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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 27, 1958

LETTER, MAO ZEDONG TO PENG DEHUAI AND HUANG KECHENG

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    Mao Zedong decides to deplay the planned bombardment of the nationalist-controlled Jinmen Island in the Taiwan Strait.
    "Letter, Mao Zedong to Peng Dehuai and Huang Kecheng," July 27, 1958, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Zhonggong zhongyang wenxian yanjiushi, ed., Jianguo yilai Mao Zedong wengao (Mao Zedong’s Manuscripts since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China), vol. 7 (Beijing: Zhongyang wenxian chubanshe, 1992), 326-327. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/117011
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[...]

Comrades [Peng] Dehuai and [Huang] Kecheng:

[I] could not sleep [last night], but thought about it again.  It seems more appropriate to hold our [plans] to attack Jinmen for several days.  While holding our operations, [we will] observe the situational development there.  We will not attack whether or not the other side relieves a garrison.  Until they launch a provocative attack, [we will] then respond with a counterattack.  The solution of the problem in the Middle East takes time.  Since we have time, why should we be in a big hurry?  We will hold our attack plans now, but one day we will put it into implementation.  If the other side invades Zhang[zhou], Shan[tou], Fuzhou, and Hangzhou, a best scenario [for us to take action] would emerge.  How do you think about this idea?  Could you have a discussion about this with other comrades?  It is extremely beneficial [for our decision-making] with politics in command and going through repeated deliberations.  To make a plan too quickly usually results in an unthoughtful consideration.  I did such things quite often and sometimes had unavoidable miscalculations.  What is your opinion?  Even if the other side attacks us, [we still] can wait for a couple of days for a clear calculation, and then start our counterattack.  Can all of the above points be accounted as working out splendid plans here to defeat the enemy in battles a thousand miles away, and having some certainty of success that we will be ever-victorious?  We must persist in the principle of fighting no battle we are not sure of winning.  If you agree [with the above points], telegraph this letter to Ye Fei and ask him to think about it very carefully.  Let me know his opinion.

Have a peaceful morning!

Mao Zedong

10:00 a.m., 27 July [1958]

[...]

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