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April 2, 1965

Record of Conversation between Premier Zhou Enlai and Pakistan's Foreign Minister Bhutto

This document was made possible with support from Henry Luce Foundation

Secret Document 280


Ministry of Foreign Affairs File


Record of Premier Zhou Enlai’s Conversation with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bhutto

(Premier has yet to review and approve)


Time:  4 p.m., 2 April 1965

Place:  Pakistan State Guesthouse

Participants on the Chinese side: Xie Fuzhi, Zhang Hanfu, Zhao Yimin, Luo Qingchang, Ding Guoyu

Participants on the Pakistan side: Foreign Secretary Aziz Ahmed, Ambassador [N.A.M.] Raza, Additional Secretary [Agha] Shahi

Interpreter: Huang Jinqi

Recorder: Guo Jianzai


(Following the exchange of conventional greetings between hosts and guests, Bhutto mentioned the issue of the recent visit to Pakistan of [Carlos P.] Romulo, diplomatic advisor to Philippine President [Diosdado Macapagal])


Bhutto: Romulo said that Pakistan’s diplomatic policy is very good. I said that the Philippines, too, could do so in mirroring Pakistan.  


Zhou: If he is brave enough to go to China, I can invite him.  


Bhutto: In the Jakarta preparatory meeting’s provisional agenda, Pakistan’s side proposed restoring China’s legitimate seat at the United Nations.  Romulo said that this sentence would make things difficult for the Philippines and that he hoped to delete it. I said that, as Pakistan’s side had proposed it, Pakistan’s side could not request its deletion. Romulo later asked me to raise it with Marshal Chen Yi.  Marshal Chen Yi agreed to delete it. He was completely grateful to Chen. After the meeting, he even embraced Chen.


Zhou: Ten years ago, at the time of the Bandung Conference, I issued invitations to Asian countries. As of this day, two of them still have not been realized. One is the invitation to Thailand. The other is the one issued to Romulo. You can tell him (indicating Romulo) that my invitation still stands.  


Bhutto: All right. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you here. Thanks to the great leaders of our two countries and to your leadership, relations between China and Pakistan grow closer with each passing day. This is not only of benefit to our two countries but to Asia and regions beyond Asia. We welcome you and those who have come with you to Pakistan. The people of Pakistan love and respect you. But our reception for you cannot compare with the reception that China has given us. Such a reception remains vivid in our memory to this day and will never fade away. The President since returning to Pakistan frequently mentions what he saw and heard on his visit to China. At the National Day troop review on 23 March, he also mentioned relations with China. He said that the Chinese people and leaders want peace. As these words were spoken during the troop review, they are particularly significant. What he said indicated to us the friendship and trust between us.  


Zhou: Thank you for your kindness. We are passing through and can only stay a day. Due to domestic affairs, we cannot stay longer. We will return here again later.  


I also am similarly grateful to His Excellency the President for his repeated praise of China since his return to Pakistan. According to our ambassador’s report, yesterday the President again mentioned China in a broadcast speech. Relations between our two countries have developed to the point they are today due on your side to His Excellency the President’s leadership and on our side to our country’s party and government, above all Chairman Mao’s leadership. It is the result of our two countries’ joint efforts. The work of our two countries’ foreign ministers and ambassadors is particularly worthy of praise. Your foreign secretary and our country’s vice foreign minister, too, have done a great deal of work.


In order to save time, I recommend that whatever issue you may have, that you first raise it and I respond, or let me know if you feel there is some news or information that you would like to tell me. Regarding this trip abroad, I will talk about it with the president in a little while.  


Bhutto: The overall international situation, the President’s visit to China, and the timing for Marshal Chen Yi’s visit to Pakistan have already been discussed. There are no particular issues for us to raise with the Chinese side. I only wish to speak a bit about the issue of the Asian-African Conference. The Indians are attempting to make trouble for the Second Asian-African Conference. They wish to propose changes to the procedural issue, wish to adopt a policy of delay, and have the Soviet Union and Malaysia participate in the conference. Turkey told us of this at the time of the trilateral regional cooperation and development meeting of Turkey, Pakistan, and Iran [Regional Cooperation for Development, RCD]. I have discussed this situation with Marshal Chen Yi.


The procedural issue is very important. It can cause many problems. Sound and beneficial principles were established at the Jakarta preparatory meeting. We should maintain these principles, or at least not make revisions detrimental to the conference. The preparatory meeting did not issue a resolution to invite the Soviet Union to participate in the conference. Because of this, the Soviet Union has not obtained an invitation. If the conference decided to invite the Soviet Union, it would require close to a unanimous majority to pass. If someone from the opposite side intentionally were to raise the issue, using such wording as “the Soviet Union should not be invited to participate in the conference,” then India would have the advantage. We need to stay on the alert.  


