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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 10, 1965

LETTER FROM ZHANG AIPING, ET AL., TO ZHOU ENLAI AND LUO RUIQING ON THE NUCLEAR TEST

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)

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    On May 10, Chinese military officials confirm that they are prepared to detonate an aerial nuclear explosion but, due to unfavorable weather conditions, must postpone the test until May 12 or 13.
    "Letter from Zhang Aiping, et al., to Zhou Enlai and Luo Ruiqing on the Nuclear Test," May 10, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Dang de wenxian (Party Historical Documents), no. 3 (1994): 26. Translated by Neil Silver. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114360
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Report to the Premier [Zhou Enlai], the Chief of the General Staff, the Special Commission, the [Central] Military Commission, and the Central Committee [of the CCP]:

Cold weather has now decisively settled over southern Xinjiang. It is projected that the weather (tangerine) will gradually improve from 1400 hours [two o’clock p.m.] on May 11, and conditions will be right to detonate (the melons have ripened) on May 12 and May 13.

This afternoon we held a meeting of the Testing Party Committee and of the Testing Commission members, studying various items of work in the wake of the [May] 8th live fire exercise and also again checking and arranging various preparatory work. Now the test site (the market) is prepared and is awaiting the order; detonation can occur eight hours after the order is given (the melons have ripened). The meeting unanimously agreed that, as a standard [against which to judge the] implementation of various kinds of [preparatory] work, detonation (the melons have ripened) should be fixed for 0800 hours [eight o’clock a.m.] on May 12. The specific time will be reported on May 11 at 2000 hours [eight o’clock p.m.] {Boom Six (the Old Unit Six)} will hang the bomb (throw the apple) between the 0800 hours [eight o’clock a.m.] and 1500 hours [three o’clock p.m.] on the 11th; there will be no special influence on the accuracy).

Zhang Aiping, Liu Xiyao, Cheng Jun, Zhang Zhenhuan, Zhang Yunyu

10 May 1965 at 2300 hours 

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张爱萍等关于核试验致周恩来、罗瑞卿函

1965510

报总理、总长并专委、军委并报中央:

目前冷空气已大举进入南疆,预计五月十一日十四时起,气象(橘子)逐渐转好,五月十二日、五月十三日符合起爆(瓜熟了)的条件。

今日下午召开试验党委会和试验委员会,研究了自八日实战演习后的各项工作,并对各项准备工作再次进行了检查和布署。现在试验场(市场)已处于待命状态,下令后八小时即可起爆(瓜熟了)。会议一致认为将起爆(瓜熟了)预定在五月十二日八时,作为进行各项工作的标准。具体时间待五月十一日二十时再报(轰六(老六组)在十一日八时至十五时间挂弹(投苹果),对准确度均无特殊影响)。

张爱萍、刘西尧、成钧、张震寰、张蕴钰

1965年5月10日23时