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December 19, 1963

Record of the Third Conversation between Premier Zhou Enlai and President Nasser

This document was made possible with support from Henry Luce Foundation

Secret Document 16

Foreign Ministry File

Record of Third Conversation between Premier Zhou Enlai and President Nasser

(Premier has yet to review and approve)


Time: 19 December 1963, 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Place: Qubba Palace, Cairo

Our side’s participants: Vice Premier Chen Yi, Deputy Director Kong Yuan, Vice Minister Huang Zhen, Ambassador Chen Jiakang, Department Director Wang Yutian

Receiving side’s participants: Vice Premier Amer, Executive Council President Sabri, Presidential Council Member Rifaat, Foreign Minister Fawzi, Ambassador to China Imam, Presidency Secretary-General Farid

Interpreter: Ji Chaozhu

Recorders: Zhou Jue, Zhou Mingji


Zhou: Please, Your Excellency the President, you speak first.


Nasser: It would be better to ask the Premier to speak first.


Zhou: In that case, I will speak a bit. The last time Your Excellency the President asked with concern in regard to international issues and the issue of our country’s relations with some countries. I think that the issue most attracting the attention of the entire world is that of China and the United States. Indeed, since our country gained liberation and we founded New China, relations between China and the United States have always been bad. In the past, I spoke of this issue at the Bandung Conference. Relations between China and the United States are not good. Our side is not responsible for this. We have always been friendly to the American people.


The crux of the problem can be traced back to the Cairo Conference, late in the Second World War. At that time three countries -- the United States, Britain, and China -- issued the Cairo Declaration, recognizing that Japan after the war must return to China the Chinese territory of Taiwan, which Japan invaded and occupied in 1894. At that time it was Chiang Kai-shek who participated in the conference on the Chinese side (I also saw this morning that hotel where he stayed when he was in Cairo). After Japan surrendered, China’s Chiang Kai-shek government at that time sent someone in the latter half of 1945 to take control of Taiwan, appointed him provincial governor, and had Taiwan become a part of Chinese territory and a province of China. If Taiwan does not belong to China, then Chiang Kai-shek today cannot stay on Taiwan. With the liberation of the Chinese mainland, after Chiang Kai-shek went to Taiwan, in the latter half of 1949US President Truman declared that Taiwan was a part of China, that the fight between Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese mainland was a civil war, and that the United States would not interfere. In 1950 the United States published a white paper and continued with this position. Taiwan’s jurisdiction and status were not at issue but, because of the Korean War, became an issue. After the Korean War broke out, US and UN forces invaded north of the 38th parallel and advanced toward the Yalu River that is the common border of China and Korea. China’s government for this reason issued a warning, stating that if the war expanded to the Yalu River, threatening New China’s existence, China would have to become involved and could not ignore it. This warning was passed via the Indian ambassador to the United States. But the US government paid no attention to this warning. Not only this, but the United States also seized the opportunity to use its fleet to occupy Taiwan, turning Taiwan into a protectorate. This shows that the US occupation of Taiwan, following the launching of a war of aggression against Korea, was something planned in advance. In October 1950US and UN forces drew near the bank of the Yalu River. At this time China finally could not but send its own volunteer army to aid Korea. The Korean War was then fought for two and a half years. When we were helping Korea resist, we proposed that, if only the US military would withdraw from North Korea, the issue could be peacefully resolved. It was like your movie “Saladin,” which I saw last night, on the one hand fighting the enemy and on the other hand negotiating. With regard to negotiations over the Korean issue, they began from July 1951 and concluded in 1953, lasting a total of two years. The first step in the talks was both sides signing the armistice agreement and preparing the second step, the signing of a peace treaty conducive to Korean unification. But in 1954, in the negotiations of the Geneva Conference, there was a failure to conclude the issue of signing a peace treaty, thereby creating a kind of unstable armistice situation. The US 7th Fleet has since remained in the Taiwan Strait without leaving, occupying Taiwan.


In Indochina, the 1954Geneva Conference reached an agreement, recognizing the situation of North and South Vietnam’s temporary division and agreeing, following France’s military withdrawal, on the issue of a unified Vietnam through North-South peace talks. Laos and Cambodia also obtained independence through that conference. But the United States was quite special, participating in the negotiations but not signing the agreement. The US representative said that they were neither wrecking the accords but nor were they signing them. In reality, the United States is presently wrecking the accords. As soon as the French forces left, US forces immediately entered. In this way is now created day by day a state of tension. In Laos, France left and the United States then entered, making the civil war start again. After every effort, in the period 1961 – 1962there was held in Geneva a conference with regard to settling the issue of Laos with China’s government participating through Foreign Minister Marshall Chen Yi.


Chen: At the time of the Geneva ConferenceUS Secretary of State Rusk asked Harriman to approach me. For days he stared at me like a fly, but I paid no attention to him.


Zhou: The conference adopted a declaration of Lao neutrality. The United States signed this time but still kept giving weapons to the Lao right wing. The United States also gave a small share of weapons to the neutral faction of Prince Phouma. The Laos issue in reality is not resolved.


As for Cambodia, it has resolutely implemented a policy of peaceful neutrality. Cambodia receives military equipment as aid from the United States, as well as some US loans, but at the same time also receives some help from us. The US, thus displeased with Cambodia, is thinking of how to overthrow Prince Sihanouk, as well as how to use South Vietnam and Thailand against Cambodia to carry out an attack from both sides. Recently Sihanouk was forced to declare that he was temporarily requesting the withdrawal of US and British diplomatic personnel.


