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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 10, 1955

REPORT FROM THE CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY, 'COMMENTS ON THE ASIAN-AFRICAN CONFERENCE FROM CAPITALIST RULED COUNTRIES AFTER THE ASIAN-AFRICAN CONFERENCE'

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    The Chinese Foreign Ministry summarizes (predominantly) Western leaders' statements about the Bandung Conference. Secretary Dulles expressed great satisfaction with the "useful and good conference," especially its role in "checking China," while Great Britain expressed strong disapproval of China's behavior at the conference and France was "shocked" that Algeria was discussed. Israel and Australia expressed regret that they were excluded from the conference.
    "Report from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, 'Comments on the Asian-African Conference from Capitalist Ruled Countries After the Asian-African Conference'," May 10, 1955, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 207-00059-01. Obtained by Amitav Acharya and translated by Yang Shanhou. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121492
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Material on Asian-African Conference (2)

May 10, 1955

Comments on the Asian-African Conference

from Capitalist Ruled Countries After the Asian-African Conference

1. USA

On April 26, the Assistant Secretary of State of USA, Allen, said that the Asian-African Conference was a “useful and good conference”. He expressed that the USA had no hatred for the conference for criticizing the USA and that he was satisfied with the anti-communist speech made by Jamali. On April 27, Dulles said to the guests who were visiting the USA from the Near Middle East that the result of the conference was “very good” and that he was “greatly inspired after reading the communiqué as the conference placed a high hope on and had confidence in UN”. He went on that he consistently believed that “the Bandung Conference was useful”, and reiterated that it was him who proposed to adopt a resolution by the Bangkok Conference to congratulate the Asian-African Conference. The foreign news agencies reported that after the Asian-African Conference Dulles received the Indonesian ambassador in the USA and told him that the USA was satisfied with the resolutions of the conference. On April 29, American Ambassador in India, Kubo, said at the US Alumni Association that he was confident that the conference “will make great contributions to the relaxation of tension and will be a new and important cornerstone for world peace”. He went on that the people of the whole world were very happy as “the principles of the UN Charter are forcefully reaffirmed in the discussions on all important issues in the conference”. He added that the initiating states, India and other Colombo states, “should be proud of the achievements of the conference”.

On April 27, Dulles said to guests who were visiting the USA from the Near Middle East that he “doubted” that the Asian-African Conference would make the USA increase its economic aid, but “the conference would stimulate American interests in those regions”. On May 2, the Foreign Operation Administration of the USA announced that it would provide Egypt with US$2.88 million for improving its communications. On May 4, when a correspondent asked Eisenhower why he didn’t disclose the figures of its Foreign Assistance program allocated to various countries, he answered that the figures allocated to various countries were provisional so that the president would have a margin to reconsider them. On May 5, while giving testimony on the Foreign Assistance Program before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate, Dulles said that the next year’s Common Security Program would pay more attention to “the increase of free Asia’s economic strength” so Eisenhower had demanded to allocate a special sum of money for free use in Southeast Asia. He announced that in next year’s economic aid, over US$337 million was allocated to Asia and US$179 million to Middle East, and US$223 million and more were used for the non-regional program."

On April 26 and 27 and on May 5, Dulles mentioned three times that the Asian-African Conference had played a role in "checking" China. On May 26, Dulles said at a press conference that the USA did not "repel" bilateral negotiations with China and that "with regard to the truce, the Kuomintang doesn't have to be present". On May 28, Eisenhower said at a press conference that negotiations could be held on "anything without affecting the Kuomintang of China". On May 4, he expressed at a press conference that he maintained a "wait-and-see attitude" on the issue of "the truce in the Taiwan Straits".

On May 26, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the American Senate, George, asked the State Department to try to hold the Far East Meeting with China on the Taiwan issue at press conference, and he didn't insist that the Kuomintang must take part in the meeting. On May 30, 12 senators headed by Smith and Shardenstor issued a statement in support of Eisenhower's "efforts in striving for holding negotiations with the Communist China on a truce".

