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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 16, 1963

RECORD OF CONVERSATION FROM PREMIER ZHOU’S RECEPTION OF THE TANGANYIKAN CULTURAL DELEGATION

This document was made possible with support from the Henry Luce Foundation

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    Zhou and Lawi Nangwanda Sijaona discuss the Sino-Indian border conflict and African regionalism.
    "Record of Conversation from Premier Zhou’s Reception of the Tanganyikan Cultural Delegation," October 16, 1963, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 108-00032-01. Translated by David Cowhig. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/165480
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Foreign Cultural Liaison Committee of the PRC

Classification: Secret

(Destroy after reading)

Distribution within the CommitteeCommittee members

Printed and Distributed by the Office of the PRC Committee for Cultural Liaison with Foreign Countries on November 11, 1963

Record of Conversation from Premier Zhou’s Reception of the Tanganyikan Cultural Delegation

(not reviewed by the Prime Minister. List of delegation members attached)

Time: October 16, 1963

Location: West Flower Hall

Accompanying Premier Zhou: Zhang Xiruo, Zhu Guang, Lu Yaowu, Gong Dafei

Introductions: Wu Qing

Interpreter: Li Sen

Notetaker: Lin Qing

Premier Zhou: Is this the first visit to China for you all?

Head of Delegation [Lawi Nangwanda] Sijaona: Yes.

Premier Zhou: I heard that you are going to leave China on the 21st. Have you seen the Speaker of your National Assembly [Adam Sapi Mkwawa]?

Sijaona: The Speaker is no longer in Beijing.

Premier Zhou: You belong to the same party.

Sijaona: Yes, let me convey the greetings of President Nyerere.

Premier Zhou: Thank you. Is President Nyerere in good health?

Sijaona: Very good, President Nyerere hopes that our two countries will continue to have friendly relations.

Premier Zhou: Not only must they continue, they should continue to improve as well.

Sijaona: We are the first official delegation to visit China. I believe that more will come to China after us.

Premier Zhou: I hope so too. Did you go through Cairo on your way home?

Sijaona: We will return via Mumbai and Nairobi.

Premier Zhou: Which country's airline will you take?

Sijaona: From Nairobi to Dar es Salaam, we will fly on East African Airlines and from Mumbai to Nairobi on an aircraft owned by Indian Airlines and East African Airlines.

Premier Zhou: Is East African Airlines owned by the UK?

Sijaona: It belongs to the three East African countries. It is jointly owned by Kenya, Tanganyika and Uganda. It is one of the joint enterprises of the three East African countries.

Premier Zhou: What other joint enterprises does East Africa have?

Sijaona: We have joint enterprises in areas such as railways, posts and telecommunications, customs, and income tax as well as joint research.

Premier Zhou: Very good. Kenya was originally scheduled to be independent on December 12. Recently, the newspaper reported that the United Kingdom pushed the date of Kenya’s independence back to December 20, just a few days later. Why did they do that?

Sijaona: I don't know about that.

Premier Zhou: The Kenyan authorities oppose the rescheduling. But in any event, in a few days, they will all be independent. The general trend is the relationship between your countries and the Western countries cannot be changed.

Sijaona: History created our relationship with Western countries as it did our relationship with the UK. We have clearly stated that from the date of our country's independence, our country's policy will be to have friendly relations with all countries and special ties with the socialist countries.

Premier Zhou: What is going on with the East African Union? We had hoped that the East African Federation would be established this year. It looks like it won't be established this year.

Premier Zhou: The relations among some of the countries of East Africa do not seem to be good. Would mediation be possible? They are all East African countries and unity is most important. The problems between Somalia and Ethiopia and between Somalia and Kenya are all because of border disputes. Talks are good and there can be mediation. The border issue can be resolved through peaceful negotiations. If it cannot be resolved, it will have to be put aside as I said to the Somali Prime Minister. He also agreed, in principle, that if tensions rise on this issue, it could easily become a very serious one.

The Addis Ababa meetings were very good and show that the African countries are united. The meeting showed that issues among African countries are secondary and will not affect the unity and anti-imperialist mission of the African countries. This meeting was a good start. The 1955 Bandung Conference also had a big impact in Africa. What was the attitude of Madagascar after the Addis Ababa meeting?

Sijaona: Madagascar's attitude has changed. Madagascar and former French colonies formed the Madagascar-African Union. Now they have agreed to dissolve the organization. Some disagreed with that decision such as the former Congo (Brazzaville). The president disagreed with dissolution but now he has stepped down.

