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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 19, 1965


This document was made possible with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY), Henry Luce Foundation

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    Cable from the Chinese Embassy in Indonesia describing positive responses of Indonesian government officials, media and public regarding China's second nuclear test.
    "Cable from the Chinese Embassy in Indonesia, 'Reaction to China's Second Nuclear Test'," May 19, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 113-00410-02, 60-62. Translated by Caixia Lu.
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Cabled Received by the [Chinese] Foreign Ministry

Level: Urgent 

Received from the Indonesian Desk

Foreign Ministry Incoming (65) Chen (1096)

Reaction to China's Second Nuclear Test

To the Foreign Ministry:

There was plenty of public reaction in Indonesia toward our second nuclear test. The papers had all published editorials and some notable politicians had also spoken about the issue. Those in the political circles that I met had also expressed their congratulations. The commander-in-chief of the air force even sent a letter to Ambassador Yao to express his heartiest congratulations on behalf of the whole air force. Our embassy also received many congratulatory messages or cables from many mass organizations. The main reactions are as follows:

1. Emphasized that this nuclear test strengthened the power of anti-imperialists and anti-colonialists and dealt a blow to the American imperialists’ nuclear blackmail tactics. The commander-in-chief of the air force said in the congratulatory message that the glorious achievements of China’s nuclear research made imperialism and colonialism flee Asia with their tails between their legs, and this was an important contribution to human welfare and world peace. Some senior military officers told me that the old established forces must be feeling anguished, while the new emerging forces would be delighted. Some felt that this had also helped pave the way for the victorious convening of the Conference of the New Emerging Forces. Some people figured that the American imperialists will not dare to use atomic bombs ever again. Some newspapers pointed out in their editorials that this “caused America’s policy of nuclear blackmail to lose its meaning”, “dealt another strong blow to imperialists and colonialists, particularly to the American imperialists who professed to have a monopoly over nuclear weapons. The Warta Bhakti even felt that this helped to reduce some people’s fears of the United States, and boosted the confidence of those in the anti-American struggle.

2. Admired and praised our scientific achievements: Quite a few senior officials expressed admiration and amazement over how we were able to conduct the second nuclear test within a short time. The Chairman of the PNI Ali [Sastroamidjojo] said that it was very admirable that China could launch a second nuclear test in such a short time. And he expressed his belief that this would not be the last. The Minister of Shipping asked me if it was detonated in the air this time round, and guessed that this was delivered using a missile or plane. The Second Assistant to the Chief of Police said that this was one step further than the last time, and we should go one step further in future. The First Assistant to the Chief of Police praised the level of our scientific development and expressed hope that our two countries could strengthen cooperation in this respect.

3. Felt that this supported the Vietnamese people’s struggle. Most felt that this boosted the morale of the Vietnamese people fighting against American invasion. The Indonesian Herald (English) said that after China’s nuclear test, it was questionable whether the United States still dared to pursue its strategy in Vietnam.

4. Felt that this enhanced the status of the Chinese and Asians. Ali [Sastroamidjojo] said that this was a clear refutation of those who scoffed at China’s role. Suwito said that this disproved the belief that only white people could produce nuclear bombs. The Suluh Indonesia also felt that this test made the imperialists recognize that the Asian people, and the Chinese in particular, rivaled them in terms of technological prowess in nuclear energy. The Indonesian Herald said that this confirmed once again China’s major power status. Without China’s participation, it was impossible to effectively resolve the important issues in the world today, particularly in Asia.

There were also some comments that were worthy of note in Indonesian public opinion. For instance, the Suluh Indonesia praised our nuclear test along with the landing of the Soviet Union’s Luna 5 on the moon, and said that these were the outstanding achievements of the two countries. The Zhan-Dou-Xiao-Xi-Bao [sic] said on the one hand that we could only use nuclear power to deal with the nuclear power of old established forces, but it expressed belief on the other hand that the new world can only be realized without the use of nuclear weapons, otherwise the new world would only be a world filled with dead bodies.

[Chinese] Embassy in Indonesia

19 May 1965