Former Romanian Foreign Minister Corneliu Manescu discusses an incident involving the flight of a Romanian delegation over Chinese territory just prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Manescu reports that at the time, Romanian leader Gheorghiu-Dej interpreted miscommunication regarding their flightplan as a Soviet attempt on his life. He also discusses the Romanian response to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
October 23, 1962
Meeting of Dumitru Gheorghiu, Romanian Ambassador to Beijing, at the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry Discussing the Over-Flight of Chinese Territory by the Aircraft Transporting Members of the Romanian Delegation Led by Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej
This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation
In the morning of 22 October 1962, at 13 [sic], Comrade D. Gheorghiu was invited to the MFA of the PRC where he was received by Yu Zhan, the director of the USSR and East European Directorate. The USSR Ambassador, Comrade S. V. Chervonenko, was also invited. In the audience hall the deputy director of the Chinese Civil Air Transport Society, a Romanian translator, a stenographer and the assistants to the Soviet and Romanian ambassadors were also present.
Comrade Zhan communicated the following in connection with the flight of the aircraft that transported the members of the Romanian delegation led by Cde. Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej over Chinese territory.
In the afternoon of 21 October of this year, the Chinese Civil Air Transport Society received a telegram from the Soviet Air Transport Society through which it was communicated that special aircraft IL 18 will depart New Delhi on 22 October at 1430 hrs enroute to Tashkent and it was requested to assure the security of the flight over Chinese territory. The two ambassadors already informed Zhang Hanfu, the deputy minister of foreign affairs, about the flight of the aircraft over this portion of Chinese territory: the aircraft must respect the normal route between New Delhi and Tashkent and should flight at an altitude over 9000 meters. Comrade Zhang Hanfu expressed the desire on the part of the Chinese to be informed if it would fly over this route. The Chinese side has not received a response; the Chinese Civil Air Transport Society only received a telegram containing the communication related above. The MFA does not know if this communication took into account the Chinese side regarding the flight of the aircraft over this portion of Chinese territory and, thus, the Chinese Civil Air Transport Society could not respond to the received telegram. Comrade Yu Zhan requested Comrades S. V. Chervonenko and D. Gheorghiu to respond to this problem. Before receiving response, Comrade Yu Zhan explained that the Chinese authorities agree that the aircraft fly over Chinese territory, drawing attention to the fact that the aircraft should respect the normal route and minimum altitude of 9000 meters, because military conflicts [in the area] continue and Indian aircraft have entered into the fight. If there is any deviation from the normal route and the designated altitude is not respected then dangerous situations could arise and the security of the aircraft cannot be assured.
Comrade Yu Zhan further expressed the hope that the aircraft fly at the announced time, requested that any eventual changes should be brought to his knowledge in order to be made known to the border troops. For greater operational efficiency, these changes can be communicated directly to the Chinese Civil Air Transport Society. The route that should be respected passes over the localities: Cha Xikang, Luotuoke, Hetian, Keshi. The Chinese Civil Air Transport Society will inform the Soviet Air Transport Society that our response has been given through the Soviet and Romanian ambassadors.
Comrades S. V. Chervonenko and D. Gheorghiu explained that the information given by Comrade Zhang Hanfu was brought to the immediate attention of the appropriate organs. Comrade S. V. Chervonenko expressed his faith that the telegram of the Soviet Air Transport Society took into account the information of Comrade Zhang Hanfu.
(ss) R. Budura
The Romanian Ambassador to China and Yu Zhan, the director of the USSR and East European Directorate, discuss an incident involving a flight by members of a Romanian delegation led by Cde. Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej over Chinese territory. The USSR Ambassador, Comrade S. V. Chervonenko, was also present.
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