Premier Zhou: There certainly will be difficulties on the road ahead but the African people can overcome them. The peoples of Africa and Asia can solve these problems themselves without foreign interference. Problems will be easier to solve that way. We talk to African friends and always hope. Africa will be united just as we hope that Asia will be united. You have a good relationship with Kenya. Do you have a common language?

Sijaona: Yes, we have a common language, Swahili.

Premier Zhou: Could the ministers stay longer? I heard that you would like to see Chairman Mao. The Chairman is not in Beijing now. The soonest you could meet would be the day after tomorrow. We had intended to arrange for the ministers to join the Speaker in a meeting with Chairman Mao.

Sijaona: We are satisfied that we could see the Premier today. We would have liked to spend more time in China, but I have been away from my country for a month. I missed the last meeting of the National Assembly and so did not participate. It will meet again in November. Moreover, my department was just established and so there is a lot of work to do.

Premier Zhou: I am sorry that I will not be able to arrange a meeting with Chairman Mao.

Sijaona: Although our stay in China has been very short, the various contacts that we have been made have been helpful and made a deep impression on us.

Premier Zhou: Thank you for your compliments. We haven't done accomplished very much but one thing you can see is that the Chinese people are busy with internal construction. You can see this from the factories, schools, communes you've visited since your arrival. We can also see that our newspaper mostly discuss national construction. On international issues, our newspapers devote a lot of space to supporting the national independence of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America and to opposing imperialism and colonialism. You understand this. We have been oppressed and deceived by imperialism. We are not yet completely rid ourselves of it yet. Therefore, we naturally feel sympathy for the struggle of the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America and try our best to support it.

Sijaona: The African people are very grateful to China for their support and hope that this support will continue.

Premier Zhou: This is what we should do, but I have actually done very little. The countries that triumphed first have the responsibility and the duty to help the countries that triumphed later. Because of this, we should work hard to build our own country so that we will be in a position to help other countries that win their independence later. You can feel the peaceful atmosphere in our country. We must achieve a peaceful domestic environment so that we will be able to engage in national construction.

When you pass through Mumbai on the way home, you will see that there is a very different atmosphere in India. In India there is not a strong and warlike anti-China atmosphere as India prepares for war with China. When you get there, you will see that the newspaper headlines are full of this. You have to go through Mumbai and see that there is a strong anti-Chinese atmosphere there and that they are actively preparing for war with China. When you get to Mumbai, you will see that the newspapers are full of headlines about this. President Nyerere has been very concerned about the Sino-Indian border issue. The Chinese government discussed this issue with the President through our Ambassador in Tanganyika. I am sure that the Minister also knows about this.

Sijaona: I only know that they had a conversation. I didn't know what the conversation was about.

Premier Zhou: I would like to make these points about the current situation on the Sino-Indian border. I would like to ask the Minister to convey this to President Nyerere.

First of all, tensions on the Sino-Indian border conflict have eased. Why? We have taken a number of measures. First, ever since we took the initiative to cease fire in November of last year, the border conflict has stopped. Second, we took the initiative to withdraw. We moved the forces that counter-attacked India back 20 kilometers from the Actual Line of Control. This created a 20 kilometer separation between our forces and the Indian forces and Indian civil affairs personnel. Within that 20 kilometer wide area, our forces patrol without weapons thus actually avoiding conflicts. The army they were fighting has withdrawn and will not go back there as long as India does not provoke us, there will be no more conflict. Third, we took the initiative in returning Indian officers and men who had been captured. Fourth, we returned injured personnel. Fifth, we returned most of the weapons that we had captured. And sixth, and most important, is that when, during the big conflict, India crossed the Line of Actual Control, we drove them out and removed everything from that area. We turned it into a disputed area. Not only do our soldiers not go there, our civil personnel will not go there either until the dispute is resolved through negotiations.

That is how things stand today. As long as that situation prevails, there will, in fact, be no tensions on the border.

Second, regarding the proposal of the six Colombo countries headed by Ceylon, India announced that it has accepted the six recommendations of the Colombo countries and at the same time asked China to accept them all as a precondition for negotiations. Otherwise, India declared that it will not implement any of the recommendations. You may have seen this already in the Mumbai newspapers. They are constantly talking. Soon, when Indian Deputy Foreign Minister Singh visits Tanganyika, he will discuss this issue. I need to be clear about this issue. Although India announced its acceptance of the Colombo country's proposal, it has not implemented any of those recommendations.

The six measures we took were our positive response to the Colombo proposals and even went beyond them. We have reservations only about item C of the second recommendation. Item C of the second recommendation that until a solution is found through negotiation, the disputed area should be jointly managed by the civil authorities of the two countries. The meaning of this is unclear.

