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April 20, 1965

Minutes of Conversation between Premier Zhou and Bhutto

This document was made possible with support from Henry Luce Foundation

Secret Document 374


Foreign Ministry File


Summary of Talks between Premier Zhou and Bhutto

(Premier has not yet reviewed)


Time: 20 April 1965, 2 p.m.

Location: Chinese Ambassador’s Villa in Bogor

Accompanying persons: Vice Premier Chen [Yi]; Zhang Wenjin, Director, [2nd Asian Affairs Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs]; Ambassador Yao

Interpreter and recorder: Ji Chaozhu


[Minister of Foreign Affairs Zulfikar Ali] Bhutto first introduced the situation regarding the visit of [President] Ayub [Khan] to the Soviet Union. He said: The Soviet side originally was thinking to postpone the visit because [Leonid] Brezhnev and [Alexei] Kosygin wanted to visit Poland. Ayub did not agree. Therefore, he visited the Soviet Union as scheduled. In the Soviet Union were discussed the following issues: the issue of Pakistan’s participation in the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO); the development of the current international situation; Soviet military aid to India; and the issue of Kashmir. On the last day the foreign ministers discussed the issue of Soviet participation in the Second Asian-African Conference.


Ayub said to the Soviet side that Pakistan, a neighboring country of China and the Soviet Union, feels uneasy regarding the differences between China and the Soviet Union and hoped that the differences can be reduced, as these differences will be exploited by others to the detriment of world peace.


To this the Soviet side said that the differences between China and the Soviet Union are a matter between the two parties. Relations between the two countries are normal. Others have no way of exploiting the differences between China and the Soviet Union. The Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Mutual Assistance is in effect.


Then Ayub spoke of the Vietnam issue.


Ayub pointed out that the attitude of the Soviet Union is a very important factor in this conflict. The United States is probing the Soviet Union’s attitude. If the Soviet Union can unambiguously declare that the Soviet Union stands on the side of Vietnam and, if the United States attacks China, the Soviet Union will aid China, then this could reduce the possibility of the conflict expanding.


The Soviet side said that the Soviet Union is aiding Vietnam with advanced weapons. Vietnam uses them to shoot down US aircraft, which proves this point. The United States also should know that if they attacked China, the Soviet Union would carry out the Sino-Soviet Treaty, which would cause a world nuclear war.


Bhutto said: When [President Lyndon] Johnson made his speech [at the Johns Hopkins University] on 7 April, they were on their way to Tashkent. [Dimitry] Polyansky at that time read to them the full text of the speech. He said that the Soviet Union believed that this speech had some good parts to it. In the speech, Johnson mentioned that the United States respected the appeal of the 17 countries.


At that time Bhutto said that he doubted that the United States would honor that appeal. In addition, in the speech there was particular reference to the threat of China but no mention of the Soviet Union. This is a vile attempt to incite disharmony in Sino-Soviet relations because this formulation means that China is aiding Vietnam and the Soviet Union is not aiding Vietnam. Bhutto further pointed out that if he were the Soviet side, he would say: The Soviet Union and China alike are participating in this conflict. The United States should not attempt to incite disharmony in Sino-Soviet relations.


The Soviet side said that they are in contact with China and talking over the adoption of joint actions (indicating tripartite high-level talks) while at the same time consulting with each country of Eastern Europe.


Bhutto said: Johnson’s speech was deceptive. Therefore, unconditional discussion in reality has a condition, which is the requirement to let US troops to stay in South Vietnam and ensure South Vietnam's independence. The United States says that it wants to make Vietnam neutral and call this its concession, but in reality it has already torn up the 1954 Geneva Accords.


Another issue that the two sides discussed is that of the Soviet Union giving military aid to India. Pakistan’s side indicated to the Soviet side that the weapons that India obtained could be used not to fight China but other neighboring countries. Unfortunately, in aiding India, the policies of the Soviet Union and the United States were coordinated. Kosygin said that it was incorrect to say that Soviet and US policies were coordinated with one another. Kosygin furthermore made an oblique charge, telling Pakistan’s side that those who said such things were not their friends. Pakistan’s side said that this was their own estimate, not something others had told them. Kosygin said that India in the conflict with China had suffered great shame, so it was necessary to encourage their self-confidence. The main reason that the Soviet Union has given them aid is that if the Soviet Union did not do so, then it would be completely replaced by the United States and West Germany. Bhutto said that therefore Pakistan’s side says that the policies of the Soviet Union and United States were coordinated. Why did the Soviet side oppose this way of saying it? Later they discussed the issue of Pakistan’s participation in military groups. The Soviet Union said that the Soviet side does not necessarily demand that Pakistan withdraw from SEATO and CENTO. However, if Pakistan restricted its military activities in these treaty organizations and did not allow the United States to use Pakistan as a base to attack the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union could then consider adjusting its policy on Kashmir and recommend that officials from both countries discuss this issue. However, after officials of both countries discussed this issue, on the morning of 7 April, [Anastas] Mikoyan or someone (Bhutto could not recall) said to Pakistan’s side, “Fine, we have heard the views of both sides. Let’s forget about it.” This was really baffling. President Ayub told Bhutto that this proved that what Premier Zhou said with regard to Soviet leaders, that they do not keep their word, is correct. 


