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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 15, 1965

CABLE FROM THE CHINESE EMBASSY IN BULGARIA, 'REFLECTIONS ON CHINA’S SECOND NUCLEAR TEST'

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

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    The Chinese Embassy in Bulgaria reports how representatives from throughout the socialist bloc in Bulgaria responded to China's second nuclear test.
    "Cable from the Chinese Embassy in Bulgaria, 'Reflections on China’s Second Nuclear Test'," May 15, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 109-02937-01, 60-61. Translated by Max Maller. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119641
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[...]

[To the] Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Second Department of the General Staff:

At 9 P.M. on the night of 14 May, our military attaché visited Bulgaria’s Minister of Defense [Dobri] Dzhurov for a toast in honor of the tenth anniversary of the Warsaw Pact. Our military attaché announced the news of our second nuclear test, done successfully by airdrop explosion, to the North Korean and Vietnamese charges d’affaires, the Romanian ambassador, and the Romanian, German, and Hungarian military attachés. Afterward, this news spread in silence like a gust of wind throughout the hall, thanks to the Hungarian, German and Romanian military attachés.

North Korea, Vietnam, and Romania were overjoyed and expressed their congratulations.

“Very good,” said the North Korean charge d’affaires. “You have given us one more degree of power. With a few more achievements, like having that thing that can go from Beijing to Washington [meaning a guided missile—trans.], we will be in good shape.”

“This is very heartening for the people of Vietnam,” said the Vietnamese charge d’affaires. “China’s power is our power.”

“This increases the power of the socialist camp,” said the Romanian ambassador. “I congratulate you. We will always be together.”

“Imperialism is just afraid of us getting too strong,” added the Romanian military attaché.

The Hungarian and German military attachés pretended to be unmoved, nor did they respond, but they did secretly disseminate this news. The Mongolian charge d’affaires did not respond. The Czech military attaché said, “The more nuclear bombs there are, the worse,” just like last time.

Bulgarian military officials differed in their attitudes from person to person. “I congratulate you,” said Rear Admiral [Branimir] Ormanov. “Let’s raise a toast to the PLA’s success.” Later on he said, “A toast to your victorious struggle against imperialism.”

The retired general [Vladimir] Stoychev also congratulated us. All General Sai-mei-ji-ye-fu [sic] said was, “Oh.” Even if they had different responses, inside they were all surprised and eager to learn the specific details. The director of foreign affairs asked, “Was it dropped out of a plane?” Military attachés from Germany and Hungary asked, “How many megatons was it?”

Also, the seven major central committee level newspapers, besides Trud and Otechestven Front, did not print it. Aside from the Agrarian Banner, only three or four magazines printed this news in articles about twenty words in length.

[Chinese] Embassy in Bulgaria

[Chinese] Military Attaché in Bulgaria

15 May 1965

[...]