But on May 27, Senator Roland issued a statement against negotiations with China, saying that there was no need to talk on a truce "so long as the Communist Party stops its attack". On May 28, Senator Jinnah posed a motion at the Senate to ban American officials taking part in any negotiations on the situation concerning Taiwan.

On April 29, Dulles met the Pakistani ambassador in the USA. On the same day, the spokesman of the American State Department announced that Dulles had held talks last week with the envoys of Britain, New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan and Canada in the USA, but not a single country was willing to act as a "formal mediator" between China and the USA. On April 30, the American Ambassador in India, Kubo, met Menon, rumoring that Kubo informed Menon that the USA wouldn't give its official support to his visit to China.

2. Britain

    The British government didn't make any comment on the Asian-African conference, only expressing that it was "interested" in it and would "study" it. The British Information Service and the British newspapers emphatically slandered China, claiming that it was "inauspicious" and "insidious" for China to reject to list "infiltration" and "subversion" in the communiqué and that the coexistence with China was the "coexistence between flies and spiders". At the same time British newspapers tried hard to laud Nehru to the skies, saying that he played the role of an "arbitrator” in the conference.

    But on April 28, Eden talked about the Five Principles at the parliament, saying that “the British foreign policy is based on the UN Charter. The Five Principles in general seems to be in conformity with the UN Charter so that we have agreed to the Five Principles”. At the same time, regarding what Premier Zhou said, that the Five Principles would be applied between China and Britain, he expressed that “it is the consistent policy of the British Government to make efforts to improve and strengthen relations with China”.

    In regards to the Taiwan issue, Britain played up that this issue would “test” the sincerity of China for peace expressed at the Asian-African Conference. The Times said in an editorial on April 25 that if Premier Zhou’s proposal “is threatening or unreasonable”, then, “most parts of Mr. Zhou Enlai’s work at the Asian-African Conference will be exposed as a cheat of honest people”. On April 26, the British cabinet authorized Macmillan to sound out China’s proposal through diplomatic channels. On April 28, Eden announced at the parliament that the British Government had instructed its charge’ d’affaires in Beijing to seek a “clarification” of Premier Zhou’s statement. As for Menon’s visit to China, on April 30, the British government sources expressed their “warm support”.

On the other hand, the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Britain expressed its welcome on April 26 to Dulles’ statement that the USA wouldn’t insist on Kuomintang’s participation in direct negotiations with China. On May 3, the British Ambassador Mekins in the USA and Dulles talked about the Taiwan issue. On May 5, the Secretary of Foreign Ministry of Britain Macmillan said at the House of Commons that the UK and the USA were holding “close consultations” on all Far Eastern issues.

3. France

    On April 27, Faure said that it was "shocked and intolerable” that the Asian-African Conference discussed the Algerian issue. He said that Algeria was a part of the French native land. The French newspapers believed that the resolution of the conference on colonies’ independence within 15 years would have much impact on France. The Le Monde even felt somewhat unfair that the conference didn’t “attack” the UK. But the French newspapers also admitted that the conference was of great significance and thought that the Asian-African Conference “created a good atmosphere”.

    On April 29, Faure talked about the Taiwan issue at a press conference, saying that Premier Zhou’s statement was “earnest and interesting”. He went on that “the French policy is established on this understanding, i.e. people should not continue to ignore a government with a control of over 500 million people”. He also talked about the date of elections in Vietnam, saying that France would abide by the Geneva Agreement. The French newspapers unanimously welcomed Premier Zhou’s statement, believing that this was “the most important factor of the conference”, which brought “reputation” for China. AFP also praised Premier Zhou’s spirit of seeking friendship and agreement in the conference.

4. Israel  

    On April 23, the Israeli Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sharett sent a telegram to the chairman of the Asian-African Conference, expressing that it was “shocked” and “regretted” that the conference discussed the issue of Israel without the participation of Israel in the conference.

