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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 19, 1956


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    The premiers of Pakistan and China convene to discuss Taiwan, Pakistani-Chinese relations, Mao's leadership, and the Muslim population in China, among other issues.
    "Briefing on the Visit to China of Pakistani Prime Minister Suhrawardy (No. 3)," October 19, 1956, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 204-00023-04. Translated by Caixia Lu.
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Briefing on the Visit to China of Pakistani Prime Minister Suhrawardy (No. 3)

Compiled by the Office of the State Guest Reception Committee

19 October 1956

On the morning of the 19th, the Pakistani Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary Baig, Joint Secretary De-la-wei [sic], and the Pakistani Ambassador participated in talks between the premiers of both countries. [Ghulam] Farooq, Chairman of the Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation, called on Director Bo Yibo. Yusuf, Joint Secretary of Commerce, called on Vice Minister Lei Renmin. Mohammad Azam Khan, irrigation expert, called on Vice-Minister Qian Zhengying. Nawaz Khan, Chief of Protocol called on Director-General Wang Zhuoru. Their spouses and others in the entourage who were not participating in the talks and official call visited a children’s hospital. In the noon, all of them went to a mosque to worship and to attend an informal meal hosted by Chairman Burhan Shahidi. In the afternoon, they toured the Palace Museum. At 6pm, Chairman Mao met the Pakistani Prime Minister and his entourage, and they all attended the state banquet hosted by Premier Zhou.

After the premiers of the two countries concluded their talks, and just as they were about to come out, the interpreter asked the Pakistani prime minister if the talks went smoothly. He answered: I can’t say that the talks went smoothly. I am not someone who accepts the views of others easily. While in the car, he said, Premier Zhou is indeed a quick-witted man, and he is full of energy. He is undoubtedly a leader of China.

At 6pm, Chairman Mao met the Pakistani prime minister and his entourage. The Pakistani prime minister was late by more than ten minutes. When the interpreter went to his room to urge him to get ready to leave, he saw that he was still lying on his bed, with his servant massaging his leg, and the doctor attending to him. Perhaps he was too busy during the day and somewhat fatigued. Before he met the Chairman, he asked the interpreter: Does Chairman Mao wield great power just like Premier Zhou? Is Chairman Mao a leader like Premier Zhou?

After meeting the Chairman, the Pakistani prime minister said: Your Chairman is a powerful man. When mentioning that the Chairman said he hoped to see India and Pakistan resolve their disputes through peaceful negotiations, he said: Do you want to resolve your Taiwan issue peacefully? If Chiang Kai-Shek won’t do it, what would you do? You said that one has to endure and wait, but historical change normally does not happen in five, ten or twenty years. It may take centuries. Taiwan will still be yours in future. He clearly is rather doubtful that peaceful negotiations can resolve issues. He also said: What your Chairman had said was all correct. But Pakistan has many exceptional circumstances. Moreover I also have such an impression: That the situation in Pakistan as indicated by others is sometimes incorrect. They say: Pakistan has no conflict of interest with China and it is sincere toward China. He also said: India has its fears about China, while India is afraid of China, not because China will conquer India, but it is afraid that the great changes in China will affect it.

The Pakistani entourage viewed the meeting with Chairman Mao with great importance. Before meeting him, they asked what they should take note of. After the meeting, the daughter of the Pakistani prime minister said: Your chairman is a very powerful man. [Ghulam] Farooq, the Chairman of Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation, was the most agitated. He said: I wished to see Chairman Mao very much. I think of Chairman Mao whenever I think of New China. He totally agreed with Chairman Mao’s views and said: I believe that the Pakistani people will act in accordance with Chairman Mao’s point of view. He also said, our prime minister is a pathetic man, he is unclear about the background of many things. In the past before he came to power, he was against accepting American aid and joining military blocs, but he has compromised ever since he came to power. We Pakistani people are against joining military blocs, and I am resolutely against accepting American aid. I don't want a single American cent when building our industries. Mrs. Baig said that Chairman Mao’s talk was conducted in a friendly atmosphere. The Pakistani prime minister’s daughter said: Chairman Mao is very smart. If there were no other engagements, he and our prime minister could on talking for the rest of the day. Akhtar, Director of the General Affairs Division, said: Chairman Mao is not simply the leader of the Chinese, but also of Asians. Mrs. Noon and Mrs. Baig did not have much response.

When the Pakistani prime minister visited the mosque, he first prayed and then had his meal. He also donated 1,500 pounds in the name of the Pakistani government. He said more during mealtime. He said: There was once an erroneous idea that freedom of worship did not exist in Communist countries, but today I have seen for myself how Muslims are worshipping here and I have done so myself. That is very good proof that there is freedom of worship. When he heard Chairman Burhan Shahidi say that there were 10 million Muslims in China, he said that he had also heard of such a figure and hoped to see more Muslims next time, for instance another 50 million. In addition, he said some things about China-Pakistan friendly interactions.


The Pakistani prime minister was very interested in visiting the Palace Museum. He went around taking pictures and he particularly liked the dragon carving on the stone steps and the stone lions. He was full of admiration for the cloisonné enamel from the Qing Dynasty era and was happy to hear that we were still able to produce them. When he saw that the Palace Museum was undergoing extensive renovation, he told the interpreter: Do you feel proud of such ancient culture? In the whole world, only Russia destroyed its ancient artifacts. Even though Egypt has ancient artifacts, it is unable to exhibit them in the way that China has done. He also said: You must have spent a lot of money restoring these ancient buildings!

The Pakistani prime minister expressed his satisfaction with the state banquet hosted by Premier Zhou and especially with Premier Zhou’s attention to all the accompanying representatives and musicians.

The other representatives in the entourage responded well to the banquet’s friendly atmosphere.

During the one-to-one official calls in the morning, [Ghulam] Farooq said he helped to push through the two deals between China and Pakistan in which coal was exchange for cotton, and that China and Pakistan faced similar problems and they should be united. After the call, he told the interpreter that India was gradually moving toward socialism, but not as quickly as China. At the same time, he was very critical of the bureaucratic government and foreign experts in Pakistan and he expressed resolute opposition toward imperialism and colonialism.


Yusuf called on and spoke to Vice Minister Lei Renmin. During the banquet at night, he met Minister Ye and said that he was very satisfied with the call but they only touched on the usual stuff. He hoped that our delegation could visit Pakistan soon to talk about specific agreements.

Irrigation expert Mohammad Azam Khan was in high spirits when calling on Vice Minister Qian Zhengying. He proposed again that he hoped to visit ongoing water projects and he was especially interested in how to organize the manpower. Vice Minister Qian introduced the Xianghongdian Reservoir and the Mozitan Reservoir (Huai River) projects, and said that he could visit these. He also suggested that he visit some technical schools. Mohammad Azam Khan complained that the Pakistani government did not value technical skills and did not respect engineers. He meant that things would be good if everyone were engaged in engineering instead of diplomacy. He was extremely disdainful of politics, and was only interested in his own profession and wanted to have his own separate itinerary.

Yesterday, as the scheduled date for Chairman Mao to meet the Pakistani prime minister was changed, the attaché at the Pakistani embassy Qaiser called a few Pakistani reporters together for a meeting and asked them to refrain from mentioning in their domestic reports that Chairman Mao had yet to meet them. 

Postscript: Briefing on the Visit to China of Pakistani Prime Minister Suhrawardy (No. 1) (two items) mentioned that the elephants presented by the Pakistanis to our zoo should arrive in Beijing in May, and to fill in the blanks with the word “five”.