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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 07, 1963


This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation

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    Chen Yi and Subandrio discussed the following topics: Whether or not Subandrio should accompany Mrs. Bandaranaike to India, the defeat of the Indian 4th Infantry Division, Soviet blunders in the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Sino-Soviet split, and the Indonesian economic prospects.
    "Minutes of Conversation between Chinese Vice Premier Chen Yi and Indonesian Deputy Prime Minister Subandrio," January 07, 1963, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 105-01792-07, 85-87. Obtained by Dai Chaowu and translated by 7Brands.
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Minutes of Conversation between China’s Vice Premier Chen Yi and

Indonesia’s Deputy Prime Minister Subandrio

(not read by the speakers)

—The Sino-Indian Boundary; the Colombo Conference; Sino-Soviet Relations; the International Situation—

Time: Morning of 7 January 1963

Place: On the plane to Guangzhou

Chinese participant: Ambassador Yao Zhongming

Indonesian participant: Ambassador Sukarni [Kartodiwirjo]

Interpreter: Chen Lishui

Recorder: Cheng Ruisheng

Vice Premier Chen said that if Mrs. [Sirimavo] Bandaranaike visited India, Nehru would neither accept nor refuse the proposal of the Colombo Conference, which may be delayed for a long time. If Subandrio makes the visit along with Mrs. Bandaranaike, there are both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that he can assist Mrs. Bandaranaike in arguing with Nehru, but the disadvantage is that the relationship between India and Indonesia would be further aggravated. So, not going is a better choice.

In the Sino-Indian conflict, seven brigades of the 4th Infantry Division were all utterly defeated. The 4th Infantry Division is India’s most elite squad. It fought in Italy, North Africa, and Indochina during World War II and captured a lot of Germans, Italians, and Japanese. Indian troops were fighting against fascists then, but now they are fighting against snow-capped mountains and grasslands. Now that the Indian troops are defeated, it will take one to two years to recover, so they will not fight again.

With respect to the Colombo Conference, China has not taken a lukewarm attitude nor have we told lies. We will tell you the truth, or Mrs. Bandaranaike will hit a snag in India.

Ambassador Sukarni asked, in China’s opinion, who should lead India. Vice Premier Chen said that India’s leading force has yet to take shape and that India will ultimately be led by those who advocate anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism.

Vice Premier Chen went on to talk with Subandrio about the Sino-Soviet dispute. He pointed out that the Soviet Union took the wrong policy of making endless concessions and lacking principles. With respect to Cuba, we think the nuclear weapons should not have been sent to Cuba, and after they were brought to Cuba, they should not have been withdrawn at will. The sending-in was agreed upon by Cuba and the withdrawal should also have been consented by Cuba. Both sending-in at will and withdrawal at will are wrong. The Soviet Union is not relying on the people, the anti-imperialist struggle, and the anti-colonial struggle, but is relying on nuclear weapons and gambling with the United States where Cuba is the wager. But now it has been proved that neither the United States nor the Soviet Union dealt with Cuba properly.

The Soviet Union and the United States want the world to be ruled by them, which spurred the opposition of even the United Kingdom and France and placed Asian and African countries in an awkward position because they are also independent countries. China should not be required to bear the burden of international agreements which it has not signed. Even small countries have their rights, so as a great power, China cannot fail to live up to the people’s expectations. Now there is a tendency in the world that the countries which are great powers and have more abundant wealth and nuclear weapons have the say. If so, the United States is richer than the Soviet Union and is equivalent to the Soviet Union in terms of nuclear weapons. We advocate that all countries can resolve international problems through consultation on the basis of equality.

Subandrio asked whether Sino-Soviet relations would worsen and Vice Primer Chen replied that this it is impossible for relations to be severed because this is against the will of both the Soviet Union and China. It is not reasonable to believe that Sino-Soviet relations will become severed once a dispute arises or to believe that there are no controversies when we are united. For example, both China and Indonesia are against imperialism and colonialism and the two countries are united, but there are also some arguments. Arguments are conducive to unity, but covering up the controversies is harmful. Subandrio asked whether consensus between the parties could be reached and Vice Primer Chen said that it could be reached. The benefits of arguments are to enable the people to distinguish right from wrong and make the [right] choice.

Chen pointed out that the two camps confront each other in international affairs. Neither the Soviet Union nor the United States want to fight and they retreated when it came to the verge of war. However, local conflicts will continue. The confrontation is conducive to the anti-imperialist and anti-colonial struggles, and all countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America will become independent within ten years. The countries which are independent should devote more efforts to economic construction, which is very important to attacking imperialism. We should seek help from friendly countries, but we should rely on ourselves and start with small and medium-sized enterprises. India requested that we offer economic aid, although our offer has been limited by the three-years of natural disasters and we have to spend 300 million USD to import grain, but it will be better if our situation improves.

Indonesia is better off than [North] Korea and Vietnam because it has many products such as rubber and coconut oil that can be exported to earn foreign exchanges. If Indonesia set up small and medium-sized enterprises, it will achieve self-sufficiency in most daily necessities within five years. The principle for China’s foreign aid is different from that of the Soviet Union: we impart all the technologies for aid projects to the aid recipients. The Soviet Union is also willing to offer help, but it intends to cultivate the reliance of the recipient. Chen cited some examples of Soviet aid to China.

Chen also said that economic crises are a common phenomenon in capitalist countries. In the past, only the United States was undergoing an economic crisis, but now crises have arisen in the United Kingdom, France, West Germany, and Japan.

Finally, Chen said that India turning toward the West and the Soviet Union and becoming rightist was only an incident [of this kind] in the entire era and that Marxism-Leninism will eventually win the final victory.