Zhou: I also raised this issue when I was in Algeria and the United Arab Republic. I was in Algiers on the 30th.  On the 29th was the opening of the preparatory standing committee.  India proposed a change to the procedural issue. That is, rather than taking a consensus approach, we would use the United Nations’ way, with major issues requiring a two-thirds majority for passage. The proposal met with opposition from the ambassadors of three countries: China, Guinea, and Indonesia. The reason is that it was already resolved at the preparatory meeting based on the spirit of the Bandung Conference. The standing committee cannot change the procedural issue or use the United Nations’ way, because it has nothing to do with the United Nations. At that time the standing committee’s chairman was an Algerian political affairs department director. When he heard three objections, he rejected it.  The Indian proposal is very foolish. We have nothing to do with the United Nations. Even Algeria is very sensitive to this issue and knows that China would not agree to it.


This time Nasser, Ben Bella, and I discussed the issue of the Second Asian-African Conference. I put forward four ideas.  


(1) I said that I believe what Ben Bella said, that the conference would convene on 29 June. Ben Bella wanted me to go see the construction site. I said that I did not need to go and that it would be fine if my colleagues went to see it. We can convey the situation to representatives of the countries involved when we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Bandung Conference.  


(2) The Second Asian-African Conference should, in the spirit of the Bandung Conference, seek common ground while putting aside differences and resolve issues through consensus.  


Ben Bella expressed hope that the Second Asian-African Conference’s achievements in such areas as opposition to imperialism, opposition to colonialism, support for national liberation movements, and the safeguarding of world peace and economic cooperation would be greater than those of the Second Conference of Non-Aligned Countries. He did not oppose the principle of consensus. However, he said that they would run into problems doing so and that it could produce a situation of many approving and a small number opposing. I said that that would simply resemble the seeking of common ground and putting aside of differences at the time of the First Asian-African Conference.  


Nasser doubted whether the Second Asian-African Conference’s achievements would be greater than those at the Conference of Non-Aligned Countries. The reason is that the leaders of some countries are intent on having the conference not reach an agreementHe raised Madagascar’s head of state as an example.  


I said that there were also such persons at the time of the First Asian-African Conference. At that time the worst ones were Ceylon’s prime minister and Turkey’s foreign minister. But the results convinced them. We also ran into difficulties on some issues, such as the issue of Palestine. At that time, two among the five Colombo countries [Burma and India] had diplomatic relations with Israel; U Nu and Nehru did not endorse condemning Israel.  The Palestine Liberation Organization’s [Ahmad] Shukeiri at that time was the Syrian delegation’s deputy chief. He explained matters in advance, we also helped the activities and, in the end, we achieved support for the agreement on Palestine. At that time the political committee was chaired by Nasser. I also participated in the committee.  [V.K. Krishna] Menon spoke negatively, saying to forget about it if we could not come to an agreement.  At that time, he and someone (I cannot recall his name) had an argument, so he left and went to the bar. I went to call him back, convincing him to do so. The conference in the end achieved the Ten Principles, didn’t it? I that that there is also a way to seek common ground while putting aside differences.  


(3) The Jakarta preparatory meeting has set the provisional agenda. The conference agenda should be based on the preparatory meeting’s provisional agenda. If new issues are to be raised, they can only be raised at the foreign ministers’ meeting.  Neither Nasser nor Ben Bella expressed opposition to this.  


(4) The issue of the Soviet Union’s participation. The Soviet Union did not participate in the First Asian-African Conference. At that time, it was India that proposed not inviting the Soviet Union.  Nehru, based on the resolution of the Bandung Conference’s sponsoring countries, announced that the Soviet Union was not an Asian country. Although the Soviet Union has some member republics in Asia, they and the Soviet Union are one entity and could not independently participate in the conference. Nor does the Soviet Union participate in the Afro-Asian Bloc in the United Nations. The Soviet Union is a European country. At that time the Soviet Union neither expressed opposition nor demanded to participate. At the conference, some countries criticized the Soviet Union. China spoke in defense of the Soviet Union, so there was no reference in the resolution to the Soviet Union.  


This time, the Indian representative raised the issue of the Soviet Union’s participation but failed to gain a consensus. The preparatory meeting’s agreement is sensible. If the Soviet Union were now to participate in the conference, it would undoubtedly bring to the Asian-African Conference international disputes, such as the differences between China and the Soviet Union. This would be detrimental to Asian-African solidarity. The Soviet Union’s reason is that the Soviet Union wishes to support Asian and African anti-imperialist and anti-colonial movements. We think that the Soviet Union can still support these movements even without participating in the conference.  The First Asian-African Conference did not hinder its support. Not participating in this conference would also help its supporting Asian and African anti-imperialist and anti-colonial movements.