The above shows that the US is drawing near New China’s area, making the Taiwan Strait, South Korea, and Indochina three areas of tension and carrying out hostility against China. In the latter half of 1954, the United States also organized the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) countries to encircle and counter China. At that time Britain also stood together with the United States in wishing to split Taiwan off from China as an independent political unit. Then on the eve of the 1955 Bandung Conference, SEATO held a meeting in Bangkok. Eden, at that time Britain’s foreign minister, sent a telegram requesting that he and I meet on China’s border, that is to say between Hong Kong and the mainland. I asked him what issue we were to discuss. The opposite party said: the mediation of relations between China and the United States. The condition was that I recognize Taiwan’s status as uncertain. This was the first time that Britain conveyed the US view, dividing Taiwan from China. The policy that imperialism adopts here is the same as with Pakistan. This year Britain on the one hand voted at the UN General Assembly in support of our country but at the same time also declared that Taiwan’s status was still uncertain. The United States and Britain in these practices have both nullified the “Cairo Declaration.” From1955 to the present, the attitude of the United States and Britain on this issue have been identical.


Not only does New China not recognize “two Chinas,” but Chiang Kai-shek, entrenched on Taiwan, also says that Taiwan is a province of China and does not agree to its separation. No Chinese agrees to Taiwan’s separation. Just as with the Arab countries, even the most reactionary ruler cannot but recognize that Palestine is Arab territory.


Why has imperialism organized such countries as Thailand, Pakistan, Australia, and the Philippines into SEATO? Recently there has been conflict on the Sino-Indian border, and the United States again is vigorously grasping for India. The aim, then, is to form a crescent encirclement against socialist New China. In a previous conversation with Premier Sabri, I said that in the final speech that US President Kennedy had prepared for October 22 in Dallas [sic – reference to speech written for the Trade Mart in Dallas, Texas, for delivery on 22 November 1963], he proposed encircling socialist countries with nine countries: South Korea, Taiwan, South Vietnam, Thailand, India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, and Greece. In his prepared speech, Kennedy did not bring up the Philippines, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, or member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), but he did put in India, which can indicate the current status of India. In his prepared speech he also said that in these countries are organized 3.5 million troops, whose cost is only 10 percent that of organizing the same number of US soldiers. That is to say, the United States is attempting to use the people of these nine countries to fight their battles. It is asking Asians to fight in Asia, Europeans to fight in Europe. US military spending in the next fiscal year still increases as before, because of this. From the viewpoint of the nine countries, the spearhead of the US invasion is mainly against New China. Among the nine, six countries are directly related to China. Only the three Western countries are for countering other socialist countries.


Be that as it may, I still want to sit down with the United States and negotiate a settlement to the conflict. As I said earlier, in the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea, I proposed that if the US military would simply withdraw south of the 38th parallel, we could then cease fire. The result was that after the US military withdrew, the war stopped. In 1958, the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army furthermore withdrew in its entirety from Korea. The US forces remaining in Korea have been reduced from the previous seven divisions to three divisions, but their weapons have become even more powerful with tactical nuclear weapons.


Owing to Britain’s good offices, in August 1955, ambassadorial-level talks between China and the United States started in Geneva. Meetings have taken place over 100 times, the site has moved from Geneva to Warsaw, and at present they continue still. After eight and one half years have passed, you can no longer say that we reject talks, can you? The issue is there can be no haggling over principle. First of all, we believe that both sides must abide by the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, then seek the way to resolve the issue. Indeed, the first of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence is mutual respect for each other's territorial sovereignty and integrity. The United States has destroyed this principle. The United States did not want to sign at the first Geneva Conference to resolve the issue of Indochina. Nor does the United States want to withdraw from Taiwan. Taiwan, China’s territory, cannot serve as a protectorate of the United States. Yesterday evening I watched your film, “Saladin,” this national hero of ancient Arabia said to his enemies, “This is Arab land, you may make pilgrimages here, but you must leave.” If the United States agrees to withdraw from Taiwan, China and the United States naturally can get along in peace and friendship. The United States has even said that it could recognize that China has the right to say that Taiwan belongs to China. But at present the United States does not leave, so it is necessary to allow the US military to stay on Taiwan for a while. At this time, Chiang Kai-shek exists by himself as a political regime. This, then, is making “two Chinas,” which would require me to trade in principles. Second, it would require us to recognize as legal the US military invasion of Taiwan. I cannot agree to it. Owing to an inability to reach agreement on the basis of the two principles mentioned above, China and the United States as a result have been holding discussions all this time and relations between China and the United States have been somewhat tense. But this kind of tension is not severe, and it appears improbable that it would lead to war. In the past, Dulles has engaged in brinkmanship. He tried it before. The United States and Chiang continuously sent armed operatives to harass the mainland, carried out airdrops, and sent U-2aircraft for reconnaissance, carrying out every kind of armed provocation. In 1958 Chiang’s military on the island of Quemoy carried out the shelling of mainland Xiamen and we hit back with concentrated firepower, once more creating tension. But we abide by the principle of fighting a civil war with Chiang Kai-shek alone, not dragging the United States into it. We have not opened fire on the United States. For example, if US aircraft violate our airspace or territorial waters, we only give a warning. We do not open fire. The United States, too, orders its navy not to go into our territorial waters. Why is this Because allied countries of the United States do not want to fight China. Britain and France do not want to do it, nor do Canada or Australia. The majority of the people of the United States also oppose fighting for Chiang Kai-shek. The United States at that time wanted Chiang Kai-shek to withdraw from the mainland’s coast. But Chiang, fearing that he would lose contact with the mainland after an evacuation, fall further under US control, and one day be eliminated like Syngman Rhee and Ngo Dinh Diem, did not dare do so.


