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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 06, 1958

LETTER FROM THE [PRC] MINISTER OF DEFENSE [PENG DEHUAI] TO TAIWANESE COMPATRIOTS

This document was made possible with support from the Chun & Jane Chiu Family Foundation

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    During the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, the PRC Minister of Defense urges the Nationalists to negotiate with the CCP, arguing that the Americans will eventually abandon them.
    "Letter from the [PRC] Minister of Defense [Peng Dehuai] to Taiwanese Compatriots," October 06, 1958, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Gang er si Wuhan daxue zongbu et al, eds., Mao Zedong sixiang wansui (Long Live Mao Zedong Thought), vol. 4 (1958-1960) (Wuhan, internal circulation, May 1968): 130. Translated by Simon Schuchat. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/240247
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The Minister of Defense’s [Peng Dehuai] Proclamation to Taiwan Compatriots

(October 6, 1958)

Military and Civilian Compatriots on Taiwan, Penghu [Islands], Jinmen, Mazu:

We are all Chinese; of the thirty-six stratagems, Peace is the best.  The battle for Jinmen is of a punitive nature. Your leaders have for a long time been too outrageous, directing aircraft to fly all over the mainland, reaching as far as Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan, Xikang, Qinghai, where they scattered leaflets, dropped spies, bombed Fujian, and harassed Jiangsu and Zhejiang.  This is beyond intolerable.   Therefore, we fired a few cannons, to get your attention.  Taiwan, Penghu, Jinmen and Mazu are Chinese territory.  On this point you agree, as can be seen in your leader’s statements, and they are definitely not American territory.    Taiwan, Penghu, Jinmen and Mazu are part of China, and not a separate country.  There is only one China in the world, there are not two Chinas.  On this point you also agree, as can be seen in your leader’s statements.  Your leader has signed a military agreement with the Americans, which is one-sided, we don’t accept it, and it ought to be invalidated.  The Americans will certainly one day abandon you, don’t you believe it?  The giant that is history will bear evidence to this.  The clue is already exposed in Dulles’ September 30 interview.  Can you not shiver, standing in your position?  After all, American imperialism is our common enemy.  130,000 soldiers and civilians on Jinmen are running out of supplies, suffering from cold and hunger.  They cannot go on in this condition.  For humanitarian reasons, I have already ordered the front lines in Fujian [to observe] a one week temporary cease fire, starting on October 6, so that you can completely and freely transport supplies, on the condition that there is no American convoy.  If there is a convoy then it won’t apply.  This war between us has already been going on for more than thirty years and still hasn’t ended, and that is not good.  We propose holding negotiation, to achieve a peaceful settlement.  Several years ago Premier Zhou [Enlai] had already told you about this.  This is China’s internal affair, a problem between our two sides, it isn’t a bilateral problem involving the United States and China.  The U.S. occupation of Taiwan, Penghu, and the Taiwan Straits – that is a bilateral problem between the United States and China, which ought to be resolved through negotiations between the two countries, and there are currently talks being held in Warsaw.  The Americans will have to leave one day, there is no alternative.  It would be in the Americans’ interest to leave earlier, because they would retain the initiative.  Leaving later won’t be good [for them] because they will be forced.  Why did an Eastern Pacific country come to the Western Pacific? The Western Pacific is the Western Pacific people’s Western Pacific, just the same as the Eastern Pacific is the Eastern Pacific people’s Eastern Pacific, this is just common sense, and the Americans ought to understand it.  There is no war between the People’s Republic of China and the United States, so there is no so-called cease-fire.  To talk about a cease-fire where there is no fire, isn’t it plain nonsense?  Friends on Taiwan, there are the fires of war between us, which ought to stop, and be extinguished.  This will require negotiations.  Of course, to fight for another thirty years would be no big deal, but ultimately it would be preferable to come to an early peaceful resolution.  Please, it’s up to you to decide where you want to go.

[Peng Dehuai]

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