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Digital Archive International History Declassified

February 27, 1965

ORAL STATEMENT OF THE PRC GOVERNMENT, TRANSMITTED BY PRC VICE FOREIGN MINISTER LIU XIAO TO THE CHARGé D’AFFAIRES OF THE USSR IN THE PRC, CDE. F. V. MOCHULSKI

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    The Chinese response to the Soviet request for China's opinion on a possible international conference on the subject of Indochina. The Chinese opinion is that to propose such a thing would make the Communist countries look weak and only encourage the United States.
    "Oral Statement of the PRC Government, Transmitted by PRC Vice Foreign Minister Liu Xiao to the Chargé d’Affaires of the USSR in the PRC, Cde. F. V. Mochulski," February 27, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Arkhiv Veshnei Politiki Rossiiskoi Federatsii (Archive of Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation; AVP RF), Moscow, Russia, fond 0100, opis 58, delo 1, papka 516, 1-2. Translated from Russian by Lorenz Lüthi. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/117712
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On 16 February [Soviet] Ambassador [to China Stepan] Chervonenko, in the name of the Soviet government, asked for the opinion of the government of our country with regard to the establishment of a new international conference on Indochina. I have been entrusted to give the following reply:

The Chinese government consistently came forward for convening a conference on Indochina, the safeguarding of the Geneva agreements of 1954 and 1962 and the peaceful solution of the question of Indochina. However, at the current time, the US, on the one hand, increases its armed aggression against South Vietnam, bombs the Democratic Republic of Vietnam without pause, makes noises about the broadening of the war, and makes the appearance that it does not want to carry out peaceful negotiations; but, on the other hand, by various means they develop the idea on the possibility of cessation of fire and peaceful negotiations, attempting to win time for a respite. The people of the southern and northern parts of Vietnam, filled with high fighting spirit, carry out a heroic struggle against the American imperialists, and win one new victory after the other. It is evident that the proposal, promoted by your side, on convening an international conference would mean a manifestation of weakness in front of American imperialism in these circumstances, and would help it to escape the difficult situation. This can only strengthen the aggressive revelry of the US and damage the fighting spirit of the Vietnamese people in its struggle against American imperialism, which would be highly unfavorable for the struggle of the Vietnamese people. Therefore the proposal of the Soviet government on convening a new international conference on Indochina is not sensible in the current situation. The Chinese government cannot agree.

To compel American imperialism to adhere strictly to the Geneva agreements and to withdraw all its armed forces from the region, so that the people of all countries of Indochina can solve their problems by themselves—this is, according to the Chinese government, the only correct path of solving the question of Indochina. The Soviet government also agreed [to that in 1954 and 1962]. Currently conditions for negotiations are not yet ripe. The US continues to make noises about the broadening of war, and asks that the Vietcong must cease infiltration and aggression against South Vietnam, and [that] only then it will be possible to carry out peaceful negotiations. Why do you so hastily raise the proposal on convening a new international conference under such circumstances? In the case that all interested countries, including the US, will stand for convening an international conference on Indochina, we think that then it will be necessary with regard to our general position to raise the following: first, all armed forces of the US and of its satellites must cease their aggression and intervention, and must completely withdraw from this region; second, it is necessary, that on the international conference South Vietnam is represented by the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, and not by the American puppets—the South Vietnamese authorities. It is necessary to insist on these two points to the end and not go for a compromise, which [only] would lower [our] own demands.

Convening a new international conference by itself is a question of great importance, and the proposal for a convention of such a conference can be raised only after achievement of unity by way of consultation between the interested countries. It is said that the Soviet government already has taken steps in favor of convening such a conference; what concerns us, we do not know, how much these talks conform to reality.