There is no armed conflict between China and the United States. The civil war between the Chinese people and Chiang Kai-shek is not finished. Whatever the method adopted to finish it, this is an issue of China’s sovereignty. We are striving for the peaceful liberation of Taiwan, but when necessary one also should recognize that we have the right to use military force. The US forcible occupation of Taiwan is an international issue, because it is the United States that forcibly occupies territory of our country. Another issue is that between the Chinese people and Chiang Kai-shek. It is an internal issue of China. These two issues cannot be mixed together. The reason why the United States wants to turn this into a single issue, its goal, is the separation of Taiwan and the making of “two Chinas.” This is the crux of our UN struggle.


One cannot place the issue of China on a par with those of Germany and Vietnam. This is because the issue of China is a result of the Second World War. Other issues are affirmed by treaty, such as those of Korea and Indochina. The issue of Germany, too, is one left over after the war. It is quite complicated. West Germany has never recognized two Germanys. But the issue of China is entirely the result of Chiang Kai-shek’s civil war. Chiang Kai-shek’s continuing presence on Taiwan is a continuation of China’s civil war. Taiwan reverted to China after the Second World War. The only thing that the United Nations must do is to restore China’s legal status. It should drive out Chiang Kai-shek’s representative. Taiwan cannot have the representative of any independent political unit remain in the United Nations. One cannot say, then, that one can both recognize China and have Chiang Kai-shek’s representative remain in the United Nations. Were New China and Chiang Kai-shek both to have a representative, no matter what the organization or organ of the United Nations, we would both refuse to participate. Until now Chiang Kai-shek, too, has not recognized “two Chinas.” The reason is that, one he did so, he would be declaring that he no longer “represents China.” His cadres and military forces would then immediately come apart. Therefore, this “two Chinas” issue has always been one that the White House unceasingly argued. Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson have all been the same. But we believe there will come a day, as the general trend indicates, when an absolute majority in the United Nations will recognize New China as the sole legal representative. China will in the end recover its rights in the United Nations.


The United States has now adopted two tricks in the United Nations. One is to do everything possible to postpone discussion on the pretext that the issue supposedly is not a substantial one. Another is to engage in “two Chinas.” Britain now works for the United States and in the future could force Chiang Kai-shek to accept it. Chiang Kai-shek has grown old. It is also possible that after his death his successor would be forced to accept it. Our position is that it would be better not to join the United Nations. Nor would we agree to have Chiang Kai-shek’s representative participate at the same time or agree to “two Chinas.” This is because agreeing to it would then be selling away territory. This principle is one on which we cannot yield. It is not us but the United Nations that suffers loss in China’s not recovering its rights in the United Nations. Here I would like to express my thanks to the many friendly countries, the United Arab Republic (UAR) among them, for supporting us on this issue. The issue of China and the United States will in the end be resolved one day. We have already waited 14 years and can wait another 14 years. Yesterday I heard Your Excellency the President say that in the past Europe’s Crusader army occupied Jerusalem for a period of 17 years. We still have three years to go. (Nasser interrupted to say that it was not 17 years, but 70 years.) Not resolving the issue of China and the United States in no way impedes us from implementing with other countries a policy of peaceful coexistence and friendship.


The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence are the basic principles of our country’s association with the countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and even the West. In Europe, we have diplomatic relations with such countries as Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. We believe that such relations will also expand. At present our country has already established diplomatic relations with over 40 other countries, and this will develop in the future. The number of countries that have trade and cultural relations with our country approaches one hundred. Other than the Union of South Africa and Israel, we have friendly relations with the peoples of countries throughout the world. A US labor delegation has already visited China. The US writer Strong and other US friends are still living in China. In the area of international activities, other than the United Nations, we have also created many other ways and means of international activities.


China by no means opposes the good principles of the UN Charter. There are representatives of the Chinese Communist Party who in the past participated as China’s representatives in the signing of the UN Charter. Chen Jiakang, our ambassador in Cairo, at that time accompanied Dong Biwu, now vice chairman of the People’s Republic of China, and participated in the signing of the Charter. We by no means oppose the UN Charter, and not a single Chinese soldier has ever entered US territory. The United States is so far away from us that we simply have not thought to go there. If we invaded someone else’s home as we pleased, that too would be imperialism. China deeply suffered harm from imperialism. Today, after obtaining independence there are so many things that we must do within our country that we simply cannot go invade other people. The issue is that the United States has violated the UN Charter and forcibly occupied our country’s territory, Taiwan. As for those persons who say that China is bellicose and expansionist, this is utterly without foundation. At present the US military is deployed in dozens of countries around the world, with several thousand military bases and over one million troops stationed outside the country. Next year’s US military budget already tops 100 billion dollars. The United States on the one hand calls on the Soviet Union to join in looking for a way to reduce arms but, on the other hand, Johnson asks in testimony before Congress for an increase in the number of military personnel. The United States on the one hand calls for arms reduction while in reality expanding its military. The United States also has been waging special war in South Vietnam. In short, I have a thousand accusations to levy against the United States, which has not one to count against us. If they were to say that there is one, then that would be the Korean War, which they lost. But that is because, first, the United States occupied the Chinese territory of Taiwan and, second, the United States did not listen to our warning.


