuss the incidents between China and Taiwan, the US’s support of Taiwan, and the US bloc in the South Pacific. They contemplate various means through which China could prevent further provocations by Taiwan and how to break apart the American bloc. Zhou Enlai also offers suggestions concerning the elections in Korea that would help accomplish Soviet goals for the area.

  • October 07, 1954

    Memorandum of Conversation from the Meeting between Premier Zhou Enlai and the Pakistan Women’s Delegation (Excerpts)

    A conversation between Zhou Enlai and a Pakistani women's delegation on Sino-Indian-Pakistani trilateral relations, the Kashmir issue, and China's qualms about Pakistani membership in the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO).

  • October 21, 1954

    Talking Points from Premier Zhou Enlai’s Third Meeting with Nehru

    Zhou Enlai and Nehru discuss Sino-Indian relations, as well as China and India's views toward Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, Vietnam, and Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

  • October 26, 1954

    Minutes of the Fourth Meeting between Premier Zhou Enlai and Nehru

    Zhou Enlai and Nehru touch on issues related to Yugoslavia, Pakistan, the Geneva Conference, and Indonesia.

  • November 06, 1954

    Cable from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, ‘Premier Zhou’s Talk with Members of Japan’s Diet’

    Zhou Enlai and Japanese Diet Members discuss Japan's relationship with the United States, the overall trends in Sino-Japanese relations, and some specific issues in Sino-Japanese relations, such as war criminals, fisheries, and communications.

  • 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 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.

  • February 25, 1955

    Abstract of Conversation: Chinese Premier Zhou receives Trevelyan

    Zhou Enlai and Trevelyan debated on the nature of the Manila Treaty and its implications for the Geneva Agreement.They also discussed the issue of the Dai Autonomous Region between China and Thailand and the legal status of Taiwan.

  • April 03, 1955

    Record of Conversation from Premier Zhou Enlai's Reception of Ambassador U Hla Maung

    U Hla Maung and Zhou Enlai discuss the logistics of Zhou's travel to Burma, and U offers Zhou some gifts from the Burmese government. They also discuss a western plot to sabotage the China-Burma relations.

  • April 03, 1955

    Minutes of Premier Zhou Enlai’s Meeting with Indonesian Ambassador Arnold Mononutu

    Indonesian Ambassador to China and Zhou Enlai talked about the Ambassador's plan to accompany Zhou Enlai to Burma before coming to Indonesia for the Asian-African Conference. They also discussed lodging for the Chinese delegation in Jakarta as well as the principle of non-interference in other countries' affairs.

  • April 16, 1955

    Summary of the Talks between Premier Zhou and Nehru and U Nu

    Summary of the meeting between the Burmese, Chinese and Indian Prime Ministers. The three wished that permanent economic and political institutions could be set up at the Bandung Conference but expressed doubt on that possibility and on whether these institutions could work as desired. Besides, Zhou Enlai proposed the issuance of a document to express the participants' common aspirations. The issue of the Five Principles was also touched upon.

  • May 26, 1955

    Minutes of Conversation between Premier Zhou Enlai and British Charge d'Affaires Humphrey Trevelyan

    Zhou briefed Trevelyan about China’s position in Taiwan issue that was produced in a document produced by PRC National People’s Congress Standing Committee in response to Britain’s request.

  • July 13, 1955

    Minutes of Conversation between Premier Zhou Enlai and British Charge d'Affaires Con O'Neill

    O’Neill passed on US position on the Sino-US talks in Geneva to Zhou. Zhou and O’Neil exchanged the positions of both countries regarding the talks and the dispute regarding the repatriation of the Chinese and American nationals to their country of origins.

  • August 25, 1955

    Record of Conversation from Premier Zhou's Reception of Ambassador Raghavan

    Zhou Enlai talked to Raghavan about two issues in the Sino-American talks: The release of American expatriates in China and the issue of Chinese expatriates in the US. Regarding the former, Zhou reaffirmed Chinese willingness to cooperate. According to him, there was no restriction and all American expatriates who apply would be able to return to the US. In the cases of Americans who violated Chinese law, however, it was necessary to proceed case by case and it was impossible to release them all at the same time as Washington demanded. On the second issue, the US admitted that they had placed limitations on the return of Chinese expatriates in the past. These restrictions had been lifted then but due to the number of Chinese expatriates and the pressure from Taipei, the problem could not be solved at once. Both countries agreed to let India act as a proxy for China and the UK act as a proxy for the US in this issue. Zhou and Raghavan went on to discuss some wording problems as well as the attitudes of both parties and the UK.

  • October 20, 1955

    Record of Conversation from Premier Zhou’s Reception of the Japanese Parliamentary Delegation in China and the Japanese Academic and Cultural Delegation in China

    Zhou Enlai and a group of Japanese officials and academics discuss the wartime history and present status of Japan-China relations. They also touch on US-Japan relations and economic conditions in China and Japan.

  • November 05, 1955

    Minutes of Conversation between Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and the Newly Appointed Indian Ambassador to China Ratan Kumar Nehru

    Zhou Enlai and the newly appointed Indian Ambassador discuss Nehru's health, the next Asian-African Conference, the Sino-American talks on Taiwan, the Macau issue, and the ambassador's previous experience in China.

  • January 04, 1956

    Abstract of Conversation between Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and Pakistani Ambassador to China Sultanuddin Ahmad

    Zhou Enlai and Sultanuddin Ahmed discussed the Kashmir issue and the consequences of the Soviet stance. China also expressed its disapproval with Pakistani involvement in the Manila Treaty, the Baghdad Pact and Islamabad's military agreement with the US.