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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 11, 1965

LETTER FROM ZHOU ENLAI TO MAO ZEDONG 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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    Zhou Enlai informs Mao Zedong that favorable weather conditions will allow them to carry out the aerial nuclear test explosion. An official statement for the press has also been prepared.
    "Letter from Zhou Enlai to Mao Zedong on the Nuclear Test ," May 11, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Dang de wenxian (Party Historical Documents), no. 3 (1994): 27. Translated by Neil Silver. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114361
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Chairman [Mao Zedong]:

The aerial test this time was originally scheduled to be carried out on the morning of May 8. At that time, owing to a sudden change in meteorological conditions, winds in the upper atmosphere shifted from the west toward the northeast, unfavorable to an aerial test, and thus an order was issued on the spot to halt [the aerial test].

After two days of observation, the weather this afternoon gradually turned favorable. There will likely be more than twenty hours of good weather between the 12th and the 13th. After consulting yesterday evening with [Luo] Ruiqing, [Yang] Cheng Wu, Liu Jie and other comrades, we have already told the front to prepare to proceed. I have just now received a telegram from the front (attached); the action is already set for tomorrow.

An after-action press communique (attached) has already been carefully scrutinized by comrades on the [Politburo] Standing Committee, and I now send it for your approval. If it’s all right, please tell Xu Yefu to reply to me by telephone. 

Zhou Enlai

11 May [1965]

CHINESE (TRANSCRIPTION) HTML

周恩来关于核试验致毛泽东函

1965511

主席:

这次空试,原定五月八日上午进行。当时由于气象突变,高空风从西风转为东北风,不便空试,故临时下令停止。

经过两天观察,今日下午起气象逐渐转好,从十二日到十三日大概有二十多小时的好天气。昨晚经与瑞卿、成武、刘杰等同志商定,已告前方准备行动。现得前方来电(附上),已定明日行动。

行动后的新闻公报(附后)已经常委各同志审阅,现送上请核。如可,请告徐业夫以电话复我。

周恩来

5月11日