In 1954, Eden said to me at the Geneva Conference that the United States was unhappy with China because China beat the United States in Korea. China suffers the encirclement and hostility of the United States, so the people of New China cannot but oppose the United States. But we say again that we are friends of the people of the United States. We must make a distinction between the government and the people of the United States.


At present the United States seeks hegemony over the entire world, an ambition which Britain, France, and other countries do not have. Such policies as Dulles’ brinkmanship and Kennedy’s New Frontier illustrate this issue. Against socialist countries, the United States engages in peaceful evolution. Kennedy in comparison to Eisenhower is more cunning and has an even more reactionary policy of double dealing. He speaks on the one hand of peace, and on the other he speaks of the status of power. It was precisely because the United States has powerful groups that did not permit him to engage in double dealing that they got rid of him in the end. Kennedy was reactionary, but a revolutionary people opposes assassination. Your film “Saladin,” too, calls for a contest of arms, not schemes and intrigues.


The United States throughout the whole world is overbearing, and an absolute majority of countries have diplomatic relations with the United States. Other than those countries that follow the United States, other countries must take into consideration relations with the United States. But China and the United States do not have diplomatic relations, nor has China joined the United Nations. Therefore, it is good for China to make clear to the people of the world the bad things that the United States does. We can speak freely. We believe that although the Chinese and US sides are still negotiating, the time has not yet come for a real resolution of the issue. It is not a simple thing for the United States to change its policy. Kennedy only wanted to make some changes in its methods, resulting in his assassination, which is proof of this.


Relations between China and the United States are not good. Will it make the whole world uneasy? It will not. This is because we do not want to start a war. The United States, if it starts a war, will become bogged down in it. Preparing for global war would be bad for the United States. Our country advocates peace talks to resolve conflicts and opposes resorting to military force. But if the other side insists on imposing war on us, we, too, will prepare to face the attack, meet it, and prepare to go on fighting. This way, the United States then has to consider China’s attitude. For “tiny, tiny” Cuba, once Premier Castro announces that Cuba will fight to the last man, the United States then has to think it over. The United States bullies the weak and fears the strong. If you are weak, it will bully you all the more. We have learned this from your side. You rejected Eisenhower-ism, and he was at a complete loss as to what to do. So it was, too, with the Suez Canal Incident and the US and British military occupation of Lebanon and Jordan.


I previously met and spoke with Premier Sabri with regard to the Sino-Indian border issue and now will again say a few words.


India does not want to negotiate now. There are those who say that if China completely accepted the proposals of the Colombo countries, then India would want to negotiate. We must answer this issue from two aspects. First, if so, it would be the same as requiring China to recognize the Colombo resolution as a ruling. I think that on this point all the Colombo countries do not think this. Our country in principle accepts the Colombo Conference proposals as the basis of negotiations, but actual action far surpasses the proposals’ requirements. We advocate that when the time comes both sides negotiate in putting their requirements and viewpoints on the table but should not put forth preconditions. Second, if the two sides are not sincere, even if they sit down at the table to talk, the negotiations will still break down. If the negotiations were to break down, if would be better not to have talked. Because negotiations between China and India are not the same as those between China and the United States, negotiations require a resolution of the issue. Were the talks to take place and break drown, the situation and impact would be worse than now.


There is a basis to my saying that India does not want to negotiate. There are two things that can serve as evidence. The first is from 1960, when a small clash took place on the Sino-Indian border. At the time we took the initiative to propose that the premiers of China and India meet to resolve the border issue. I also said that, if it were inconvenient for the Indian premier to go to Beijing, I was willing to go to Delhi. I proposed negotiations at the time mainly in seeing the border issue between China and Burma resolved. There was then no reason that the Sino-Indian border issue could not have been resolved through peace talks. This is because the McMahon Line was not only drawn between China and India but between China and Burma as well. As China and Burma did not recognize the McMahon Line but the two sides resolved the border issue between them according to the actual situation, then the Sino-Indian border issue, too, should be resolved.


In April we left Delhi, but the talks were without result. We even intended to propose several points in common as a basis for future negotiations. India refused, but these points in common were ones that India’s premier had previously accepted.


India’s attitude is: for the eastern border, we must accept the McMahon line; for the western border, India wants it where it has never been, an area where Chinese have been living for several hundred years and made their own. In regard to these issues, in the past I visited India three times: in 1954, 1956, and 1957. They never put forth proposals. Naturally, this left China no way to accept it. This shows that in 1960 I was sincere in my visit but did not resolve the issue.


The second thing was at the time of the July 1962, Geneva Conference when Marshall Chen Yi, representing China's policy, met Indian Defense Minister Menon. At that time, in a situation where both sides were prepared to settle through discussion in maintaining the border status quo (both the eastern and western border were more to India’s advantage at that time than at present) and hold talks without conditions to resolve the issue. Pan Zili, our ambassador to India, as he was returning to China at the end of his assignment paid a farewell call on Nehru, who expressed a willingness to have talks. At the time we assumed that the Indian side could accept a negotiated agreement reached with us on the basis of maintaining the border status quo. But unexpectedly Menon wanted our side first to demarcate several areas to give to him, commit them in advance, and then hold talks again. Because of this, the two sides did not come to an agreement. That meeting gave Menon the illusion that if India occupied Chinese territory stronghold by stronghold, China would not resist. Indeed, in order to avoid a clash, for about half a year we did not fight back when Indian forces attacked us. But each time we gave them a warning, demanding that they stop their advance. But India did not listen. In October last year, the Indian side even more openly declared that they would drive out all Chinese forces from China’s territory. The whole world saw the Indian prime minister’s statement and the defense minister’s mobilization orders. For this India then appointed a new military chief of staff. After that, only when our country was in an intolerable situation did we then carry out a counterattack in self-defense against the Indian army’s invasion.


