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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 15, 1954


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    Report from the Hungarian Chargé d’Affaires in Beijing which talks about the dispute between China, North Korea and the US over POW's. The report also speculates on the reason for India's position on this issue.
    "Report, Legation of the Hungarian People’s Republic in Beijing to the Foreign Ministry of Hungary," January 15, 1954, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MOL, XIX-J-1-j-Korea-11/f-00317/1954 9.d. Translated by Jószef Litkei.
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The Legation of the Hungarian People's Republic.

Top Secret.
4 copies prepared. 3 for FM, 1 for embassy.

Beijing, 15 January 1954.
Subject: Chinese opinion concerning the Korean question.

In the course of a conversation with Comrade Wu Xiuquan [Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs] on 2 January, he told me the following.

They think that it is very likely that the political conference can only be started after the beginning of the Berlin conference, but it is also possible that it can be started only after the Berlin conference is over. The beginning of the Berlin conference, its course, and [its] outcome will have a great impact on the entire international situation, and therefore on the Korean political conference as well.

The Chinese-Korean side is taking political advantage of the Americans' stonewalling tactics, revealing to the world what is the real meaning of [the Americans' policy], while they [the Chinese-Korean side] on the other hand are urging the resumption of the negotiations.

Another reason why the Americans are delaying the political conference is the question of prisoners of war, and [the Americans' attempts to] prevent a solution concerning the[ir] ideological education.1 According to the Chinese government, the decisive factor in the question of prisoners of war is not the issue of the prisoners themselves, but the political aspect of the question. By preventing ideological education, the USA broke the armistice agreement.

In the eyes of international public opinion, this already means a great defeat for [the US]. This further contributes to the violation of the agreement by the so-called UN Forces. If on 22 or 23 January, they execute the greatly-publicized liberation of the prisoners of war, which will entail penetrating into the neutral zone, they will again unmask themselves. At the same time, the Chinese-Korean side is strictly keeping the regulations of the armistice agreement.

It was interesting that although in December Indian General Thimayya, in the majority resolution (Indian, Czechoslovakian, Polish) concerning the prisoners' of war ideological education, condemned the UN's quibbling concerning ending the detention of the prisoners of war, on 23 January he represented the US position and took a stand for the release of the prisoners of war. The Chinese government, specifically Comrades Zhou Enlai and [Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs] Zhang Hanfu, informed the Indian government through Ambassador Raghavan that this declaration seemed to indicate that the Indian government would support the Americans' machinations which are trying to prevent resolution of the prisoners of war problem. According to the Chinese government, this does not correspond to India's neutral position. In this way, they exerted pressure on the Indian government, which a few days later resulted in Nehru making his well-known statement in which he declared that he supports prolonging the ideological education and ordered General Thimayya to withdraw his declaration and represent the position of the Indian government. In this way, it was achieved that despite all hesitations, India took a position concerning the prisoners of war issue that at least appeared to be neutral.

In my opinion, the reason for India's hesitation and contradictory statements is that it wants to take advantage of its neutral position vis-a-vis the US and to profit from publicly defending the Chinese-Korean position. It particularly needs this tactical advantage concerning the issues of Pakistan's armaments, the establishment of military bases, and the Kashmir question. At the moment, [India's] neutral statements favor the peace-camp.

charge d'affaires ad interim

1 TRANSLATOR'S NOTE: The literal translation of the term used here and elsewhere in the document would be "explanatory work." This, however, would not give the proper meaning.