Bhutto: We know that if the Soviet Union does not participate in the conference, China certainly will not bring to the conference the differences between China and the Soviet Union. However, if someone deliberately calls for the participation of the Soviet Union, that would be quite troublesome and deserving of our attention.  


Zhou: After the Jakarta preparatory meeting, we received the Soviet Union’s statement that the Soviet Union would not take the initiative of requesting participation in the Asian-African Conference. If the issue of the Soviet Union’s participation were to cause the conference difficulty, the Soviet Union would prefer not to participate in it. When I mentioned this, Ben Bella said that Algeria also received this statement. Nasser said that they, too, received the same kind of document (Bhutto: We also received it.). Nasser asked what to do if India again raised this issue. I said that, since there was no consensus at the preparatory meeting, India should not raise it again. Nasser did not raise this issue.  


Your Excellency Mr. Bhutto just now mentioned that, if someone deliberately made trouble at the conference – resembling something like the Congress of the United States, with an agenda not passing for several days – that day would cause everyone’s dissatisfaction and the conference to end in failure. At the next foreign ministers’ meeting, if Marshal Chen Yi and Your Excellency Mr. Bhutto cooperate, you can defeat and resolve this issue.  At the Jakarta commemorative meeting you can carry out the necessary activities, but it would be inadvisable to over-emphasize it, or it would have the opposite effect.


When the Prime Minister and Your Excellency Mr. Bhutto visit the Soviet Union this time, the Soviet Union may raise this issue. I think that President Ayub [Khan] and Your Excellency Mr. Bhutto will take the initiative to deal with this issue or adopt a sensible approach to bypass it. There is no need for me to be concerned.


Bhutto: I would like to talk about my views on each of the four points of which the Premier spoke.  


(1) The conference will not be further delayed. This is a good thing. Otherwise, it would cause much needless speculation.  


(2) You mentioned, for the good of the conference, that we not raise disputed issues and should seek common ground while putting aside differences. This is a very important consideration. The whole world is now watching the Second Asian-African Conference.  A successful Asian-African Conference can contribute to world peace and the elimination of the last remnants of colonialism and set an example for a standard of contact between nations. Pakistan agrees with this principle, but it is necessary to mention the difficulties.  


Regarding the second and fourth point, which Premier Zhou just mentioned. China thinks that, if the Soviet Union were to participate, disputed issues would be raised. If the Soviet Union were not to participate, then disputed issues would not be raised. Pakistan thinks that, if India were to participate, it would bring about disputed issues. If India were not to participate, there would be no disputed issues.  


Zhou: India participated in the First Asian-African Conference India. At that time there existed the Kashmir issue. This is a local issue. The differences between China and the Soviet Union are global in character. The issues are not local in character. Many countries worry and are afraid that the Soviet Union’s participation would trigger controversy. Of course, what I just said is the final reason. The most fundamental reasons are that the Soviet Union is not an Asian country and that it did not participate in the First Asian-African Conference.  


I discussed this issue with presidents Nasser and Ben Bella because they both asked about the issue of Sino-Soviet relations.  President Ayub also asked about this issue, so I told them about the situation and the issue of the Soviet Union’s participation. Some countries basically do not bring up the Soviet issue; then neither do I. Therefore, that being said, we need only make the necessary explanations without emphasizing it too much. We believe that the Soviet Union’s statement from last year remains valid because, after that document, we have not received any other one. Other Asian and African countries, too, have received similar documents.  


Bhutto: The Soviet Union should not participate in the conference. When I last visited the Soviet Union, the Soviets raised this issue. I said that I will consider it again after discussing it with others. The President’s visit this time to the Soviet Union, too, will provide an appropriate diplomatic response.


The main thing is that the conference not be wrecked and that the prestige of the conference not be reduced. When it involves principle, it is necessary to protect principle. The principle of consensus is manifested in concrete issues. Pakistanis and Asians have goals for the conference, such as international law, opposition to the forces of imperialism and colonialism, respect for human rights, and the honoring of international agreements. We do not wish to argue with people but to uphold international standards recognized by Asian and African countries. If we differentiate in our treatment of the colonial issue and those of Kashmir and Palestine, it would violate the principle that we support and let India further increase its pressure on Kashmir. If Kashmir were a domestic family problem, no dispute should have arisen over it. It would be not only regrettable but morally unspeakable as well, and it would greatly disappoint the Kashmiri people. When the President returns following the end of the Asian-African Conference, people will ask him: You supported the issue of Palestine and the struggle against colonialism. But what is the attitude of Pakistan regarding an issue more directly related to Pakistan, one produced due to the same cause, that is, Indian colonialism in Kashmir? They will demand a reply. Therefore, if we want to condemn colonialism, we must then condemn its oldest form, that is, Indian colonialism in Jammu and Kashmir.


