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Digital Archive International History Declassified

April 04, 1955


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    The participants in the Asian-African Conference had the common interest in pursuing international peace and national economic and cultural development. China should take the advantage of this Conference to promote national independence movement and to establish stronger relations with Asian and African countries. According to this goal, the plan listed the common issues that all participants faced, the issues that existed between China and other countries, and the issues that China alone was facing. It also spelled out the relations of China and different groups of counties in the Conference, as well as the logistic issues.
    "Report from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, 'Draft Plan for Attending the Asian-African Conference'," April 04, 1955, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 207-00004-01, 1-7. Obtained by Amitav Acharya and translated by Yang Shanhou
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[Handwritten] Chairman:

I now send you the Draft Plans for participating in the Asian-African Conference and visiting Indonesia. Please read them. The plans have been sent to the comrades of the Political Bureau separately. Please make an appointment with them to have a discussion tomorrow (5th) afternoon at 4 o’clock, because the name-list of the delegation must be passed the day after tomorrow at the State Conference and the Political Consultative Conference will have a forum to discuss the policy. The delegation will leave Beijing on 7.

Zhou Enlai, Apr. 4

Top secret

Plan for Attending the Asian-African Conference (Draft)

The Asian-African Conference will be an international conference held by most of the Asian-African countries without the participation of imperialism. The Asian-African Conference will be held at the time when the Statements between China and India and between China and Burma are exerting great influence in Asian-African region and the struggle of the Asian-African people for peace and independence is running high on the one hand and US imperialism is organizing or expanding aggressive cliques everywhere in an attempt to intensify its control over the Asian-African countries and actively prepare for launching new wars on the other hand. US is trying to use its vassal countries in the Asian-African Conference to undermine this conference. But the participating countries include not only China and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, but also quite a number of “peace and neutralist” countries and the countries close to “peace and neutralism,” all of which have in varying extent the common desire of demanding for peace, independence and developing their national economy and culture. Therefore, we have favorable conditions in the Asian-African Conference to expand the cause of peace force in the Asian-African region, even in the whole world.

Based on the above-mentioned general situations, our general line in the Asian-African Conference should be to strive to expand the united front of the world peace force, promote the development of the national independence movement and create conditions for establishing work or diplomatic relations between China and a number of Asian-African countries.

Under this general line, our counter-proposals to the various issues of the Asian-African Conference are as follows:

1. The common issues of the Asian-African Conference

(1) Peaceful Co-existence and friendship and cooperation.

Our proposal is: Safeguard the world peace, maintain national independence and promote the friendship and cooperation among all countries for this purpose. The friendship and cooperation should be based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-Existence and opposition to aggression and war. Strive for the acceptance of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-Existence by more countries so as to expand the peaceful zone and establish a collective peace, and make every effort to issue a Peace Treaty or a Declaration of Maintaining the World Peace by the Asian-African Conference.

(2) Relaxation of international tensions.

We advocate the relaxation of the international tensions, including the tension in Taiwan region, through international negotiations. We shall have no objection in case somebody generally puts forward a proposal for convening an international conference to ease the Far East tension. However, if some country proposes or hints at the participation of the Jiang Jieshi [Chiang Kai-shek] traitorous clique in the international conference on the Taiwan issue, we must object it.

(3) Colonialism

Oppose colonialism of all types, taking USA as the main target of attack and pointing out that the military groups, military bases, the policy of embargo and monopoly, etc. are imperialism in essence, and that the establishment of military bases on the territory of other countries is the violation of the UN Charter and the sovereignty of other countries, and at the same time, support the independence movements of all colonies and oppose the practice which is not in conformity with the UN Charter in trust land.

(4) Racial discrimination

Oppose racial discrimination and the sense of racial superiority, and advocate the equality of all races.

(5) Society

Do not talk about the general social issues, but stress the achievements obtained in our various social reforms since the founding of the People's Republic of China, including land reform, the restoration and development of economy, employment, labor conditions, education, public health, women, ethnic groups, etc.

(6) Economy

We advocate conducting trade on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, developing technical and economic cooperation in order to consolidate and promote peace and development of independent economies of relevant countries.
Oppose embargo and "aid" with political conditions. In regard to the establishment of organizations of international economic cooperation, we should agree in general, but should not undertake the obligations and bounds against the interest of our country.

(7) Culture

We propose to carry out a broad exchange of culture among various countries on the basis of respecting the national culture of each country. Do not object to the specific measures of cultural exchange submitted in the conference.

(8) Friendly visit

We advocate that the the governments, parliaments and nongovernmental organizations shall exchange friendly visits on a reciprocal basis so as to promote the mutual understanding and the possibility of cooperation.

(9) Atomic weapons

We advocate prohibiting and destroying atomic weapons and all weapons of mass destruction. If another country proposes to ban the use of atomic weapons, or control the atomic weapons, or stop the experiment, etc., we should take an active attitude and support it to be listed in the communique or declaration.

(10) Indochina

Our advocacy is: resolutely execute the Geneva Agreement, oppose the activities of the Manila Conference and Bangkok Conference to undermine the Geneva Agreement. With regard to the execution of the Geneva Agreement, the key is that all the Indochinese countries shall not join any military alliances, undermine the democratic elections, and move away the troops (from Hai Phong) according to the timetable.