The two things mentioned above both explain that there were quite good opportunities for negotiation, but that India did not want to accept them. The present situation, by comparison to that before, has naturally become much more difficult.


Asking China to accept completely the Colombo Conference proposals would be the same as demanding that we surrender completely. How could we do this? Does not India propose that both sides have honorable and dignified negotiations? How can one ask China to participate completely without honor in a meeting?! To show consideration for only one side and not the other is wrong. We have never made any demands but only asked to resolve the issue through meeting and negotiation. We think that now is not yet the opportune time for the two sides to negotiate. Rather than negotiate and break off negotiations, it would be better not to negotiate. We have made many concessions in consideration of India’s difficulties. When India says that they will not go to China, we can go to India. We have never cancelled this promise. If the location for the negotiations were some neutral country, that, too, naturally would be fine.


What is the outlook for the Sino-Indian border conflict? Frankly speaking, all is well for now. Since our side has taken the initiative of a cease-fire and such mitigation measures as initiating a withdrawal of 20 kilometers along the entire front line, there will be no conflict between the two sides if the Indian army does not again enter our actual line of control.


Our side released all the Indian military prisoners, tended to the wounds of the wounded, and even sent back some of the captured weapons. We even returned some new ones shipped from the United States and still in their boxes. Our side does not want conflict and, naturally, will not engage in provocation.


We have not only adopted the aforementioned measures but, in order to handle new provocations that the Indian side could start, we hereafter prepare to take steps on the basis of the following three types of situation:


(1) If only a small number of Indian soldiers invaded our side’s area of control, then left again after coming, we would give a warning, make note of it, and each quarter inform the Colombo conference countries of the situation.


(2) If India did not leave after invading our side’s area, we would give that side a warning, demand their withdrawal, immediately inform the Colombo Conference countries of the situation, and try to persuade India to go back. The situation would be over when the Indian army withdrew.


(3) If India refused to withdraw, only then would we exercise the right to self-defense.


The present situation is quite different from what it was in October last year. Previously there were only the notes and contacts of the two sides. Other countries were not involved. It did not attract much attention. As a result, fighting started.


At present there are the three methods of response that I have mentioned. The Colombo countries can play an important mediating role.


After 1840, every imperialist country, including even smallest Portugal, all had power in China, concluding with China every kind of unequal treaty. After the establishment of New China, our attitude in regard to the treaties is this: on the one hand we point out that these are all unequal treaties and, on the other hand we also point out that they are a fact of history. Naturally, we cannot recognize secret treaties concluded with local governments. If a border already has an old treaty, we strive to conclude a new one to replace the old one. If there is no treaty, then we strive to conclude a border treaty. On the basis of the principles of peace, friendship, and give-and-take, our country has concluded border treaties with such countries as Burma, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Mongolia. With Korea and Vietnam, although they are still not unified and we have not signed treaties, we also have agreement in principle with them. In the treaty signed with Pakistan, we have also provided an explanation in regard to the issue of Kashmir. Everyone knows from reading the newspapers that in the past there was conflict over the Sino-Soviet border. Now both sides have agreed on holding border talks in February next year. The issue will be resolved. What remains unresolved has to do with only one country, India. We are also fully confident in this regard, believing that in the end the issue will be resolved one day.


Will it cause new border conflicts? As I see it, at present this does not seem likely. India’s government rebukes us for massing troops at the border, saying that China’s air force has invaded Indian airspace. We declare each time that there is no such thing, but India still frequently raises this. But India has recently lost its credibility. The United States knows that there is no such thing, as does the Soviet Union. Because the United States has military bases in Thailand, as well as military organs in India and Pakistan, if we massed troops in Tibet, they would be able to detect it from the air.


The U-2 aircraft of the United States fly not only from Taiwan to the Chinese mainland, but they take off from SEATO as well. Tibet is not only vast in area and sparse in population, but also unsuitable for the large-scale massing of troops. Last year, only in a situation where there was no solution, did we then mass some troops. Once there was a ceasefire, those troops were then removed at once. Nor do we have a powerful air force in Tibet. The United States and the Soviet Union both know this. We have shot down two US U-2aircraft, obtaining many photographs, which shows that they know of it. In 1960I also spoke of this to Prime Minister Nehru, and to Burma’s U Nu and Ne Win as well, asking them to shoot down invading aircraft of unknown nationality and see just who they are. The result was that General Ne Win shot down an aircraft and, as expected, found that it was one of Chiang Kai-shek’s aircraft. I requested that India also give it a try, but Nehru did not believe it. I had expected them to say: your aircraft are too high to shoot down. As expected, later India’s defense minister said such a thing. In fact our country does not have such high-altitude aircraft. We do not have U-2 aircraft. Many countries also know this. I told them, if you keep squabbling over trivial points, we will not respond as it would be meaningless! In the future we will only give a general reply. The day before I left Beijing this time, I met India’s diplomatic representative and requested that he pass on to India’s foreign ministry our request that they not engage in such a battle of diplomatic notes, as they would lose credibility. Indeed, neither the US government nor Britain’s General Staff believe it.


