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May 11, 1965

Letter from Zhou Enlai to Mao Zedong on the Nuclear Test

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Chairman [Mao Zedong]:


The aerial test this time was originally scheduled to be carried out on the morning of May 8. At that time, owing to a sudden change in meteorological conditions, winds in the upper atmosphere shifted from the west toward the northeast, unfavorable to an aerial test, and thus an order was issued on the spot to halt [the aerial test].


After two days of observation, the weather this afternoon gradually turned favorable. There will likely be more than twenty hours of good weather between the 12th and the 13th. After consulting yesterday evening with [Luo] Ruiqing, [Yang] Chengwu, Liu Jie and other comrades, we have already told the front to prepare to proceed. I have just now received a telegram from the front (attached); the action is already set for tomorrow.


An after-action press communique (attached) has already been carefully scrutinized by comrades on the [Politburo] Standing Committee, and I now send it for your approval. If it’s all right, please tell Xu Yefu to reply to me by telephone. 


Zhou Enlai

11 May [1965]


Zhou Enlai informs Mao Zedong that favorable weather conditions will allow them to carry out the aerial nuclear test explosion. An official statement for the press has also been prepared.


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Dang de wenxian (Party Historical Documents), no. 3 (1994): 27. Translated by Neil Silver.


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