(11) United Nations

We support the UN Charter, but oppose all actions of violating the UN Charter, including the action of depriving the legal status of the People's Republic of China in the UN. We generally maintain that independent countries should not be rejected from joining the UN. If some country proposes some specific countries of the Asian-African region to join the UN, we should adopt an unanimous position with the Soviet Union, i.e. Ceylon, Nepal, Jordan and Libya should be accepted as UN members together with the other ten countries, including Romania; The time for the Indochinese countries to join the UN shall come when the complete political solution in accordance with the Geneva Agreement has been realized; Japan's joining of the UN is subject to its conclusion of official treaties with China, Soviet Union and Indonesia.

(12) Permanent institution of the Asian-African Conference

Strive to establish a permanent institution of the Asian-African Conference and convene a meeting every other year, and suggest to hold the next meeting in India.

2. Relations between China and the other participating countries

In addition to China and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the participating countries may be generally divided in several categories as following:

(1) "Peaceful and neutral" countries: India, Burma, Indonesia and Afghanistan.

(2) Close to "peaceful and neutral" countries: Egypt, the Sudan, Nepal, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, the Gold Coast, Cambodia, Laos and Ceylon.

(3) Close to "anti-peaceful and anti-neutral" countries: Japan, South Vietnam, Jordan, Libya, Liberia, Iran, Iraq, Abyssnia and Pakistan.

(4) "Anti-peaceful and anti-neutral" countries: Thailand, the Philippines and Turkey.

All these countries waver in certain extent, the second and the third categories even greater in particular. Under the general line of expanding the peace and united front, we should unite the countries of the first category, win over the second, influence the third and isolate or split the fourth in the conference.

Outside of the conference, we should select some key countries from each category as our work target. Besides the Colombo countries, the other key countries are Egypt and Japan.

A. India, Indonesia and Burma: try to discuss all issues related to the conference with these countries beforehand.

B. Egypt and other countries: try to establish diplomatic or business (for example, set up commercial institutions in each others countries) relations with Egypt and Syria, solve the issue of diplomatic envoy with Nepal, and solve the issue of pilgrimage with Saudi Arabia.

C. Japan: try to solve the issues unsolved by the trade delegation and lay a foundation for establishing business relations.

D. Thailand and the Philippines: try to contact them and influence them in certain extent.

E. South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia: promote them to approach Vietnam and prevent them from further undermining the Geneva Agreement.

3. The Special Issues of China

(1) Taiwan: In all discussions, firmly oppose the legalization of the US occupation of Taiwan, insist on the slogan of liberating Taiwan, do not accept "two Chinas", insist on the withdrawal of US from Taiwan and its armed forces from Taiwan Straits, and the stop of US interference in the internal affairs of China. We support the proposal of the Soviet Union for convening a ten-country conference to discuss the situation of the Taiwan region and the proposal of India for carrying out diplomatic contact, and find an opportunity to express the possibility of peaceful liberation of Taiwan under the pre-condition of the withdrawal of US from Taiwan and its armed forces from Taiwan Straits.

(2) The so-called Communist subversive activities: Strictly distinguish internal affairs from the Communist ideology. It is right that the Asian-African Conference shall not discuss the issue of Communism, but we may make a hint at a proper occasion, such as in the Rangoon talks, that we agree not to discuss the Communist issue, but not fear to discuss it. If somebody mentions this issue, we should point out that the internal affairs are not allowed to interfere, but the influence and spread of the Communist ideology can not be prevented; revolution can not be exported, but at the same time the people's common will of any country is also not allowed to be interfered with by any external forces.

(3) Overseas Chinese: First of all, reach an all-round agreement with Indonesia, and then seize opportunities to discuss the solution of the overseas Chinese issue with other countries on the basis of this agreement.

(4) US pilots: Inform U Nu and Nehru before the Asian-African Conference that we shall announce the verdict of guilty for the four US pilots for invading our territorial air space and expel them from China, which will be done before the Asian-African Conference.

(5) Other: We have border disputes with some of the participating countries, and some countries slandered China of trafficking narcotics and forced labor and detention of prisoners of war. It is anticipated that the possibility is very small for these countries to put forward such issues in the conference. However, if some country slanders us, we shall refute it.

4. Methods of activity

(1) Pre-conference preparations: Plan to start off on April 7, arrive in Burma on April 14 and arrive in Indonesia on 16. Meet the Prime Ministers of Burma and India in Burma, the Indonesian Prime Minister in Indonesia, and may meet the Egyptian Prime Minister, the Afghan Vice Prime Minister and the Prime Ministers of Pakistan and Ceylon in the journey or before the conference. In the meetings, we should sound out about the contents of the conference, their positions on the establishment of a permanent institution, and at the same time, we must talk about the Taiwan issue so as to let these countries know clearly the position of our country on Taiwan issue before the conference in order to avoid spending too much time on it.

(2) Activities in the conference: In addition to the group meetings, plan to make a speech respectively at the opening and closing ceremonies of the conference and during the conference. The key of the entire activities is the contacts outside of the conference. Through these contacts, we shall explain our positions and strive to solve some specific issues. The coordination of the activities inside or outside the conference will depends on the specific change of the situation at that time.