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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 22, 1962

MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN CHINESE VICE FOREIGN MINISTER ZHANG HANFU AND SOVIET AMBASSADOR STEPAN CHERVONENKO

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation

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    Stepan Chervonenko and Zhang Hanfu discuss the ongoing border dispute between India and China, and Chervonenko presents a Soviet memorandum outlining the USSR's stance toward the war.
    "Memorandum of Conversation between Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Hanfu and Soviet Ambassador Stepan Chervonenko," October 22, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 109-03804-02, 15-17. Obtained by Dai Chaowu and translated by 7Brands https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114764
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Memorandum of Conversation Vice Minister Zhang Hanfu
and Ambassador of the Soviet Union in China [Stepan] Chervonenko

(Comrade Hanfu has not reviewed this)

---Soviet Reply to the Memorandum of Conversation between Premier Zhou [Enlai] and the Soviet Ambassador on the Sino-Indian Border Issue on 8 October [1962]---

Time: 22 October 1962, 12:00 p.m.

Location: Reception Room of Headquarters

Attendee: Yu Zhan, Deputy Director of Soviet and European Affairs; R. Kudashev, Second Secretary of the Soviet Embassy

Translator: Yan Mingfu

Recorder: Cheng Yuyao

[Stepan] Chervonenko: The government of the Soviet Union has entrusted me to meet with Premier Zhou to discuss the issues mentioned in the conversation between us on 8 October.

Vice Minister Zhang [Hanfu]: Premier Zhou is very busy and he has entrusted me to receive you.

Chervonenko: If you have no objections, please let the translator tell you the contents of the four page document. (One copy of the memorandum was submitted and a Chinese version was attached.)

Vice Minister Zhang: I will report it to Premier Zhou.

Chervonenko: I have paid very close attention to news about the situation at the border in the newspapers. Is the situation basically the same as was reported in the morning paper?

Vice Minister Zhang: Premier Zhou discussed what happened on 8 October. After this, on 6 October, the Indian government flatly refused the Chinese government’s recommendation to hold negotiations on the border issue for the third time. On 12 October, Nehru announced that [he] had already ordered for the Chinese army to be removed from Chinese territory. On 14 October, [V. K. Krishna] Menon, the Indian Defense Minister, declared that [India] would fight against the Chinese to the last man and the last bullet. On 16 October, Nehru, immediately following his return to India from Ceylon, held a senior officers meeting. On 20 October, the Indian army launched a large-scale and all-sided attack against our frontier forces at the Sino-Indian border. From 20 [October] until today (22 [October]), the situation of the all-sided invasion of our border by the Indian army and the Chinese army’s counterattack has been reported in newspapers and the Ambassador has read this [information]. Simply put, we have destroyed several of India’s invasive outputs in the Western Sector of the Sino-Indian border and the Indian army has withdrawn from some of the places which it occupied. However, they still occupy some places and the fighting has continued. In the Eastern Sector, we recovered some of the places which the Indian army had invaded through our counterattack, [but] a fierce fight continues. What is important is that India has encroached upon Chinese territory and China has not encroached upon Indian territory. It must be made explicitly clear that India is the aggressor and China has been forced to defend itself and defend its own territory. As was said above, it is India that rejected peace talks to solve the Sino-Indian border issue, while China has consistently adhered to a peaceful solution to this issue. As noted above, it was India who invaded the Chinese border and occupied Chinese territory and launched an all-sided attack against the Chinese border defense army. This was intolerable to China and [China] was forced to fight back. Another point to note is that Nehru instigated the rebellion in Tibet and met with the Dalai Lama a few days ago. The Indian government clamors to support and recognize the fugitive Tibetan government. Who is right must be made clear. It is incorrect to not talk about right and wrong, telling black from white. The Chinese government has always held that the Chinese people are friendly to the Indian people. The Chinese government has consistently advocated a peaceful settlement of the Sino-Indian border issue through negotiations. Even right now, as the Indian army is launching an all-sided attack against the Chinese border defense army and China has been forced to fight back, we will not give up the possibility of seeking a stop to the armed conflict and resolving the Sino-Indian border issue through peace negotiations. As for the situation at the frontlines, it has been reported in detail in the newspapers.

Chervonenko: Thank you.

Vice Minister Zhang: I will report this to Premier Zhou.

Chervonenko: The government of the Soviet Union believes that the Chinese government’s efforts on this issue over the years will allow the border issue to be resolved. The government of the Soviet Union has carefully studied what Comrade Zhou Enlai discussed on 8 October and what the newspapers have reported. The attitude and wishes [of the government of the Soviet Union] are expressed in this document. No one doubts that if the Indian bourgeoisie continue their aggression, China will have the strength and will likely give a full counterattack.

Vice Minister Zhang: Yes, we must give the proper counterattack against India’s armed invasion and attack.

Chervonenko: As for Nehru meeting with the Dalai, did it happen before or after Nehru’s visit to Ceylon?

Vice Minister Zhang: I cannot remember the exact date. As far as I can remember, it was after his visit to Ceylon.

Deputy Director Yu: After his return.

Chervonenko: Thank you.