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November 30, 1962

Minutes of Conversation between Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Huang Zhen and Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk

This document was made possible with support from MacArthur Foundation

Vice Minister Huang: I am very glad to meet you here and I am grateful that you have taken the time to meet me.


[King] Sihanouk: Glad to meet you, too.


Huang: When I left Beijing, Chairman Mao [Zedong], Vice Chairman Liu [Shaoqi], Premier Zhou [Enlai], and Vice Premier Chen [Yun] told me to extend their regards to you.


Sihanouk: Thank you and them very much. And please remember to give my regards to Chairman Mao, Vice Chairman Liu, Premier Zhou, and Vice Premier Chen.


Huang: Thank you very much, I will. I brought a letter from Premier Zhou for you. Here it is. As it was very urgent when I left, Premier Zhou had no time to sign it, but the signed document will be sent soon.


Sihanouk: Thank you. I can understand this (that Premier Zhou did not sign), because I did not sign the letter to Premier Zhou until I departed. May I read the letter?


Huang: Please.


Sihanouk: (after reading the letter) Both President Sukarno and I want to make efforts in respect to the Sino-Indian relationship, so that our two friends, China and India, can sit at the negotiation table. I hope I can attend the Six-Nation Conference proposed by Ceylon’s prime minister. If the conference is held after I leave Indonesia, I will attend it by myself; if it is before I leave Indonesia, I will dispatch the president of the council of ministers to attend. I made arrangements for this matter before I left Cambodia.


Huang: We are very grateful that you have always been very concerned that the Sino-Indian boundary issue is settled through peaceful means and that you are making dedicated efforts [toward this]. As for the Sino-Indian boundary issue, our ambassador Chen Shuliang has given detailed explanations to you about the consistent stand of the Chinese government and our statement dated 21 November. Premier Zhou also elaborated [on this] in several letters. So I will mainly introduce the recent situation to you.


China’s statement dated 21 November has been implemented. Because China took the initiative to cease fire and withdraw, tensions on the Sino-Indian border have been somewhat mitigated and this is conducive to a new round of negotiations. But India is still creating an atmosphere of war and instigating an anti-China movement. India has not only delayed in responding to China’s fair and reasonable proposals, but has also slandered China’s positive measures. It is worth noting that although a ceasefire has taken place along the Sino-Indian border, the United States is still using every means to instigate Nehru to continue preparing for war and to provoke conflicts once again, awaiting the “opportune” moment in order to serve its purpose of “Asians beating Asians.” I believe that you are very clear about this. If the United States accomplishes its evil purpose, it is possible that India will use our withdrawal as an opportunity to launch another attack against us. In this case, the Chinese army will have to fight back and a border conflict will become unavoidable.


At such a key moment, it is crucially important to promote the current situation to develop towards a better result and lead India to come back to the negotiation table, because it is a pressing problem not only for the Chinese government and people, but also for all the countries and people which care about the Sino-Indian friendship.


As you know, there were boundary issues between China and Burma and between China and Nepal, but these issues were successfully settled through friendly negotiations under the principle of mutual understanding and accommodation. The negotiations over the boundary between China and Pakistan are also progressing smoothly. The Chinese government is confident that as long as India is sincere in peacefully settling the boundary issue, the disputes between our two countries can absolutely be settled in a fair and reasonable manner through friendly negotiations under the principle of mutual understanding and accommodation. But you must know that the main problem is that the Indian government is unwilling to settle the problem soon. So the Chinese government thinks that that the current priority is to continue the ceasefire and cut off contact between the armies of the two countries. The completion of this task will create a good atmosphere for peace negotiations. But it is not enough to rely only upon China’s efforts. It is necessary for the leaders of the friendly countries in Asia and Africa to make use of their prestige and influence to promote a positive response from India to China’s three proposals and cease fire and withdraw.


