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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 31, 1962

CABLE FROM LI JUSHENG, 'REPORT ON HANDING OVER THE LETTER OF THE PREMIER TO SUKARNO'

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    Li Jusheng reported to the Chinese Foreign Ministry on his conversation with Indonesian Assistant to First Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs Su-wei-duo. The exchange concerned efforts from Indonesia and Egypt to find an acceptable solution to the Sino-Indian conflict, several points from the Chinese proposal that was unclear to Indonesia, a remarkable absence of demands for the Western and Central sectors in Nehru's letter to Nasser, and the importance of not letting this dispute hinder the preparation for the next Asian-African Conference
    "Cable from Li Jusheng, 'Report on Handing over the Letter of the Premier to Sukarno'," October 31, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 105-01787-06, 65-67. Obtained by Dai Chaowu and translated by 7Brands. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114769
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Report on Handing over the Letter of the Premier [Zhou Enlai] to Sukarno

[To] The Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

According to the instructions of the cable dated 28 October, yesterday afternoon I handed the letter from Premier Zhou to Sukarno over to Su-wei-duo [sic] (Assistant to First Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs) and told him to pass it on to Sukarno. Judging from the talk with Su-wei-duo, Indonesia is not clear about the “Line of Actual Control” proposed by us. Indonesia also wants to seek a “middle path” as Nasser has done; for example, Su-wei-duo indicated that Indonesia is completing a careful study of a “cease-fire line” acceptable to both parties. Su-wei-duo’s remarks are summarized as follows:

(1) Concerning channels for solving the Sino-Indian boundary issue: Su-wei-duo expressed that the Sino-Indian boundary dispute is not only harmful to the two countries, but also impacts Afro-Asian solidarity. Indonesia is therefore very concerned and hopes that the parties can settle the dispute through negotiations. Although Indonesia knows it is difficult, it is willing to think up some measures from the perspective of a third party. In Su-wei-duo’s opinion, in order to avoid further military conflicts, the first step is to proceed from a ceasefire and cease hostilities to create a favorable atmosphere for peace talks. The second step is to determine a “temporary demarcation line of ceasefire.” The third step is for the two countries to determine the permanent boundary line through friendly and peaceful means after ending hostilities and easing the relationship. Su-wei-duo believes that, at present, the most difficult point is to determine which line should be the basis for the ceasefire because China and India have differences over this aspect. Su-wei-duo was unclear about the “Line of Actual Control” proposed by China and repeatedly asked how far this line is from the “borders on 8 September” proposed by India. Su-wei-duo said that, in reply to Nasser, Nehru asked whether it was true that the Chinese army went 30 to 50 kilometers south beyond the McMahon Line. How far has the Chinese army gone beyond the McMahon Line? I largely answered these questions in accordance with Premier Zhou’s letter and I did not mention specific circumstances, but I refuted Nehru’s lies. Su-wei-duo said that Indonesia was making a careful study of a “ceasefire line” acceptable to both parties because currently the most important thing is to cease hostilities and avoid conflict in the future. Su-wei-duo disclosed that the United Arab Republic has similar ideas. Finally Su-wei-duo said he hoped that China could provide detailed maps of the Sino-Indian boundary for reference. I replied that I would contact China [about this matter].

(2) Su-wei-duo told me that Indonesia had recently received, in the care of the United Arab Republic, a copy of the letter from Nehru to Nasser. Nehru accused the Chinese army of “going 30 to 50 kilometers south beyond the McMahon Line” and put forth the demand that peace talks must restore the “8 September borders.” Su-wei-duo believes that there is an important item in Nehru’s letter; that is, Nehru did not mention the issues or demands concerning the central and Western sectors. His “8 September borders” only referred to “the northeast special region.” Su-wei-duo said that it is still difficult to conclude whether this means India will no longer haggle over the central and Western sectors, but this deserves our attention.

(3) Concerning the relationship between the Sino-India boundary issue and the Asian-African Conference: Su-wei-duo believes that the Sino-Indian boundary conflict has had a big influence upon India’s attitude toward convening the second Asian-African Conference and thereby also affects the attitudes of Pakistan and Burma. Now India has taken this issue as one excuse for dissenting to the convening of the second Asian-African Conference, arguing that it would be difficult to have a successful meeting and that issues between Asian countries cannot be discussed at the meeting. Their reason is that this cannot help solve the problem but will cause relations to become more strained. Su-wei-duo said that Indonesia did not agree to this argument and had shown to India and the United Arab Republic that, instead, convening the second Asian-African Conference will create a good atmosphere and will be conducive to the settlement of disputes; enabling, for example, Premier Zhou to meet Nehru in an atmosphere of Asian-African solidarity. Su-wei-duo said that India’s non-attendance will affect Pakistan, Pakistan hoped that both India and Pakistan would attend the conference so that some problems between them could be solved in an atmosphere of Asian-African solidarity without being affected by countries outside Asia and Africa. India said that it would not attend so Pakistan also became reluctant to attend. In addition, Burma has not given a clear answer and it seems that it is still trying to get a sense of India’s attitude. Although Ceylon said it is willing to attend, it is also still trying to figure out India’s attitude. Su-wei-duo said that, under these circumstances, the conference may be cancelled. This is why Indonesia also wants to consider some measures to settle the Sino-Indian dispute, hoping that it will create a good atmosphere and enable the second Asian-African Conference to be convened. Judging from Su-wei-duo’s talk, he is rather dissatisfied with India not discussing the convention of the Asian-African Conference under the excuse of the Sino-Indian boundary issue, but he said nothing about India invading Chinese territory.

Li Jusheng

31 October 1962