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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 06, 1965

CABLE FROM THE CHINESE EMBASSY IN THE SOVIET UNION TO THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, ‘ON THE NUMBER OF VIETNAMESE STUDENTS INJURED’

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

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    The Chinese Embassy in Moscow suggests that a discrepancy exists in the number of Vietnamese students injured offered by the Vietnamese embassy and the number actually hurt in the Moscow protests.
    "Cable from the Chinese Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘On the Number of Vietnamese Students Injured’ ," March 06, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 109-03628-04, 88-89. Obtained by You Lan and translated by Jake Tompkins. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119944
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[Handwritten note] Requesting Consultation by the Department of Soviet and Eastern European Affairs and the Second Asia Department

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Cable

Level: Extra Urgent Advance / From the Moscow Desk / Received (65) No. 290

On the Number of Vietnamese Students Injured

To the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

We've received your instructions concerning domestic measures to be taken in response to the Soviet suppression of protesting students on May 5th.  At 8:30 in the evening on the day of the event, Ambassador Pan [Zili] met with the Vietnamese ambassador, explaining to him all that we knew about the event as well as the steps we had already taken and planned to take in response.

The Vietnamese ambassador responded by saying that they plan to protest the actions of the Soviets through student groups from a variety of different countries.  As for the actions taken directly by the embassy, he is still waiting for directions from Vietnam.

As for the number of Vietnamese students injured during the incident, the Vietnamese ambassador said that they currently do not have an exact number but estimate it to be 5 or 6 and that the injuries were not serious enough for them to be taken to the hospital.

From speaking with the Vietnamese ambassador we can determine that the Vietnamese embassy doesn't dare to move before receiving instructions from home.  They're afraid that the situation will be aggravated.  They don't dare release a concrete number of injured students, and keep reducing the estimate. (In the early morning, the Vietnamese attache told our attache, Zhang Motang, that tens of students were injured.  That number changed to between 10 and 20 when Ambassador Pan went to visit the injured Chinese students and spoke with the attache.  In the evening, the ambassador reduced the number again to 5 or 6.  Our students estimate that there were even more students from Vietnam injured than there were from China).

In order to promote closer cooperation between our two countries, is it possible to do something domestically to help Vietnam?

Also, the official Vietnamese translator leaked that the Vietnamese ambassador will be giving a televised speech on March 6th at 8:30pm (Moscow time).

[Chinese] Embassy in Moscow

1:00 a.m.,6 March 1965