We are highly confident of your wisdom and remarkable influence in the international community. We are glad to learn that you provide active support for and will personally attend the Six-Nation Conference in Colombo. We believe that this meeting is the best way to promote the peaceful settlement of the Sino-Indian boundary issue and it is highly significant. We expect the meeting will play a significant role in promoting the peaceful negotiation of the Sino-Indian boundary issue. China also advocates for other methods to be taken toward the same purpose, including for leaders of Asian and African countries, after communicating with and contacting one another, to correspond with the leaders of China and India, or for leaders of friendly Asian and African countries to visit China and India personally or by delegation.


There is another important issue. When I left Beijing, Premier Zhou instructed me to tell you that he had received your letter dated 17 November, the attached “Declaration Scheme on Cambodia’s Neutral Stand,” and “Agreement on the Declaration of Cambodia’s Neutral Stand”. The Chinese government will make an official response to your letter dated 17 November.


We always respect and support the peaceful and neutral policies taken by Cambodia. In the letter dated 20 August from you to Premier Zhou, it was proposed to convene an international conference to officially acknowledge and ensure Cambodia’s neutrality and territorial integrity. At the same time, the Chinese government expressly indicated its support for your proposal. Unfortunately, the meeting failed to be held because of the opposition of the governments of some countries. Later, you decided to submit the “Declaration Scheme on Cambodia’s Neutral Stand” and the “Agreement on the Declaration of Cambodia’s Neutral Stand” to the governments of the relevant countries to solicit their consent. The Chinese government believes your action is constructive and we completely agree with and support your action.


After the Chinese government studies your “Agreement on the Declaration of Cambodia’s Neutral Stand,” we want to put forward two issues for your consideration.


1. With respect to the boundary between Cambodia and Thailand, and between Cambodia and South Vietnam, we do not know whether Thailand and South Vietnam have objections; if they have objections, we hope the matters can be solved through negotiations in case Thailand and South Vietnam refuse to sign. The Chinese government believes that the countries which threaten and damage Cambodia’s neutrality and territorial integrity are Thailand, South Vietnam, and the United States. These three countries must sign in order to achieve the desired effects of such a measure.


(Note: Sihanouk paid special attention to this paragraph, and nodded frequently to show his consent.)


2. With respect to the scope of authority and the voting procedures of the international committee, there are two different provisions from the Geneva Conference in 1954 and the enlarged Geneva Conference in 1962. The Chinese government believes that, under the current circumstances, the provisions with respect to the scope of authority and voting procedures of the International Commission in Laos at the enlarged Geneva Conference in 1962 are conducive to safeguarding the interests of sovereign countries.


The Kingdom of Cambodia is a peace-loving country which respects and supports the consistent implementation of peaceful and neutral policies. We are deeply convinced that your measures will be widely supported by all countries which uphold justice. You can believe that the Chinese government will surely sign onto the proposed documents as long as other relevant countries consent.


That’s all that I want to say. I hope I can listen to your views.


Sihanouk: I am very grateful for China’s support for us. As I am going to Bandung immediately, I am not prepared to air my opinions today, but I will reply in writing to Premier Zhou’s letter. You said the United States and its two followers, Thailand and South Vietnam, should sign onto the “Agreement on the Declaration of Cambodia’s Neutral Stand,” but I doubt whether they are interested. Thailand’s king once insulted me, but I still sent a copy of the agreement to him and I am now waiting for his reply. Our boundary with Thailand has been acknowledged by the international community. Thailand has signed, and this is also beneficial to the South Vietnam. I agree with your opinions, that is, all the issues should be settled by negotiations between the parties. What we claim is just the acknowledgement, guarantee, and consolidation of Cambodia’s neutral stand.



Huang Zhen and Sihanouk discus the Sino-Indian dispute, an international conference on Cambodian neutrality and territorial integrity and the boundary issue between Cambodia and Thailand and South Vietnam

Document Information


PRC FMA 106-01398-04, 57-61. Obtained by Dai Chaowu and translated by 7Brands.


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