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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 22, 1954


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    Zhou Enlai informed the Chinese government that his purposes of visiting India were to prepare the signing of an Asian peace and to build peace in the Indochina area. He also stated his plans regarding the negotiations of several treaties. The Chinese government agreed with his plans.
    "Cable from Zhou Enlai, 'Premier’s Intentions and Plans to Visit India'," June 22, 1954, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 203-00005-01, 3-4. Translated by Jeffrey Wang.
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Telegraph file

Priority level: Extra Special Rush

From: Geneva

Date: 22 June 1954

Already Forwarded to: Mao [Zedong], Liu [Shaoqi], Zhou [Enlai], Zhu [De], Chen [Yun], Peng [Dehuai], Deng [Xiaoping], Xi [Zhongxun], Yang, and the Foreign Ministry

Premier’s [Zhou Enlai] Intentions and Plans to Visit India

To the Chairman [Mao Zedong], Comrade [Liu] Shaoqi, and the Central Committee:

The cable dated 20 June was received.

The purpose of this visit to India is to conduct preparation work for signing some form of Asian peace treaty and to strike a blow at the United States’ conspiracy to organize a Southeast Asia invasive bloc;[1] [this trip will also] further the return of peace to Indochina. [I] estimate that it is impossible to sign any treaties during [this trip to India]. However if there is a request then there will be the need to have various countries’ related foreign relation organizations conduct specific negotiations; and then the treaty can be signed. Therefore it is unnecessary to prepare official formal documents for this trip; rather talks will be conducted according to the centrally approved three principles for an Asia peace treaty. Regarding talks about the Indochina issue, we will exchange views with the Indian side according to the centrally approved direction; [we will] attempt to have India exercise its influence to push for the support of the British Commonwealth for the Indochina ceasefire. In addition, [we will] further [India’s] understanding of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

Regarding the issue of signing bilateral or multilateral non-aggression treaties with India, Indonesia and Burma, we will mention our position once we clearly understand India’s specific intentions. In the preliminary negotiations for agreements between China and India, [we will] state that we can consider all of the following: multilateral forms [of treaties] or a series of bilateral [treaties], or even signing some kind of commercial agreement. [Jawaharlal] Nehru might at the occasion mention the issue of the relationship between our country and Burma; we will probably initiate and suggest establishing a non-aggression agreement with Burma. Nehru might ask us to visit Yangon on the way, if this is so, then we will agree. During the talks, we will ask if Nehru can visit China this year, if possible ask him to visit China during National Day. If Nehru expressed that the prime ministers of Burma and Indonesia can also visit China [at the same time] then express our welcome to [that arrangement].

We will not initiate involvement with the dispute between India and Pakistan, [but if we become involved] we will emphasize that South East Asian countries should unite against the invasion of the United States.

Regarding the Nepal issue, express that we are preparing to establish diplomatic relations [with Nepal]. [Text redacted]. After reaching Delhi, we should probably issue a statement at the airport as a salutation to the Indian people. During the period in Delhi we should present flowers at Gandhi’s tomb; and if possible attempt to gain the opportunity to issue a friendly joint communiqué with India prior to departure. Please provide instructions on the various points above.

Zhou Enlai

22 June 1954

[1] This is in reference to the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), created in September 1954.