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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 28, 1962

RECORD OF PREMIER ZHOU’S TALK WITH PRIME MINISTER PHAM VAN DONG

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

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    Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong discuss North Vietnam's support for revolutions in South Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos.
    "Record of Premier Zhou’s Talk with Prime Minister Pham Van Dong," August 28, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 106-01394-14, 1-4. Translated by Stephen Mercado. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/176894
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Top Secret Document 480    

    

Record of Premier Zhou’s Talk with Prime Minister Pham Van Dong

(Premier has yet to examine and approve)

1. Issue of South Vietnam’s Revolution

2. Issue of Aid to Nam Tha, Laos

3. Issue of the Soviet Halt to Air Transport to Laos

Time: 28 August 1962, 7:30 a.m.  

Place: Waiting room, Guangzhou Baiyun Airfield

Interpreter and recorder:  Liang Feng

Prime Minister Pham (hereafter, Pham): You spoke to me yesterday of two issues (Note: indicating the issues of south Vietnam and Laos). On my return I will report to the Central Committee Politburo. I shall tell you later of any comments. South Vietnam's revolution certainly must rely on itself. Although implementing this policy has its difficulties, we can certainly achieve it. Please inform Chairman Mao to rest assured that we will certainly do our utmost.

Premier Zhou (hereafter, Zhou): You have a responsibility not only to south Vietnam, but to the large area that is Southeast Asia.

Pham:  The situation in Thailand is relatively difficult, and we have not intervened. The supply of Nam Tha in Laos is very difficult. The Lao forces there are on the verge of disbanding. We hope that you can help them.

Zhou: What are they mainly lacking

Pham: As far as I know, the main thing that they lack is food. They may be lacking other things.  On my return to Vietnam, once I understand the situation I will report it to Comrade Zhu Qiwen.

Zhou: We can assist you. Please give use a list.

Pham: We can frequently report to Comrade Zhu Qiwen the situation in south Vietnam.

Zhou: No reports, just keep us informed. There is also the issue of a reply letter to [Norodom] Sihanouk.

Pham: After returning to Hanoi, I can immediately write in reply to Sihanouk and fully support his proposal.

Zhou: The Soviet Union has already halted air transport to Laos. We believe that it is still necessary for the Soviet Union to continue undertaking this task. The Soviet Union and Laos have formal diplomatic relations. It is more convenient for them than for us. Also, keeping this transport route is of benefit to us socialist countries. The United States is continuing its air transport to [Phoumi] Nosavan. Why cannot the Soviet Union continue air transport to Laos? If the Soviet Union makes an excuse in saying that [Souvanna] Phouma has not raised such a request, through the Lao side and Quinim [Pholsena] we can think of a way to have Phouma raise such a request. If the Soviet Union still refuses, we both -- China and Vietnam – will have to cooperate and undertake this task. In Vietnam and Laos signing an air transport agreement, Vietnamese technical personnel would have difficulties. We temporarily send personnel and, when the issue of Vietnamese technical personnel is solved in the future, the Chinese experts will be withdrawn. We can sign an agreement with you. In so doing, Laos will have to establish diplomatic relations with Vietnam and China. Otherwise, Nosavan will be able to advance and carry out destruction at any time. The security of flights will not be guaranteed.

Pham: First of all, we must find a way to have the Soviet Union continue to undertake this task. All of us --- China, Vietnam, and Laos – will raise this request to the Soviet Union. As a last resort, we – China and Vietnam -- will cooperate to undertake this task.

Zhou: We can raise this request to the Soviet Union.

Pham: Following my return, we and the Lao side also will raise this with the Soviet Union.

[...]