There are those who say that China and India cannot rely on negotiations to resolve the issue and that India will rely more on imperialist military aid. I recognize this fact. The issue is not that India only asked for aid due to tension between China and India, but that in India there are some people who feel happy to obtain aid and to fabricate rumors in order to obtain aid. At present India on the one hand takes money and arms from the United States and Britain while at the same time also obtaining aid from the Soviet Union. I worry about India because of this, as this is not good for India. It is also doubtful whether one can build an army this way. At the time of the Bandung Conference, the premiers of Thailand and Pakistan both told me that US military aid makes the domestic deficit grow day by day. They also said that the military equipment is second and third rate, comes with particularly few bullets, and is not easily replenished in a fight. There will come a day when India will feel that doing this will bring down India. Doing this also will increase the people’s dissatisfaction in India. If India’s government early would become aware of this and resolve the issue through peace talks, then that naturally would be good. But it certainly is not likely. It is like someone who smokes opium and becomes addicted, resulting in his only hurting himself. At present it is also said that India is a non-aligned country. That is ridiculous. India’s press and international opinion both have openly discussed and recognized this matter.


Will the six countries of the Colombo Conference meet again? This is up to the six countries of the Colombo Conference themselves. I know that there is not now a unanimous view on whether or not to hold a meeting of the six countries. President Nkrumah, apparently, is a bit more interested. We occupy the status of mediator, which is not saying that we endorse or oppose it. If all six countries stand for it, we endorse it. But we have only one request. When the time comes, the parties involved on the Chinese and Indian sides should have persons attend the conference and speak more clearly there on the issue. We think that we are right and have no fear in regard to the conference. As we are willing to meet, we have the sincerity to resolve the issue. All that is required is to have an opportunity to meet, and there is always the possibility of obtaining some result. If the six countries feel that the time is ripe and the Indian side agrees, then we also will agree, whether or not the meeting is formal or not. We have always supported any effort to restore friendship and reconciliation. We believe that the six nations will certainly be able to adopt a genuine attitude of promoting friendship and reconciliation and solve the problem without increasing tensions. I am fully confident about this. As for discrepancies on specific issues and views, they often exist and can be resolved.


Last, we hope that relations between China and India ease a bit. Your ambassador in Beijing can affirm that each time that I have spoken I have expressed my desire for negotiations and a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Nowhere have we spoken against India’s government. But India’s premier and ministers have spoken countless times in parliament or in the press, attacking China and setting off war hysteria within the country. In Delhi, for example, the atmosphere is not at all the same as that in Beijing or Shanghai. If we compare public opinion in both countries, the issue is clearly visible. Asian and African countries should get along with one another in peace and friendship, different from the relations between us and imperialism. Japan in the past invaded China. We are now willing to improve relations with Japan. Why would we want to make trouble with India?! With regard to this issue, tomorrow if we have time, I would like again to exchange views with Your Excellency the President.


Now I will discuss again with Your Excellency the President some of my views on the Non-Aligned Conference and the Asian-African Conference.


With regard to the Non-Aligned Conference: I sent a telegram expressing support to the First Non-Aligned Conference. This situation will be more complicated. First of all, there is the issue of whether India really is a non-aligned country. Second, to safeguard peace we must oppose whoever wrecks the peace and oppose whoever is making war. Once again, if India participates, whether India will agree to oppose imperialist wars of aggression is also worthy of skepticism. As for whether the Non-Aligned Conference will discuss the issue of China and India, I believe it will not. China is an aligned country and we will not ask to participate in the conference. There is some public opinion that says that China is thinking to fight to participate, but this is a misunderstanding regarding us. As the conference will not have China as a participant, I believe that there will be no discussion of an issue concerning China. I will not worry about this issue. The conference is Your Excellency the President’s initiative. I believe that Your Excellency clearly understands China’s position.


In regard to the conference we will not oppose it, as it is an issue per se of the Non-Aligned Countries, but nor will we adopt a positive attitude. Imperialism will not be happy about the conference and will exploit it by means of some countries. This point is of concern to us. We believe, however, that most countries that participate in the conference will deal with this situation. As for the Second Asian-African Conference, it was raised earlier than the Non-Aligned Conference. The results of the First Bandung Conference surpassed the original forecast. The Bandung Principles were adopted under the auspices of Your Excellency the President, and the UAR has a greater responsibility to maintain and promote these principles. Some independent countries in Africa are greatly influenced by the Bandung principles. As Your Excellency the President said, the preparatory meeting for the Second Asian-African Conference indeed encountered difficulties, but any conference has its difficulties. For example, there were various groupings of countries attending the African Summit Conference, but through the efforts of Your Excellency the President as well as the leaders of other countries, barriers were eliminated and first steps were taken to achieve solidarity. It was a good start. So it was with the First Non-Aligned Conference. The countries attending the conference also had different ideas on how to view the issues. There are indeed difficulties in holding the Second Asian-African Conference. There are conflicts between not a few countries but, as long as they have strong confidence and imperialism does not participate, everyone will find points in common, eliminate difficulties, and make the conference a success. At the time of the First Asian-African Conference, there were not many countries that had established diplomatic relations with China and supported China. Everyone was unfamiliar with everyone else. The Philippines, Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and other countries had misunderstanding in regard to our country and were unfriendly. However, after coming into contact, they felt that China was not that terrible. Some of the representatives later had a change in attitude. We believe that, so long as the conference can start, we can resolve the issues. I agree that before holding the conference we would have to go through very good preparation, that we cannot act with undue haste, and that there could be unofficial contacts among the participants in advance. We support President Sukarno with regard to his proposal for holding the Second Asian-African Conference. Your Excellency the President has also expressed support. If we fully carry out the advance preparatory work, it will be beneficial in facilitating holding and concluding the conference. A regional conference firmly opposes imperialism, safeguards peace, maintains national independence, and adheres to the UN Charter. This is all just and honorable.


