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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 23, 1965

RECORD OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN VICE-FOREIGN MINISTER QIAO GUANHUA AND NORTH KOREAN AMBASSADOR IN CHINA PAK SE-CHANG

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    Qiao Guanhua and Pak Se-chang discuss the four-party meeting between China, Pakistan, Indonesia, and the United Arab Republic (Egypt), the Afro-Asian Conference, and the situation in Algeria.
    "Record of Conversation between Vice-Foreign Minister Qiao Guanhua and North Korean Ambassador in China Pak Se-chang," July 23, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 106-00836-13, 95-106. Translated by Jake Tompkins. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/118830
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Memorandum of Conversation from the Foreign Ministry of the People's Republic of China

Guest: North Korean Ambassador to China Pak Se-Chang

Translator: Li Xiangwen

Receivers: Deputy Foreign Minister Qiao Guanhua

Deputy Director Cao Keqiang of 2nd Asia Department

Second Secretary of the Embassy of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Li Zai-cheng [sic; Phonetic Chinese]

Recorder:

Tao Bingwei

Time: 23 July 1965, 10:00am

Location: Upstairs Reception Room of the East Building

Summary:

1. Topics of the meeting between China, Pakistan, Indonesia, and the United Arab Republic.

2. The new direction of the African nations after the delay of the Asia-Africa Conference

3. Certain situations pertaining to the delay of the Asia-Africa Conference

4. The political situation in Algeria

Qiao [Guanhua]: The embassy wishes to know the situation of the meeting between the four heads of state. We originally wanted to invite Vice Premier Chen Yi to discuss this matter, but he's recently been very busy receiving guests and hasn't been able to find the time so we delayed the meeting, but now I've come to tell you about it.

Pak [Se-chang]: You're a very busy man, but we keep coming to you for briefings.

Qiao: I should take the initiative to tell you.

First let's talk about the meeting between the four heads of state. The entire meeting was a rare opportunity in and of itself. We already knew on the 14th and 15th of June that the Asia-Africa Conference will be difficult to hold successfully. At the time, Premier Zhou told Nasser in Cairo that the situation is like this; all of the heads of state cannot come. Sukarno in particular should not come, and we will all return home once it is decided that the Asia-Africa Conference is not to be held. Later, Sukarno said that he will come whether the conference is held or not. So, we can only wait for him and decide the next step once he arrives.

On the 26th, the Permanent Standing Committee decided to delay the Asia-Africa Conference and luckily Sukarno had just arrived in Cairo at the time. On the 27th, Premier Zhou met with Nasser and Sukarno to speak mainly about the situation of the conference's delay. During this conversation, Sukarno asked if Ayub could come, to which Premier Zhou answered that it would depend on their host Nasser's opinion since the meeting was held in Cairo. Nasser approved, saying he would welcome Ayub to come discuss matters with them. In the end they agreed to all three invite him together.

Ayub originally planned to return directly from London to Karachi through Cairo on the 28th. After receiving the phone call, he made a stopover in Cairo. Thus, the four heads of state held their meeting.

During the meeting, Ayub explained the situation of the British Commonwealth Meeting in relation to the Asia-Africa Conference as well as his own personal efforts toward encouraging each of the countries to begin the meeting on time. According to our knowledge, Ayub did put forth some effort. Ayub said, “Many African countries are not willing to go to Algeria; it will be difficult to make Nigeria go; Nkrumah doesn't have much confidence either. Therefore, Ayub brought up the question of changing the location of the conference. The thing to pay attention to at this point is that Nasser immediately approved the suggestion. Premier Zhou immediately pointed out to Nasser that he had on the 25th at Alexandria Bay told the Prime Minister that they could not change the location no matter what, since Algeria is sensitive and would be hurt by a change in location. At this time Nasser once again changed his tune, saying that the location definitely cannot be changed. This situation is rather important.