Pakistan is very worried about India’s treatment of ethnic minorities. India drives them away. This practice is a violation of civilization. It involves human rights.  


I assure you that Pakistan is in agreement with the principle of consensus and shall make every effort to cooperate with China. At the same time, we will engage in no needless quarrel. But at a reasonable, honorable, and suitable time, and without excessive emphasis, we shall raise the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, which will be a victory for the conference.  


With regard to the fourth point, I have already said that our position is clear. When the President visits the Soviet Union, he will give a diplomatic reply.


With regard to the third point, I agree with the Chinese side’s point of view.  Some issues should be resolved by heads of state. Of course, the fewer such issues, the better. It would be best if we could settle the issues before the foreign ministers’ meeting.  


Zhou: The First Asian-African Conference’s Ten Principles included the right to national self-determination. As does the United Nations Charter. But everyone has a different understanding of it. In case of disputes and specific implementation, they can be discussed in advance. The issue of Kashmir is one of upholding United Nations resolutions.  


In April and May, we should have more exchanges of views between our two countries and with other friendly countries with which we have close relations. China and Pakistan should closely cooperate. This can be done through the ambassadors and foreign ministries of our two countries. In April and May, having had an initial exchange of views, in June we can prepare for the formal meeting.  


Bhutto: We are prepared to maintain close cooperation with China in strategy and practice and we suggest a division of labor with other delegations. Later, we can have more concrete talks.  


With regard to the issue of the right of self-determination, the Ten Principles and the United Nations both have it. There is no need to overly emphasize it and cause the conference to become unbalanced. We can cooperate with China, gain the sympathy of other countries, and explain matters to other countries.  


Zhou: [Sheikh Mohammad] Abdullah’s recent trip abroad was very effective. I reiterated Marshal Chen Yi’s invitation to him.  


Bhutto: We are very grateful.  


Zhou: If he goes to China, he can talk about the situation in Kashmir. However, he has still not decided when to visit China. What worries him is his passport. He says that he must give it careful consideration. I asked him if he would be arrested on his return. He said that even if he were arrested on his return to Kashmir, it would be worth it. I think that such a spirit of sacrifice is good, but once arrested one loses the opportunity for action. Of course, this is a matter of personal interest, and the decision is for him to decide. Perhaps he thinks that remaining in Kashmir is more meaningful. If he should go abroad, India would say that he has been influenced by Pakistan.  


Bhutto:  I am very grateful to China for inviting Abdullah to visit China. Marshal Chen Yi and I were saying that Abdullah, imprisoned for 11 years, really does not understand the situation in the world. He should have contact with the outside world. The United States has done a lot for him. Of the articles that he has published since his release, there are two that I really dislike. It would be beneficial to have him go to China to see China’s development. India’s position is contradictory. India and China have diplomatic relations and, even when conflict between China and India is at its most intense, there is no break in these relations. So, India should let Abdullah visit China as if he were visiting London or somewhere else.  


Zhou: It would be great if he also went to Cairo and Algiers.  


Bhutto: After China invited Abdullah to visit China, the Indian Parliament was struck with panic and lost its balance. Some members of parliament are worried that he would go to China, establish in Xinjiang a government in exile, and liberate Kashmir.  


Zhou: India supports the Dalai Lama as its puppet and fears that China will do the same. This is gauging the heart of a gentleman with one’s own mean measure.  


Bhutto: If India does not provide him a visa to visit China, we can issue one.  


Carbon copies: Politburo Standing Committee, Secretariat comrades (15), [Dong] Biwu, Chen Yi, He Long, [Chen] Boda, [Nie] Rongzhen, Confidential Affairs Bureau (2), Office of Foreign Affairs (6), International Liaison Department (6), Investigation Department (4) Liu, Zhang, Luo, Ji, Meng, Qiao, Han, Liu, Gong, Dong, General Office (3), Research Office, First Asian Affairs Department, International Organizations and Conferences Department, [Zhang] Wenjin, Ambassador, 3 file copies, 59 copies printed in total

Received on 12 April 1965           Printed and distributed on 13 April 1965


General Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs            Printed on 14 April 1965


Zhou and Bhutto discuss the Second Asian-African Conference, as well as the potential for a rapprochement between China and the Philippines.

Document Information


PRC FMA 203-00653-01, 27-38. Translated by Stephen Mercado.


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