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June 25, 1962

Reply to the Soviet Government Memorandum of 7 June and the Oral Supplementary Statement of 11 June (Draft)

This document was made possible with support from Henry Luce Foundation

Request Vice Premier Chen [Yi] read and approve. [Translator's note--Chen's name is circled, an indication that he did read and approve the document.]

[Zhang] Hanfu

22 June

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

People's Republic of China


Reply to the Soviet Government Memorandum of 7 June and the Oral Supplementary Statement of 11 June (Draft)


The Chinese government has examined the memorandum that Soviet Comrade Ambassador [Stepan] Chervonenko delivered on 8 June and the oral supplementary statement made on 11 June. The Chinese government takes note: Under the repeated requests of the Chinese side, the Soviet side recently has taken certain measures in the border area to stop illegal border crossings. The Chinese government welcomes this. However, the Soviet government in the aforementioned memorandum and the oral supplementary statement has fundamentally avoided mention in regard to the Soviet side’s responsibility by convention for the issue of Chinese residents who have illegally crossed the border into Soviet territory, instead leveling groundless accusations against the Chinese side. In regard to this, the Chinese government is completely unable to agree and cannot but express regret.


The Soviet government in the memorandum stubbornly insists that from the beginning it has made efforts with the Chinese government to work together to resolve the issue of Chinese residents illegally crossing the border, but the indisputable facts make clear that the situation is precisely the opposite of this statement. Within a period of over two months from the middle of March, the Soviet side in regard to the nearly 60,000 Chinese residents who have crossed the border illegally into Soviet territory has neither obstructed them nor handed them over to the Chinese border defense authorities but has made it convenient for them to cross the border and resettled them in Soviet territory. In this period, despite the Chinese side’s repeatedly making earnest requests of the Soviet side via diplomatic channels and the border defense department to cooperate with the Chinese side and adopt measures obstructing the illegal border crossings of Chinese residents, and by convention hand over the Chinese residents who illegally crossed the border, what the Soviet side has done at this time, just as it has stated in the memorandum, has been limited to notifying the Chinese side of what has happened. Clearly, in any event one cannot consider that this counts as the Soviet side’s having done everything it should in its responsibility to cooperate with the Chinese side. Particularly surprising is that to this day the Soviet side not only still has not by convention handed over the nearly 60,000 Chinese residents who have crossed the border illegally but even fundamentally has not expressed its willingness to do so.


The Soviet government in the memorandum claimed that the illegal border crossers themselves refused to return to China and repeatedly brought up the Soviet side’s proposal that the Chinese side send persons inside Soviet territory to carry out work towards them. The Chinese government has already indicated that it cannot agree with such a suggestion and at present is willing again to propose: For a long time, whether it was the Chinese side or the Soviet side, in regard to illegal border crossers both sides promptly and unconditionally handed them over to the other side. There has never been an issue of whether or not illegal border crossers wanted to return to their country or of carrying out work by those sent by the other side towards the illegal border crossers. As in the past it has always been done this way, clearly there is no reason at present not to do it this way. The Soviet government, regardless of the two countries’ long-term and effective practice, is unreasonable to emphasize repeatedly the so-called willingness of those illegal border crossers.


The Soviet government in the afore-mentioned memorandum and oral supplementary statement criticizes the Chinese side for not adopting necessary measures to halt the illegal border-crossing incidents and even apparently assisting the illegal border-crossing behavior. This is completely without foundation. It is not difficult for the Soviet side to understand that nearly 60,000 Chinese residents illegally crossed the border, took with them a large amount of livestock and other property, made barren a wide expanse of land, disturbed the social order, and caused severe loss to the property and lives of Chinese residents of the border area. This is very unfortunate for the Chinese side. How can one think that the Chinese side in regard to this unfortunate incident not only would not halt it but give assistance to it? In fact, from the time it happened, the Chinese side has in a timely way, continuously, and in multiple aspects adopted measures, doing a great deal of work in the relevant area and making every effort to halt the illegal border crossings and restore the normal order to the border. However, due to the Soviet side's adopting of an uncooperative attitude, encouraging more Chinese residents to cross the border illegally and causing the Chinese side great difficulties, it has made it difficult for the Chinese side’s efforts to be effective. It is only recently, due to the Soviet side's beginning to take certain measures to halt it, that the Chinese side's blocking work at last is taking effect. The phenomenon of large-scale illegal border crossings has been stopped and persons who have gathered in part of the border area to attempt illegal crossing of the border have successively returned inland. The Soviet government has ignored these unquestionable facts and has without foundation suggested that the responsibility lies with the Chinese government. The Chinese government will never accept this.


The Chinese government hopes that the Soviet government further adopts effective measures and cooperates in friendship with the Chinese government, working together to completely restore the normal status of the border area to the benefit of the great solidarity and friendship between the two countries of China and the Soviet Union.


[Document stamp at bottom left corner, page 1 of 3]

General Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Document No. 594

22 June 1962    


[Handwritten addition at bottom, page 3 of 3]

25 June 1962


The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs the Soviet government that its accusations against China of illegal migration are groundless.

Document Information


PRC FMA 118-01765-04, 38-40. Translated by Stephen Mercado.


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