Afterward, everyone analyzed the reasons why the Asia-Africa Conference was postponed. This point in the meeting didn't have much that is worth mentioning. We arrived at two reasons: (1) The nations that would arrive in Algeria were very few, particularly Black African countries. (2) The host country has problems of its own, particularly in the realm of security.

Finally, everyone discussed the idea of issuing a news report. After deliberation, they decided that the four countries' foreign ministers would discuss the matter after returning from Algeria. Ayub said that he would not be returning, rather would have Bhutto represent him.

Riad, the foreign minister of the United Arab Republic was already in Cairo, and Subandrio was arranged to arrive that day in Cairo. On the 29th, Vice Premier Chen Yi came to Cairo. It is said that Bhutto was also scheduled to arrive that day, but he could not be reached, and someone said that he had gone to Paris. For this reason, the meeting originally scheduled for the 29th was not held. Bhutto did not arrive from Paris until late that night.

The meeting was held on the 30th. It was meant to be a meeting between four heads of state, but in reality it was three heads of state plus Foreign Minister Bhutto. The primary topic of this meeting was whether or not to issue a news report and if so, what to publish. After deliberation, everyone agreed to send a report saying that the meeting had been purposefully postponed to a new date. In the process of deliberation, Indonesia and Pakistan expressed a desire to include in the report an explanation that the delay was on account of Algeria to show that they personally were not responsible. We responded that this would not be acceptable, as Algeria is quite sensitive and it is not necessary to say that, lest we create a misunderstanding. In the end they also agreed. Indonesia raised the question of interest in the new conference, to which Nasser replied that he approves of the conference in principle, but that it would not be necessary to say so in the report. Finally, a news report was issued, and we left Cairo on the 30th.

That is essentially the situation. Even though this meeting came about from unplanned factors and was fairly rushed, the results were good. We will actively work to make that conference happen on time in Algeria.

From this contact, it can be seen that these countries, the political power held by the national Bourgeoisie, is two sided. We plan to utilize the positive side of the United Arab Republic.

Let's talk about this period and some of the movements we've come into contact with in relation to the Asia-Africa Conference.

It's been almost a month since 26 June. Generally speaking, the condition of African countries is improving. This improvement is that more and more countries are coming to approve the timely holding of the conference in Algeria. The specific situation is this: the countries who have made the most obvious changes to their positions are Tanzania, Guinea, and Uganda. The original position of these three countries is that they absolutely would not attend a conference in Algeria no matter what.

After coming to China, the Ugandan Prime Minister Obote expressed a general support for the conference. He still hopes that Premier Zhou will be able to visit Uganda before the conference on 5 November. Guinea's attitude was rather difficult before. Touré sent a head of national defense to Algeria who only looked around and left without making contact with anyone. He was primarily there to assess the situation, not to participate in the conference, nor is he a foreign minister. Recently, Algeria's Revolutionary Standing Committee has sent people to some of the Black African countries, and it is our understanding that their attitudes are better, they support holding the conference on time in Algeria.

The countries whose attitudes were originally good and are still quite positive are Somalia, Mali, Ethiopia, Cameroon, and Mauritania. These countries haven't changed much.

The country that was and is still negative about the conference is the Central African Republic.

The country whose attitude was previously negative and is still fairly vague is Ghana. Ghana would like to move the conference to Arak.

The condition of the Arab countries is about the same as before. The United Arab Republic is still willing and approves of holding the conference on time and in Algeria, and has also voiced disapproval of changing the location, though they have always been a bit irresolute.

Tunisia and Morocco are the same as they were before, with Morocco a little better.

The thing that's worth paying attention to is that previously negative countries have changed, and even Tunisia and Morocco are changing. The reason is Algeria's stability. They cannot not build a relationship with Algeria.

