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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 09, 1956

NOTE TO THE BRITISH REPRESENTATIVE TO CHINA REGARDING THE "KASHMIR PRINCESS" AIRCRAFT INCIDENT

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation

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    Zhou Enlai expressed the dissatisfaction about the release of the detainees by the government of Hong Kong. He emphasized that before the case was resolved, the government of Hong Kong had the responsibility to investigate the incident and to report to the Chinese government.
    "Note to the British Representative to China regarding the "Kashmir Princess" Aircraft Incident," August 09, 1956, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 207-00011-19, 141-144. Translated by Jeffrey Wang. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/110350
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(Attached: Draft Memorandum to the British side)

Mr. Chargé d'affaires ad interim:

We have received your reply on 24 June 1956. Now I will make a statement regarding the continued release of related prisoners of the “Princess of Kashmir airplane sabotage case” by the British government. As follows:

As the Chinese government pointed out in the memorandum of 6 February 1956, the British government’s statement issued on 11 February 1956 already fully affirmed the truth pointed out by the Chinese government. [The truth] which is: Explosion of the aircraft “The Princess of Kashmir” is planned, organized murder by Jiang Jieshi’s special service organization. The British government only needs to continue investigation based on a foundation established through material provided by the Chinese government in the past and truth confirmed by long periods of investigation of the British administration in Hong Kong; then the case can be quickly and completely resolved. However, the British government disregarded the view emphasized again and again by the Chinese government which is not to release related prisoners until the case is solved. Recently, [the British government] even released thirteen special agents from Jiang Jieshi who were detained as major suspects of the murder case; and allowed them to escape back to Taiwan. According to the memorandum from Mr. Chargé d'affaires ad interim, included in these thirteen released special agents from Jiang Jieshi are suspects related to the sabotage of the aircraft; [these people] were listed as [major suspects] by the British Chargé d'affaires ad interim in 1955 and arrested by the Hong Kong administration. The Chinese government and people are greatly dissatisfied by this.

Since this major political murder case happened in Hong Kong, the British government and the British administration of Hong Kong has the undeniable responsibility of fully solving the case and punishing the murderer and [the murderer’s] accomplices. Yet, the British government is releasing related prisoners prior to fully solving the case and also prior to providing the proper punishment to the murderer. This kind of approach of [releasing prisoners prior to solving the case] and abandoning the responsibility of solving the case is difficult to understand.

Prior to the occurrence of this murder case and after its occurrence, the Chinese government has always had a cooperative spirit towards the Hong Kong British administration; and once took all possible procedures in order to provide all possible assistance to the Hong Kong British administration. Yet, the British government and the Hong Kong British administration were unable to take effective preventive measures despite receiving notification from the Chinese government prior to the incident. In the initial period after the incident occurred, although [the British government and the Hong Kong British administration] received specific leads from the Chinese government regarding the sabotage, the British government was unable to prevent murderer Zhou Ju from escaping to Taiwan. After that, the Chinese government according to the request of the British government provided material to the Hong Kong British administration through our foreign ministry representative in Hong Kong; [the material] was forwarded [to the Hong Kong British administration] through the Indian Government’s Mr. Kaul. The material [provided to the Hong Kong British administration] was information received by China regarding Jiang Jieshi’s special agents who participated in the murder case, related leads, and detailed information on forty people. The Hong Kong British administration once admitted many times that the material provided by the Chinese government was “detailed and accurate”, “concrete and specific” and “correct”; many prisoners related to this murder case were arrested using this material. Yet, today the case can not be fully solved; instead related prisoners who were already detained have been released. This allowed those who committed the crime to be above the law; [they were] allowed to escape to Taiwan which made the complete resolution of the case without a clear date. This kind of approach by the British government is not at all in accord with the determination expressed by the British government and the Hong Kong British administration to solve the case.

Therefore, the Chinese government is raising serious objections to the British government and once again solemnly states: prior to the complete resolution of this murder case and the receiving of the deserved punishment by related murderers with their accomplices; the British government still has undeniable international responsibility. The British government should continue to conduct work towards solving the case completely. In addition [the British government] should continue to give explanation to the Chinese government and other related parties.

The highest regards for,

United Kingdom Chargé d'affaires ad interim Mr. [Con] O’Neill

Zhou Enlai (Signed)

9 August 1956

Beijing