In the period that Ayub was visiting the Soviet Union, the Indian ambassador was very active. Bhutto said: One can also see that the Soviet leadership was not very stable. Nor were opinions within it coherent. They were unable to produce any positive decision. The Soviet side suggested a willingness to carry out economic cooperation and provide economic aid. Pakistan’s side indicated that most important was the political issue.


Bhutto said: Generally speaking, Pakistan’s side is very satisfied regarding the Soviet visit, which has promoted sincere relations between the two countries and strengthened economic cooperation and aid between the countries. We have also come to understand one another further.


Bhutto spoke with regard to President Ayub’s postponement of his visit to the United States. The reason is mainly due to the extraordinarily disappointing position of the United States regarding the issue of Pakistan in Vietnam. Due to Pakistan’s opposition, SEATO has basically lost its function. In July last year, Pakistan’s position regarding the issue of Vietnam was that it should be resolved through peaceful and dignified negotiations. The armed conflict should not expand. But since then, the United States has bombed North Vietnam. Pakistan’s side appreciates and is sympathetic toward the demand of Vietnam’s side reasonable demand that the United States first withdraw its troops. It is truly ironic that the Americans demand that the Vietnamese withdraw from their own territory. As Asians, Pakistan’s side naturally wants to see a peaceful resolution. Pakistan’s official policy remains that of hoping for a resolution through peaceful negotiations. The conflict should not be expanded. In fact, however, Pakistan is sympathetic to Vietnam. Nor does the United States not understand this point. The US ambassador said to Pakistan’s side, “Although your official position still appears as you explained it last year, we know that you sympathize with China and North Vietnam.” Therefore, the reason that the US side suggested postponing the President of Pakistan’s visit is that if at present the President of Pakistan should visit the United States, due to the “slight” differences that the two countries have on the Vietnam issue, it would cause embarrassment for the presidents of the two countries.


Bhutto said: As for me, I am happy to postpone the visit. In my last visit to China, I also said to you that the United States wants to use US military and economic aid to lure Pakistan. Of course our President will absolutely not accept that. However, postponing this visit in general will give us more time to consolidate our position.


With regard to the conflict between India and Pakistan, Bhutto said: In this conflict both sides used a division of military troops. The contested area is no more than 3,000 square miles.


Premier Zhou said that Ayub’s visiting the Soviet Union was still good and that Bhutto's analysis of the Soviet leadership was correct. The Premier then analyzed the attitude of the Soviet leadership regarding the Vietnam issue and the recent Soviet-Vietnamese statement. The Premier continued, also saying that the Soviet Union indeed had given Vietnam some aid, but that it had not been much, everything given had been old, and that they had been too slow in sending it. It took seven months for 40 trains. Perhaps the problem has been solved with the Vietnamese side’s latest visit to the Soviet Union. The Premier then also analyzed Johnson’s speech of 17 April and, given the intrusion of US aircraft over the island of Hainan, explained that the United States had still not decided to fight China but needed to be prepared for it.


With regard to the Premier’s passing through Pakistan in early June, Bhutto said that if the Premier came before 10 June, both he and the President would still be in Pakistan.


Bhutto proposed to the Premier that, for the next SEATO ministerial conference, Pakistan, similarly to France [in relation to NATO], not send a government representative, only an observer. He said that he thought Pakistan would still go, but if the ministerial conference issued a bad resolution on Vietnam regardless of Pakistan’s opposition, then Pakistan would have its reservations and, of course, Pakistan would be under great pressure. The Premier agreed with Bhutto’s view and said that now is not the time to withdraw.


Carbon copies: Politburo Standing Committee, Peng Zhen; Chen Yi; He Long; [Lu] Dingyi; Kang Sheng; [Nie] Rongzhen; [Luo] Ruiqing; [Yang] Shangkun; Confidential Affairs Office, General Office (2); Foreign Affairs Office (6); Central Propaganda Department (2); International Liaison Department (6);Investigation Department (4); Ministry of National Defense (7); Military Intelligence Department (2); Third Department (3); Liu; Zhang; Luo; Ji; Meng; Qiao; Han; Liu; Gong; Dong; General Office (3); Foreign Policy Research Office; First Asian Affairs Department; Soviet and East European Affairs Department; Second Asian Affairs Department; West European Affairs Department; West European Affairs Department; Asian and African Affairs Department; American and Australasian Affairs Department; International Organizations and Conferences Department; Information Department; Ministry of Education; Ambassador; 3 file copies; 73 copies printed in total


Received on 6 May 1965                                                             Submitted for printing on 7 May 1965


General Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs                              Printed and distributed on 7 May 1965






Bhutto shares with Zhou the results of Ayub Khan's visit to the Soviet Union. He also discusses the problems that the Sino-Soviet split has created for Pakistan, Soviet military aid to India, and the Vietnam War.

Document Information


PRC FMA 203-00653-01, 6-11. Translated by Stephen Mercado.


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