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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 11, 1964

LETTER FROM ZHOU ENLAI TO MAO ZEDONG, ET AL., ON THE NUCLEAR EXPLOSION

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation, Carnegie Corporation

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    Zhou Enlai notifies Mao Zedong and other prominent political and military officials that preparations have been made to detonate the explosion between October 15 and 20, depending on weather conditions. Attention is also given to the high level of secrecy surrounding the explosion, methods of data collection, publicity, and the political consequences of the explosion.
    "Letter from Zhou Enlai to Mao Zedong, et al., on the Nuclear Explosion," October 11, 1964, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Dang de wenxian (Party Historical Documents), no. 3 (1994): 21. Translated by Neil Silver. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114357
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Chairman [Mao Zedong], Comrades Liu [Shaoqi], Lin [Biao], Deng [Xiaoping], Peng [Zhen], He [Long], Nie [Rongzhen] and Luo [Ruiqing]:

I am forwarding the October 10 three o’clock report sent via airplane by comrades Zhang Aiping and Liu Xiyao. Please read it carefully. Everything has now been prepared. I intend to preserve secrecy by telling him [Zhang Aiping] using code words over a wired telephone line that we agree with all the arrangements described in their letter, and that between October 15 and 20 they should decide the date and time of the explosion based on weather conditions on site, and report to us.

Separately, please read Liu Jie’s report of the same day. Chief [of the PLA General Staff] Luo [Ruiqing], please tell the General Staff Headquarters to undertake the responsibility for checking up, coordinating and directing air defense, shifting to Liu Jie the responsibility for supervising and carrying out the work related to data, equipment and instrumentation, and the protection of secrecy.

Preparations are now under way with respect to publicity and political struggle in the wake of a successful explosion, and will be reported on separately. 

Zhou Enlai

11 October [1964], 1:30 a.m.

CHINESE (TRANSCRIPTION) HTML

周恩来关于核爆炸致毛泽东等人函

19641011

主席、刘、林、邓、彭、贺、聂、罗各同志:

送上张爱萍、刘西尧两同志从现场经飞机送来的十月十日三时报告,请予审阅。现一切已准备好了,拟经保密有线电话以暗语告他,同意来信所说的一切布置,从十月十五日到二十日之间,由他们根据现场气象情况决定起爆日期时间,并告我们。

另外,送上刘杰同日报告请阅。防空方面请罗总告总参负责检查、联系和指挥,转移资料、设备、仪器和保密工作,由刘杰负责督促进行。

关于起爆有效后的宣传和政治斗争,正在进行准备,当另报。

周恩来

10月11日1时半