Naturally, the Second Asian-African Conference still has some specific issues, such as that of economic cooperation, which require discussions to resolve. Economic exchanges between Asian and African countries and those with imperialism receive very unequal treatment. Relations of economic cooperation between Asian and African countries should be built on the basis of equality and mutual benefit for everyone’s benefit in common. In common we have suffered backwardness and desire to cast it off. We need to be sympathetic and supportive of one another. We need to help each other, not hurt each other. We need to respect each other’s sovereignty, not impose ourselves on others, let alone interfere in the affairs of other countries and harm others for our own benefit. The Second Asian-African Conference very much needs to resolve issues of economic, technical, cultural, and scientific cooperation on the basis of the Ten Principles adopted at the first conference.


The UAR is now establishing its own national economy. That is the impression we have gained after the presentations of Premier Sabri and Council Member Rifaat and our tours. The UAR’s economy is growing more each day. We emphasize collective cooperation among the countries of Asia and Africa, but we do not exclude mutual cooperation among two or three countries. In this respect, China may be able to make a little effort, but it would be quite limited. The reason is that China has not been liberated for a long time. To date we have only carried out two five-year plans. Moreover, the country is large, and casting off backwardness requires more strength. The Second Five-Year Plan mainly relies on ourselves to solve difficulties. We have already solved not a few difficulties, but there still remain not a few. In such a situation, what we can contribute today to Asian and African countries remains limited, which is not very suitable with the status of a great power. We hope to cast off our backwardness as soon as possible, and we hope the same for other countries. Asian and African countries help one another. They will be more reliable than the countries of the West.


We consider that each Asian and African country should carry out mutual economic aid as follows: First, one offers what one can offer. Second, this kind of help should be appropriate to the needs of others. One cannot impose it on people. That is to say, it should be beneficial to the development of the national economy of other countries, not make others into a dependent economy, should be able to use their own materials, produce their own equipment and tools, and expand reproduction.


It should also be of benefit to others in quickly being able to regain capital, satisfy the needs of the people, and facilitate the accumulation of capital. In short, help cannot burden others but should promote their development. Help is best that is free of interest, with debt repayment coming after economic development. If not, it would increase the burden on others in order to repay the debt. It is the same for learning from one another, which is learning from one another and not only one side learning from the other. If there are specialists and technicians from one side who go to the other, their treatment should be the same as that of the people of the receiving country and the sending country should take care of their family members. Technical information should be exchanged to promote everyone’s joint development. Naturally, this kind of exchange does not include obtaining things from other countries but is limited to what is within one’s own country’s grasp. Goods and equipment all should be exchanged at equal value. The above are the principles of economic cooperation with Asian and African countries. Sending people to other countries is to serve the people. Once finished, they should return and leave the technical personnel of other people able to grow quickly.


We have seen a new look in the UAR’s level of industry, and your level of technology has shown great improvement. Saying that you would like us to give you some help would be to overestimate our capabilities but, after exchanging views with Premier Sabri and obtaining his encouragement, we feel that, starting next year, we first of all must make efforts to have the trade volume of our two countries to meet the amount of 27 million pounds sterling, expanding trade in non-traditional goods. Then we would increasingly expand our trade volume. Before the Suez Canal, the foreign exchange differential that our side provided was a bit larger. Owing to difficulties of ours, in the last year or two the figure has become smaller. This year’s figure is only one million pounds sterling. We will strive for a somewhat larger differential next year, expanding it to 1.5 to 2 million pounds sterling.


In the area of economic cooperation, we also would like to offer some contribution, but the figure would be extremely limited and insignificant. If the UAR should feel the need, we could provide help in the area of equipment and materials. This kind of help would be according to the principle that I just mentioned. The figure would be 50 million dollars.


Our two countries can greatly develop cultural cooperation. We hope that next year the UAR’s song and dance troupe will visit our country. We also will prepare to send many students to the UAR to study Arabic and the strong points of your science and technology.


In regard to the science festival, I see your promotion of science, and this is very important. Whether it is social revolution or natural revolution, both require mastering science. I feel that you already have grasped this important link. Making use of a scientific attitude in educating the next generation is quite important, because the revolutionary cause is developing. Our generation cannot complete it. We must rely on the next generation to do so.


What I have said just is what I wanted to say today, but I have spoken a bit too much.


Nasser: I thank Your Excellency the Premier for giving me an introduction to the international situation and the situation in Southeast Asia. People tend to worry more about their own problems but little notice those of other areas. Such an introduction is very good for us.


Since our meeting in 1955, we have all this time watched the development of China’s state of affairs and Taiwan’s state of affairs. Until now, we have only understood China from US newspapers and magazines. Since Bandung, our relations have made great progress. When we met in Bandung, there was also one of Chiang Kai-shek’s ambassadors residing there. In May 1956, we recognized China. Before then, when a cultural delegation led by Bao Erhan [Burhan Shahidi] came, I told him that we would make an appropriate decision on the issue of recognizing China.


