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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 30, 1965

EXCERPT FROM A CONVERSATION BETWEEN ZHOU ENLAI AND ALGERIAN PRESIDENT BEN BELLA

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    In Algeria, Enlai describes the unfavorable tactics (military and negotiating) employed by the US in South Vietnam.
    "Excerpt from a Conversation between Zhou Enlai and Algerian President Ben Bella," March 30, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, CWIHP Working Paper 22, "77 Conversations." https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113056
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ZHOU ENLAI AND ALGERIAN PRESIDENT BEN BELLA[1]

Algiers, 30 March 1965

Zhou Enlai: The Vietnam question resulted completely from the trouble made by the Americans.  Originally, according to the Geneva agreement of 1954, France withdrew from Vietnam, and two years later, south and north Vietnam should unite peacefully.  But the American invasion hindered the realization of the peaceful unification of the north and the south.  At present, the United States intends to scare Vietnam by expanding the war, hoping that Vietnam will yield to American bombardment, agreeing to negotiate.  The United States also intends to scare China, forcing us to accept peace negotiations.  Further, the United States is pursuing peace negotiation through the Soviet Union, Britain, France, and other countries.  “Unconditional cease-fire”—this is nothing but requesting that the people in South Vietnam should stop armed struggle,  that North Vietnam should stop supporting the struggle in South Vietnam, and that the puppet troops in South Vietnam would be given some breathing space, so that the United States would be able to strengthen its military presence in South Vietnam.  An unconditional ceasefire in South Vietnam?  No way.  This would mean that South Vietnam would once again be enslaved, continuing to be ruled by the puppet regime.  The activities for an unconditional ceasefire are conducted by all kinds of people, including the activities by the British.  Some are directly, and some are indirectly, instructed by the United States [to do so].  But there are also some good-intentioned people who believe that the problems can be solved through peace negotiations.  But all these activities are unfavorable to the liberation of the people in South Vietnam, if viewed objectively.

[1] Ahmed Ben Bella, 1919-, President of Algeria from its independence in 1962 until he was deposed on 19 June 1965.