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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 15, 1955

MINUTES OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN PREMIER ZHOU ENLAI AND BRITISH CHARGE D’AFFAIRES CON O’NEILL

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation

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    Zhou asked O’Neill to convey China’s opinions on the date and time of the first Geneva talk and a draft of Sino-US joint communiqué to the US government.
    "Minutes of Conversation between Premier Zhou Enlai and British Charge d’Affaires Con O’Neill," July 15, 1955, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 110-00141-04, 26-27. Translated by Yafeng Xia. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/110839
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/110839

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Time: 15 July 1955, 3:00-3:15 p.m.

Location: Xihuating, Zhongnanhai

Chinese in Attendance: Director-General, Huang Hua; Pu Shouchang (interpreter and recorder)

British in Attendance: Joude

Premier Zhou first handed over the Chinese government’s response to the US proposal to [O’Neill] for the British government to transmit to the US government (Attachment I).

After reading the response, O’Neill says he will immediately transmit it to the UK government, who will undoubtedly transmit it to the US government in a timely fashion. He told Premier Zhou that the UK government believes that the US proposal is very useful. Thus, he believes that the UK government will be pleased to receive this document.

Premier Zhou raises the following points:

1. Since the UK government believes this is a very useful proposal, we have taken their opinion into consideration. Thus, we have taken swift action to approve this proposal.

2. We agree not to announce this until after an agreement is reached.

3. We have an oral proposal, which we want the UK government to transmit to the US government. If the US agrees to the date we suggest for the first meeting, we propose that both sides simultaneously release a piece of news. Then, Premier Zhou reads out our draft joint communiqué (Attachment II). Premier Zhou says that this proposal, for sure, should be raised only after the US agrees to the date we have proposed. Premier Zhou then says Mr. Chargé d’affaires must have noticed that, in this piece of news, we have used all of the formulations from the US document.

O’Neill asks, does Premier Zhou suggest that Beijing and the US will release this joint communiqué simultaneously at the same location after the US agrees to the date and approves the communiqué?

Premier Zhou says yes. If the US accepts our date, then this joint communiqué should be released before 21 July. The time in the US is several hours later than that in China. We could agree to a time chosen by the US Both sides may also agree to using Greenwich Time, i.e. British time.

O’Neill says that he will definitely transmit Premier Zhou’s suggestion to the UK government.

Premier Zhou says that he hopes that Mr. Chargé d’affaires will be successful in handling his first business upon assuming office.

O’Neill thanks Premier Zhou for his good wishes. He feels fortunate to have such a good start.