Overall, the situation has improved, but there is another key problem. The African Summit was originally planned to take place in Arak in September. I've heard that Guinea plans to postpone the conference until October due to insufficient preparation of the conference grounds. This is troublesome. It's very possible that someone will suggest changing the location of the Asia-Africa Conference at this meeting. If the location changes, it will be a big problem. It will be difficult to restart preparations from the beginning. Some people think that it would be changed to either Addis Ababa or Cairo. As for Addis Ababa, it's very hard to say. Looking at the situation in Africa, we still cannot say for sure whether or not the Asia-Africa Conference will be held on time.

Our policy, along with North Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Cambodia is to continue to fight for an on-time conference in Algeria.

Incidentally, let me further explain the situation. If the conference has to be abandoned, aside from the issues in Africa, some people will also raise a different reason: the 18 October Foreign Ministers' Conference and 5 November Summit is in conflict with the United Nations Conference, thus creating problems, which would mostly be India making trouble.

Our stance is clear: Actively fight to hold the conference on time, but if the conference is unsuccessful it's not a problem. The situation will be more clear in September, but for now we will continue to make preparations optimistically.

Next I'd like to explain the condition of the last few days of the Asia-Africa Conference. When I was in Algiers, I did not have time to express our opinions on certain topics with North Korea.

We arrived in Algiers on the 22nd and spoke with the Foreign Minister of Algiers, Boutefilka, on the 23rd saying that, taking into account that the foreign ministers from several countries had already arrived, also to prevent harming relations, it would be best to ask the Algiers foreign minister to put together an informal meeting for the foreign minister of each country to get together and discuss whatever problems may exist. However, the foreign minister of Algiers maintained through to the 26th that he did not approve of holding an informal cooperative meeting. He told Vice Premier Chen Yi, “I am the foreign minister, if I am going to hold a meeting, I will hold it formally. I cannot hold an informal meeting.”  This made things difficult for us.

Another aspect of the problem is that if they were to hold a formal foreign ministers' meeting and decide to postpone the Asia-Africa Conference, the consequences would be very serious. Legally, if a foreign ministers meeting were held, then the decision in Jakarta would be made invalid. Also, we've received information that India is preparing to use a permanent standing committee in order to create a provisional committee.

Under these circumstances, not holding a foreign ministers' meeting, rather holding a permanent standing committee would be difficult since the foreign ministers of 25 countries are already in Algiers. Putting all of the foreign ministers in one place, and then only holding a permanent standing committee meeting of fifteen countries' ambassadors would dissatisfy many countries' foreign ministers. Considering the consequences, it would still be better to hold a permanent standing committee meeting, since the decision in Jakarta would still hold and the problems it would create are relatively few. As for the dissatisfaction of the foreign ministers, we can repair that on an individual basis.

Finally, we've finally adopted a method to extend the postponement through a permanent standing committee. This situation is rather rushed and we have no real alternative. The host country never had a clear policy, and up to the 26th, we didn't have much of a plan either. Because of this, we have not had much opportunity to meet with other friendly countries beforehand. Currently, this is the only method we can use.

The situation in Algeria has stabilized in comparison to the area overall. They've created a revolutionary standing committee, established a government, and a People's Liberation Front secretariat. From an organizational standpoint, the core is all made up of former soldiers. This seems to confirm claims they've made in the past : that only those who have experienced war have the ability to carry out revolution. As for incorporating other people in the government, we feel that this is necessary.

According to current materials, there don't seem to be any very reactionary members. Boumediene has spoken several times after the postponement of the Asia-Africa Conference. His policy is essentially the same as Ben Bella's. It's currently very difficult to do much planning, and it looks like the most important thing is to emphasize the building of a domestic economy.

They put significant importance on their relationship with France, which is understandable seeing as the two countries' have a close economic relationship. They have already signed an agreement to drill for oil in the Sahara. We have yet to see the entire document.

Their relationship with the United Arab Republic is still a bit unsure, but they are typically able to maintain normal interactions.

As for the people's liberation movement's struggles in Vietnam and Congo, they have spoken to establish their position.