On the issue of Taiwan, we support you. We understand the issue of two Chinas and understand your desire to maintain territorial integrity. Two months ago your ambassador proposed to me that he feared we supported the position of two Chinas. This information is not true. We completely understand your position and support your point of view.


Once the conflict between China and India started, I hoped that China and India could once more come together in solidarity. Unfortunately, much to my surprise, on 8 September conflict broke out. I immediately attempted to offer good offices. I was recently attacked in the press, which said that the Non-Aligned Countries should support one another and rebuked me for recently having refused to offer support. At that time, we agreed to India’s request that we provide India a few light weapons, a few submachine guns. This might have made you unhappy. At that time the ambassador called on me, and I explained it to him. A few light weapons cannot influence a war between the two sides. So, our provision of light weapons was to have India not turn to the West for weapons. Then Britain agreed to provide weapons to India, so we have not carried out our original arrangement with India. We are genuinely concerned about the future of India’s non-aligned policy. Indian National Congress members, the press, and influential organizations have all opposed India’s implementation of a Non-Aligned policy. I discussed this point with your vice minister and ambassador. Imperialism has always tried to exploit the tensions of Asian and African countries, such as the issues of Kashmir, Israel, and the Somali-Ethiopian border. Having suffered military failure and retreated, India believes that this is India’s shame. If there are to be negotiations, India cannot again negotiate in a weakened position but must negotiate from a position of strength. This will require strengthening the army, and strengthening the army will require depending on foreign aid. This is not something that can be settled in several months but will require several years. The present issue is whether the situation will be able to ease for several years. Otherwise, it will affect Asian solidarity and that of Asia and Africa. I very much appreciate the precautionary measures that Your Excellency mentioned just now. We are thinking of how to help resolve this issue. Even if the armistice can be maintained for several years, what do we do after several years? The Colombo countries if they meet again will have no new issues to discuss. If India does not agree to negotiations, then neither will it agree to attend the conference. Nehru has already spoken of this in parliament. We will do our utmost to offer our good offices, bring both sides together, and resolve the issue. India attacks China, and the West takes advantage of it. This is harmful to Asian solidarity.


The Non-Aligned Conference will certainly mention new and old imperialism. The First Non-Aligned Conference raised the issue, and the African Summit Conference also raised it. It is for sure that, there will be no Non-Aligned Conference without mention of new and old imperialism. Should China not participate in the conference, the conference will not condemn China and support India on the conflict between China and India. Based on my contacts with all parties, with the exception of one or two countries none would agree to a discussion of the Sino-Indian border issue. Perhaps the conference would express its hope that China and India peacefully resolve the conflict. This formula would of course be reasonable. The conflict between China and India is not like the West Irian issue, as the other side to the West Irian issue is imperialism. Should China not participate, the conference certainly will not condemn China. Your Excellency the Premier may rest assured. There is no need to worry about this.


Zhou: I am convinced that you will not condemn China. My concern lies elsewhere.


Nasser: We discussed in our previous meeting the Asian-African Conference. We approve of actively carrying out the preparatory work, in particular of having India able to participate. If India does not participate, it would be a great loss for Asian solidarity. Today I saw in the newspaper Subandrio’s statement about preparing to hold a preparatory meeting in February next year. But he has yet to make formal contact with us. In short, we feel that holding this meeting would be useful. The important thing is first to carry out well the preparatory work. The Bandung Conference was prepared well and without reference to the issue of Kashmir. In preparing well in advance and reaching agreement, the conference will certainly be very successful.


Your Excellency spoke of the issue of economic and cultural cooperation between our two countries. We completely agree. Your Excellency spoke of the issue of collective and bilateral cooperation among newly emerging countries. Again, we completely agree. As for strengthening economic cooperation between our two countries, I greatly appreciate such issues as your providing us loans and machinery. Alexandria has a textile factory with machinery that China has supplied. Later we can find out which machines can be imported from China, then ask again for China’s help. We should change the traditional trading of goods for cotton and add new content to it.


I want again to emphasize that we welcome this visit of Your Excellency and your colleagues. This visit has provided a good opportunity to strengthen our friendship.


Zhou: It is Premier Sabri who handled the start. I asked him several times to go, he did, and the result has been good.


Nasser: Hereafter, too, we should continue strengthening exchanges between the leaders of our countries.


Zhou: President Liu Shaoqi requests that Your Excellency visit China on a future tour of Asia.


Nasser: I would be very happy to go.


Our people are very interested in politics. They pay great attention to China’s development and China’s revolution, and have been paying more attention in particular since the Bandung Conference.


Zhou: In the last several days, we have gained a deep impression. Thank you for being such hospitable hosts. In particular there was Mr. Farid, who showed his mastery of the scientific method. The schedule was well planned. In six days we came into contact with every field. The organizational work was well done.


Nasser: These six days have passed very quickly.


Zhou: We learned a great many things.


Nasser: We also agree on strengthening cultural cooperation. Our education minister visited China not long ago. We would welcome more Chinese students coming to the UAR.


Zhou: This third meeting was very useful. Many of the views on the issues are identical. We can express them in the communique. 


The film “Saladin” is very good and should be introduced to Chinese audiences. Later we can translate the dialogue into Chinese.


(Conventional remarks exchanged at conclusion of meeting omitted


[…] [Ellipsis in original] 




Zhou Enlai describes the state of Sino-American relations and Sino-Indian relations. Zhou and Nasser also discuss the Egyptian economy and Sino-Egyptian relations.

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PRC FMA 107-01027-07, 41-62. Translated by Stephen Mercado.


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