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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 13, 1958

ORDERS FROM [PRC] MINISTER OF DEFENSE [PENG DEHUAI] TO HALT THE BOMBARDMENT OF KINMEN FOR ANOTHER TWO WEEKS

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

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    The PRC Minister of Defense writes to members of the People's Liberation Army in Fujian province during the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, calling for them to stop shelling Kinmen and observe the situation. He argues that the United States should not interfere in China's Civil War.
    "Orders from [PRC] Minister of Defense [Peng Dehuai] to Halt the Bombardment of Kinmen for Another Two Weeks," October 13, 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): 131-132. Translated by Simon Schuchat. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/240248
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The Minister of Defense’s [Peng Dehuai] Order to Our Army’s Fujian Front-Line for a Two Week Pause in Bombardment of Jinmen

(October 13, 1958)

People’s Liberation Army Fujian Front-line Comrades:

Bombardment of Jinmen, from this day on, shall be paused once again for two weeks.  This is so that we can observe the enemy’s movements, and also to allow the compatriot troops and civilians on Jinmen to fully resupply, including food and military equipment, to help them hold their ground.  Soldiers never tire of using tricks, and this is a trick.  This is in order to counter the Americans, this shows nationalist honor; we must draw a clear line between China and the U.S.  Our doing so, from the perspective of the overall situation, does no harm to us, and has benefits for others.  What others does it benefit?  It benefits the ten million Chinese on Taiwan, the Penghu Island, Jinmen and Mazu.  It is in the interests of the entire race of 650 million people, except for the Americans.  Some Communist Party members may be unable for the time being to understand this reasoning.  “How did you come up with this idea?  I don’t understand! I don’t understand!”  Comrades, there will come a time when you will be able to understand.  The Americans hanging out on Taiwan and the Taiwan Straits must be driven out.  There is no reason for them to be hanging around here, they will have to go.  There are more patriots among the Chinese people on Taiwan, Penghu, Jinmen and Mazu, and very few traitors, and therefore we need to carry out political work, to bring about a gradual raised consciousness among the majority there, and isolate the small minority of traitors.  Give it time and the results will be self-evident.  As long as the Nationalists on Taiwan haven’t engaged in peace talks with us and we haven’t achieved a reasonable resolution through peaceful negotiations, the [state of] civil war will continue to exist. According to the proclamation by Taiwan is, pause and attack, pause and attack, is nothing more than a Communist scheme.  It’s true we alternate between pause and attack, but it’s no trick.  If you don’t want peace talks, then fighting can’t be avoided.  As long as you engage in your current stubborn attitude, we are free to do whatever we want, attack or pause whenever we want.  The Americans want to stick their hands into the problem of our civil war, it’s utterly ludicrous when they call for a cease-fire.  What qualifies the Americans to talk about this issue, anyway?  I’d like to know who do they represent.  They don’t represent anyone!  Do they represent the American people?  The U.S. and China have not declared war, so there is no fire to cease. Do they represent the people of Taiwan?  The Taiwan authorities haven’t given them a power of attorney, and the Nationalist Party leaders absolutely opposes a Sino-American meeting.  The American nationality is a great nationality, its people are kind-hearted.  They don’t want war, they welcome peace, but among the staff in the American government there is a group, such as Dulles and his ilk, who are too clever for their own good.  For example, this talk of a so-called ceasefire, doesn’t it go against common sense?  For Taiwan, Penghu, Jinmen and Mazu, to be recovered and returned as a whole, to complete the unification of the motherland, is the sacred task of our 650 million people.  This is China’s internal affair, outsiders have no right to interfere, the United Nations has no right to interfere.  All aggressors and their running dogs everywhere in the world will all be destroyed and buried, and the time for that is not far off.  They definitely will not be able to escape, even if they try to go hide in the moon they will be captured.  Wherever the bandits can go, I can go too, and in the end I will get drag them back.  In a word, victory belongs to the people of the entire world.  The Americans cannot convoy shipping in the Jinmen Straits.  If they do, we’ll immediately open fire.  This is an order!

[Peng Dehuai]

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