The overall impression is that the political situation is rather stable, particularly since there haven't been any major diplomatic problems. But, realistically it's still difficult to say how things will be in the future.

Domestically, there are some issues. They learned so called “self-governance” from Yugoslavia, which is a big problem. They've opened a number of plantations and sent out a lot of people, but the cost of management is high and the country doesn't have income.

Pak: France was originally planning to give them 100 million Francs. Do you know if they've been received or not?

Qiao: It's been received, but the exact amount is unclear. It's related to the oil drilling agreement.

Pak: Has Ben Bella accepted it?

Qiao: He has. They rely on France's support financially.

Pak: I've been thinking, Castro's attitude toward Algeria is a bit strange, like at the Youth Festival, and how he said that Boumediene and Bouteflika are counterrevolutionaries, etc. What's going on?  I'd like to hear your opinions, Comrade Deputy Minister.

Qiao: Here's how we see it: Cuba approves of Ben Bella, and has even sent delegations to lend aid. They would very much like to expand their influence through him. One of the results of Boumediene's coup was the attacks on the revisionist elements in the Soviet, Cuban, Vietnamese, and Algerian communist parties.

Afterward, we think the situation is probably like this:  One aspect is that Castro is very unhappy; and the other is that there are people who are encouraging him to attack Boumediene. In reality, there are a lot of people going to great lengths to destroy Boumediene's platform. This is most obvious in the fact that the Youth Festival was not held in Algeria.

No matter how you look at it, we think that Castro's behavior is pointless, since there really is no way to prove that someone is counterrevolutionary, fascist, or a military dictator.

There has been a lot of this kind of talk internationally. But Boumediene has stood firm. The Soviets went a long time without establishing their position, but recently sent an electronic report doing so. What will Castro do?

Boumediene and Bouteflika have spoken to us on this matter and they are rather indignant, but they have shown restraint and still have not issued a public statement.

Firstly, this is interference in sovereignty. In the past, we have always had a good relationship with U Nu, but when U Nu was overthrown by Ne Win, we recognized Ne Win. Our relationship with Somalia's Abdirashid Ali Shermarkeis good too. When he stepped down, we supported his successor. I believe that Castro's problems are that, first, he's annoyed at having been personally attacked. Second, he may have fallen for other people's manipulations. When The Soviets acknowledged Boumediene, he took the bait.

Of course, we cannot approve of the way in which Boumediene came to power, but it is not necessarily right to say that he is counterrevolutionary and a fascist.

Castro's stance on this matter shows his nature as a person and that of his rule.

From the 22 Latin American Parties' Conference to his participation in the March splittist conference in March, and even now, Castro has had poor tendencies.

Furthermore, when Ben Bella left the stage after answering Cuba on the topic of attending the Asia-Africa Conference, Castro was extremely irritated. What kind of Marxism-Leninism is this?  This is opportunism, revisionism.

Presently, there are more countries who acknowledge Boumediene. The Soviet Union has stated their position, and the revisionist countries in Eastern Europe will follow suit. Of course, some people are being difficult, like Castro. We can't help him. He's cursed both of us out, saying that we've expressed our support too early.

No matter how you look at it, the stability in Algeria will be beneficial in holding the Asia-Africa Conference on time. This will be the reason for our success.

That is essentially the situation in Algeria. While we certainly can't rule out the occurrence of some small domestic problems, there won't be anything significant.

The imperialist nations, India, and the revisionist nations want to destroy the conference. There's also the problem of the Africa Summit. This is a battle. We've made two preparations:  First, to secretly make preparations to hold the conference, second to be mentally prepared not to hold it.

Pak: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to brief us so often, Deputy Minister. You've been very helpful in helping us understand the situation in the matter.

Qiao: We will keep doing things this way; if there is a problem, we can speak out it any time. Nobody thought that the Algerian government would be overthrown. After preparations were made, once we arrived on the scene the situation had changed and there was war.