    5. South Africa

    On April 19, the Prime Minister of South Africa Strijdom said that the Asian-African Conference was an “uneasy development” and that the real purpose of the conference was to eliminate the influence of white people in Asia.

    6. Finland

The Asian-African Conference played a role of strengthening neutralism. The Finnish Prime Minister Kekkonen published an article in a West German newspaper, advocating extending the neutralism.

The Finnish newspaper unanimously believed that the conference was of great significance, and the right wing newspaper of the New Finland commented that a time when the western countries decided the destiny of Asia and Africa had passed.

7. Belgium

    On April 30, the Belgian Foreign Minister Sbark said in an article for May Day published by the People’s Daily in Brussels that the Asian-African Conference “is one of the most important events in the century” and that “the conference has not made any radical resolutions, nor furiously condemned the west”, on the contrary it showed moderateness, and sometimes it even reached an unexpected height. The Belgian newspapers also thought that the conference was “a group action of unity for seeking peace and stressing cultural and economic relations”. The Belgian newspapers also made good comments on the role of Nehru, and the moderateness and coordinative atmosphere of the conference.

8. Yugoslavia

    On April 27, Tito said to a correspondent of the Belgrade Broadcasting Station that he was “unexpectedly happy” at the achievements of the Asian-African Conference, and that these achievements would encourage all the friends for peace and international cooperation and bring them a “new hope and confidence”. He went on that Yugoslavia was extremely happy at these achievements because the concept of governing the Asian-African Conference was “completely in conformity with” its “concept of international cooperation, the promotion of peace and the rights for the Asian-African countries to solve their own problems”. He added that the Asian-African Conference had demonstrated “the historical turning point” that “the people of the two continents of Asia and Africa are determined to decide their destiny to a maximum extent has emerged”.

    The Yugoslavian newspaper Fight paid special tribute to the principle of coexistence, saying that the Chinese proposal on negotiations with the USA for the relaxation of tension was “one of the greatest primary achievements in the victory of the principle of coexistence”, which “will produce a most positive influence on the entire international situation”. This paper also expressed its “regret” for the American response to Premier Zhou’s statement.

9. Australia

    On April 21, the former Australian deputy foreign minister Bolton and another person, attending the Asian-African Conference as observers, issued a statement in Bandung, saying that Australia was situated in the Asian region and should be invited to participate in the conference and expressing that Australia should be invited to participate in the future conference.

    On April 27, the Australian opposition party leader Evart criticized the Australian government at the House of Commons, saying that the dispatch of Australian troops to Malaya might be “misunderstood as invasion”. He went on that if Australia intended to move its defense 2000 miles northwards to counter the “threat” from China, then the “possible enemy” would have the same reason to station its troops to a place 2000 miles southwards near Australia.

10. Colonies and Dependencies

    The Asian-African Conference greatly encouraged the liberation movement in colonies. The Malayan Workers Front and the People’s Action Party issued a statement, demanding the Asian-African Conference to support the struggle of the Malayan people against colonialism. The representatives of the African National Congress and Indian Congress of South Africa issued a statement before the conference, asking the Government of South Africa to stop its racial discrimination policy. The delegations of the French dependencies in North Africa carried out protest activities against the French and American colonialism outside the conference. The Cyprus Bishop rushed to Bandung as well to win over the support for its independent movement from the conference.

    The Asian-African Conference even had quite a big impact to Central and South America. Before the conference, the political leaders of the British Guyana said that the Asian-African Conference “will symbolize the beginning of the end of racialism and colonialism”. They expressed that they were especially interested in “the apparent condemnation of colonialism by the conference”. Chairman of the minority party of Puerto Rico (Independence Party) Deglacha sent a telegram to Soekarno, expressing his support for the struggle of the conference against colonialism. A French newspaper report from South America said that all the Latin American countries believed that the Asian-African Conference was an example for their future development.