We believe that that area is Chinese territory and that the conflict arose because India invaded that territory and made that area into a disputed area. If the dispute about the area is to be resolved through negotiations between the two parties, civil authorities cannot be sent in before it is resolved since that would trigger a conflict. We emptied out the area as a concession from outside. We take a reservation on the Colombo recommendations only on that point. Therefore, although we cannot say that we accept all the Colombo recommendations, we do take them as a basis for negotiations.

We will take part in bilateral negotiations with India without any preconditions. If India requires that we accept all the Colombo recommendations, that they are setting a precondition for negotiations. India's interpretation of item C of the second recommendation is more specific than the recommendation itself. They are the object of a mediation and not a judge. The Colombo recommendations are only suggestions and not a verdict. The Six Colombo countries also do not consider it to be a ruling. Therefore, the current stalemate is not our responsibility.

Third, will there be a conflict? I think the current situation is the same as it was last year. Now I will make two assurances.

First, we have withdrawn 20 kilometers and actively separated the forces. If India does not invade again, there will be no conflict. Second, the Colombo countries made their suggestions last year but this time last year there was conflict because India continued to repeatedly invade our territory. We made repeated protests but no one paid us any attention. Everyone thought it was a trivial matter and so paid no attention. Now the entire world is paying attention. Now we have the mediation of the Colombo countries and we have not invaded India. Therefore, we are not worried. India says that we are mobilizing large forces. This is groundless. You may ask why India said this. The Indian government says, and the Indian Prime Minister has said, these things in order to raise tensions.

He does this for two reasons.

The first reason is to get foreign assistance. He extends his right hand to get assistance from the United States and extends his left hand to get assistance from the Soviet Union. The whole world knows this. We do not ask anyone for assistance and pay our debts as well.

The second reason is to suppress India's own domestic progressive forces, to collect high taxes, to confiscate gold. The Indian newspapers say this. You have been to India and so understand this better than we do. Therefore, the current situation on Sino-Indian border should not be tense. Even the US newspapers doubt whether it is really tense. I can't be worried about it. Of course, Asian and African friends will ask, what will you do if it really does become tense?

We took three approaches. First, after the small Indian army invaded our territory and then withdrew, and after a plane violated Chinese air space and then left, we only sent diplomatic notes to India, informed the Colombo countries, and published information about it in the newspapers, so that people all over the world would know about it.

Second, after the Indian army invaded and did not withdraw but instead occupied some of our territory, we asked Colombo to persuade India to withdraw. We also announced in the newspapers that if the Indians withdraw that will be end of the matter.

Third, if they do not accept the recommendation of the Colombo countries and still do not leave, then we are back to the same situation that we were in in October of last year and we have the right to defend ourselves. Even if the situation gets tense, we still have our three approaches and other options but we hope that the Indian government will not go too far. India is still one of the Asian and African countries. We don't want to see India returning to the embrace of the United States one day. India has 400 million people and is a great nation. There is no reason for our two countries not to work together.

That is the current situation. I hope that through the Minister, the President and the Tanganyika government will understand the actual situation.

To restate matters more simply: First, the situation is not tense. Second, we are ready to ready at any time to respond positively to the Colombo countries recommendations and negotiate. And third, if there some factor cause an increase in tensions, then with the help of the Colombo countries, those factors will be discouraged. That is the current situation and our overall policy.

I thank the Minister for his time.

Sijaona: The Premier's discussion was very useful and informative and will be conveyed to President Nyerere.

Premier Zhou: Thank you.

List of members of the Tanganyikan Cultural Delegation:

Head of Delegation: Lawi Nangwanda Sijaona, Minister of National Culture and Youth

Delegation member: Masinga Governor of Mtwara Region

Delegation member: Mshanji Rousshoto Special Commissioner

Distribution: Foreign Affairs Office of the Central Committee of the CCP (3), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Investigation Department of the CC; International Liaison Department of the CC; Propaganda Department of the CC; Organization Department of the CC; Chinese Academy of Sciences, China Association for Science and Technology, Ministry of Culture; Ministry of Education; Ministry of Public Health; General Administration of Sport of China; Xinhua News Agency; All-China Journalists Association; China Writers' Association; Broadcasting, Film and Television Department; Religious Affairs Bureau; Islamic Association of China; Philosophy and Social Sciences Department of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Zhang, Chu, Zhi, Ding, Qu, Luo, Zhu, Cao, Chen, Zhou, Office (2), Department I, Department II (2), Department III, Department IV (2), International Division, Research, Exchanges, Performances, Cadre Department, Party Office, Archives

Foreign Languages Bureau (2), International, China Construction, China-Soviet Friendship Association, Exhibition Studio

Retain 3 copies. Total of 56 copies printed.