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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 16, 1962


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    As per Zhou Enlai's request, the Chinese Foreign Ministry put together a preliminary study of the consequences of and how to respond to two contingencies: 1/India severed diplomatic relations with China and 2/India declared war on China
    "Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 'Preliminary Study of Consequences of Severing Relations with India'," November 16, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 105-01120-01, 7-9. Obtained by Dai Chaowu and translated by 7Brands.
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Please send to Zhang Wenjin, Director of the First Department of Asian Affairs.

Gong Pusheng

17 November 1962

Top Secret

According to Premier Zhou Enlai’s instructions for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to study what would happen if India severed diplomatic relations or declares war on China and what necessary preparations China should take, we completed a preliminary study on the morning of 16 November [1962] and have assigned all the relevant departments to complete additional studies and handle [the issue].

  1. Severing Diplomatic Relations:

India will likely sever diplomatic relations with China. We should make the following preparations regarding the possible circumstances under which diplomatic relations will be severed:

(1) If India’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs makes a statement or gives a notice that it is severing diplomatic relations with China (the severing of diplomatic relations does not need to be passed by parliament or through a presidential decree. Only a notice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is required), the Chinese government will issue a statement in response putting the responsibility on India [for this state of affairs] and will include accompanying propaganda.

(2) If China and India withdraw one another’s personnel and suspend the work of embassies and consulates:

  1. There are currently 25 31 people in the Chinese Embassy in India, including two counselors and seven diplomatic officers. [We are] planning to send a cable to the [Chinese] Embassy in India to withdraw some personnel in a short amount of time. There are also too many personnel in the consulates [illegible handwritten note] and only four or five personnel should remain. We should send a notice to the personnel remaining in the embassy and consulates to complete return formalities in a timely manner, just in case there is not enough time when India declares it is severing diplomatic relations or if India finds an excuse to detain [these diplomatic personnel].
  2. [We are] planning to notify the Chinese Embassy and consulates in India to send back properties which can be sent back.

(3) Entrusting a third country to protect interests of China:

  1. According to international practices, there are two ways to determine a country which is entrusted [to protect the interests of another]:
    1. In addition to the consent of the entrusted third country, it is subject to the direct consent of the country severing diplomatic relations.
    2. It is only subject to the consent of the entrusted third country, and this country will notify the other party that is severing diplomatic relations.

China: [We] can consider entrusting Poland to protect China’s interests in India. If India does not consent, we will propose Burma.

India: It is likely to entrust the United Kingdom or the United Arab Republic to protect its interests in China. If India does not consent to our selection of Poland, we will not consent to its selection of the United Kingdom.

If India proposes a country unfavorable to China, such as Yugoslavia, we will refuse this proposal.

There has been a case in which the countries entrusted the same country (Switzerland).

[We are] planning to immediately draft a note for entrusting a third country.

According to Liu Zerong, when the Guomindang [the Nationalist Party] severed diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, it once dispatched non-senior personnel of the Nationalist Government to work in the embassy of the entrusted country in the Soviet Union to assist in overseas Chinese affairs.

Additionally, it is also feasible that [we] do not dispatch personnel to assist if the entrusted country assigns more personnel to handle overseas Chinese affairs.

  1. We should set out to notify the country entrusted by us of the situation of the matters [we] have requested they handle: our properties in India and the Chinese in India. Therefore, we should notify the Chinese Embassy and consulates in India in advance to properly put their assets in order and closely investigate the situation of the Chinese in India.

(4) The Chinese in India (the Department of Consular Affairs is consulting the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office)

  1. Now there are about 20,000 Chinese in India. India may take different measures according to their political relations and attitudes:
    1. to detain them in concentration camps,
    2. to deport them from India prior to a deadline,
    3. to allow them to stay in India to carry out activities unfavorable to China.
  1. We have made a preliminary consultation with the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office about the measures we should take if India further infringes upon the interests of Chinese in India: make a statement and compare [India’s policies towards Chinese in India] with China’s policies towards Indians in China. There are not many Indians in China, so it is more advantageous if we do not take retaliatory measures.
  1. We should make preparations for withdrawing Chinese in India and sending vessels [to do so].
  1. [We are] planning to consult the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office to learn more about the assets of the Chinese in India and advise them to transfer their assets through the proper channels.
  1. Employees of the Bank of China in India should withdraw immediately rather than wait for the court to file a lawsuit.

(5) After India severs diplomatic relations with China, we will notify the Soviet Union not to fly to India via China’s territorial air space over China’s Xinjiang. We presently allow planes to fly in the air higher than 9000 meters.

(6) Handling existing agreements between China and India after the severing of diplomatic relations:

  1. We should consider the cancellation of entrusting India to assist Chinese in the United States with returning to China;
  1. We should consider the relationship with the Indian president of the International Committee established under the agreement of the two Geneva Conferences.

According to general international practices, the severing of diplomatic relations between two countries shall not impact multilateral treaties.

(7) We should consider opening shipping routes which do not go through India.

(II) The Circumstances of India Declaring War and Preparations We Should Make

(1) Declaring war:

  1. India: Officially declaring war with China;
  1. China: [We] should prepare a statement in response to India’s declaration of war on China and publicize our attitude to international and domestic circles. [We] should study whether or not a Chinese declaration of war with India is pursuant to the constitution.
  1. According to the international practices, all countries will take a stand following India’s declaration of war. We will complete further study of this matter.

(2) India may impose a naval blockade against China, intercepting and robbing Chinese ships, materials, and personnel. [We are] planning to discuss countermeasures with the Ministry of Foreign Trade, the Ministry of Communications, and the Naval Command.

(3) We should withdraw personnel from the Chinese Embassy and consulates in India. (The same as if diplomatic relations are severed)

(4) We should entrust a third country to take custody over China’s interests. (The same as if diplomatic relations are severed)

(5) Chinese in India and Indians in China

  1. Chinese in India: [China] will prepare to pick up Chinese in India and return them to China. If India persecutes Chinese in India—for example, detaining them in concentration camps—we will entrust a third country to protect them. We will complete an additional study of the terms favorable to us in the Geneva Convention related to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.
  1. Indians in China: We should properly manage them. The specific measures are subject to additional study.