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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 08, 1954

TELEGRAM, ZHOU ENLAI TO MAO ZEDONG, LIU SHAOQI, AND THE CCP CENTRAL COMMITTEE (EXCERPT)

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    Zhou Enlai writes to to Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, and the CCP Central Committee to inform them that the "big adjustment" plan of dividing Vietnam and drawing borders is most favorable to them. He cautions that the other plans are not favorable and that some small concessions might have to be made in order to avoid other less favorable plans.
    "Telegram, Zhou Enlai to Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, and the CCP Central Committee (excerpt)," June 08, 1954, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Zhou Enlai nianpu, 1949-1976, vol. 1, pp. 377-378. Translated for CWIHP by Chen Jian. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121151
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121151

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On the question of zone adjustment in Vietnam, the "big adjustment" [plan] of dividing the north and the south into two big zones is more favorable to us. The small adjustment in the three war zones of the north, the central, and the south is not favorable to us (even under the circumstances that an agreement is reached on having a general election in Vietnam [it is not favorable to us], as the other side will surely block it, making it difficult to be carried out in a short time). Therefore we should not initiate a [plan for] small adjustment unless we are forced to do so (for example, [under the circumstances that] an agreement cannot be reached on big adjustment because the enemy requests too much and our gain is too little, or the enemy will only consider small adjustment, and will not consider big adjustment). In order to pursue the big adjustment plan, the minimum request of our plan should not be set too high, and should be left with space for further maneuvering. The big adjustment plan proposed in the telegram of the VWP Central Committee on the 4th is same as the second option in the big adjustment plan in our telegram of May 30. If this plan cannot be achieved, it is acceptable for us if some additional concessions [on our part] are made on the basis of it, and we should not call this plan our final plan. Even though we may need to make some additional concessions, compared with the small adjustment plan, it is still more favorable to us. On the strategy of handling the negotiation, it is impossible for us not to enter discussion of specific questions, and this is also unfavorable to us. Our side will start working on checking and correcting the maps reflect the current status, and we will then put forward the plan of division of zones, with the expectation that an agreement on the general principles of dividing zones and an agreement on ceasefire will be reached at an early time. Comrade Pham Van Dong has agreed to the above opinions. Please consult with the VWP Central Communist immediately.