April 1, 1955
Report from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, 'The Asian-African Conference'
This document was made possible with support from MacArthur Foundation
The Asian-African Conference
1. The background of convening the Asian-African Conference
(1) The surge of the independence movement in Asia and Africa: Fundamental changes have taken place in Asia since the Second World War. Over one billion of the 1.5 billion people have taken the road of independent development, among which the most important event is the founding the People’s Republic of China; the national liberation movement in Africa has also developed greatly.
A. Near 700 million people in China, Mongolia, Korea and Vietnam have lived n socialist camps.
B. After the Second World War, a number of countries firstly won political independence such as India, Burma, Indonesia, Pakistan, Ceylon, Nepal, the Philippines, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Libya (which are quoted from the speech delivered by Molotov at the 10th anniversary of the founding of the UN and Comrade Zhang Wentian also listed Cambodia and Laos as politically independent countries in his recent report). Including the originally independent countries such as Egypt, Afghanistan, etc, their population reaches 500 million and more (Premier Zhou calls these kinds of countries as countries led by nationalists).
(2) The countries that have won independence began to take an active part in
international political life and have played a very important role.
A. The Korean War has stopped and Indochina has restored peace, to which the Colombo countries have made great contributions.
B. Oppose the military alliances formed by imperialism. For example, the Manila Treaty, Turkey-Pakistan Treaty, US-Pakistan Treaty, Turkey-Iraq Treaty, etc have suffered strong opposition from the Asian-African people and the main Asian-African countries have adopted the policy of peace and neutrality, refusing to join any military alliances.
C. The Five Principles declared by China and India have won support from many Asian-African countries of the world, demonstrating that the possibility of expanding the Asian-African peace region is increasing and the tendency to peace and neutrality from India to Egypt is developing day by day. (The important principles for international cooperation declared by a number of Asian big countries has won more and more support from the other countries of the world, which also demonstrates the important role played by the Asian countries.) Develop their own independent and free economy, and national culture; the state in which the backward countries in the East are exploited and controlled by the colonial countries in the West must change and their destruction of national culture in many Asian-African countries must stop as well.
D. In the process of the conference, the participants were interested in the issues of Indochina and Taiwan, the negotiations between China and USA proposed by China in particular, which is conducive to the relaxation of the Asian and world tensions.
E. The attitude of seeking common ground while reserving differences and friendly consultation adopted by the Chinese Delegation played an extremely important role in the conference, which demonstrates that on the one hand the cooperation between the Communists and nationalists in the struggle against colonialism and for peaceful co-existence is completely possible and necessary, and on the other hand that the existence of the Soviet Union, China and the other people’s democratic countries has restrained the enemy of the national liberation movement and promoted the struggle of the Asian-African people for peace, freedom and independence.
In short, the Asian-African Conference has reflected the profound change of the political situation in the Asian-African region. Its achievements are in the interest of the relaxation of international tension and the maintenance of world peace. The spirit embodied in the course of the conference, seeking common ground while reserving that countries with different systems may reach a completely satisfactory agreement on important international issues, is called “Bandung Spirit”. At the same time, the Asian-African Conference has made a great contribution to the strengthening of the national consciousness of the Asian-African countries, for example, the extremely important role played by the Asian-African countries in the 10th Session of the UN is inseparable from the impact of the Asian-African Conference.
(3) But the imperialist colonial and racial oppression still exists in many places of the Asian-African region. On the eve of the Asian-African Conference, imperialism intensified its activities of creating Asia into a source of war, i.e. they organized the Turkey-Pakistan Treaty, Turkey-Iraq Treaty, and intensified the activity of organizing the Manila Treaty; carried out the activities of preventing China from liberating Taiwan in the Taiwan Straits; and tried its best to sabotage the Korean War Truce Agreement and Indochina Truce Agreement.
(4) Having taken their destiny into their own hands, the Asian-African countries held this conference to discuss and solve their common issues.
2. The achievements of the Asian-African Conference
It is the first gathering of the representatives of 29 countries from Asia and Africa with over half of the world population. The resolutions adopted by the conference indicate the following points:
(1) The Asian-African countries commonly oppose the imperialist colonial system and the exploitation and oppression of the Asian-African people. The resolutions of the conference have made a fresh strike on the colonialist countries.(The communiqué condemns the colonialism and racialism, maintains the principle of national self-determination and declares that “freedom and independence shall not be delayed and given to the people still affiliated to people as far as possible.” The declaration says that the issue of the racial discrimination in South Africa and the issues of West Irian, Goa, Yemen, Aden, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Palestine, etc must be solved.)
(2) The Asian-African Conference has established in the “Declaration on Promoting World Peace and Cooperation” a number of international principles in eliminating the international tensions and promoting the peaceful co-existence, friendship and cooperation among all countries. The Ten Principles promulgated in the Declaration is in general in conformity with the Five Principles. The Declaration reflects the universal aspiration of the Asian-African people who insist on not allowing imperialism to turn the Asian-African region into a new source of war.
(3) The Asian-African Conference has put forward the advocacy and method for realizing the cooperation among the Asian-African countries in politics and economy.
3. The influence of the Asian-African Conference
After the Asian-African Conference, the tendency to anti-colonialism, peace and neutrality in the Asian-African countries has further strengthened, their relations with China and Soviet Union have obviously developed, and even Thailand and the Philippines, the extremely and persistently pro-American countries, have had some signs of changing their attitude.
(1) Upsurge of the anti-imperialist movement
A. The North African anti-French colonialist movement is surging in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. Especially, the national liberation movement in Algeria has widely spread out and France has dispatched half of its military force to suppress it, but on the contrary, the national movement is running still higher than before.
B. The Indian anti-Portuguese colonialist movement is deepening. On July 25, the Indian Government formally took actions against the Portuguese colonialists. India closed its embassy in Portugal, severed its diplomatic relations with Portugal, and asked Portugal to close its embassy in India. On August 15, thousands of Indian volunteers rushed into Goa, but over 200 of them were killed or wounded by the Portuguese troops, which caused an uproar in India. Portugal asked for help from USA so that Portugal and USA issued a communiqué, causing the indignation of public opinion in India.
C. Egypt opposes the pressure of imperialism, firmly maintains its sovereignty and develops trade with the Soviet Union and other new countries. Right after the Asian-African Conference, US put pressure on Egypt in order to draw it over to its own side. US has provided Egypt with economic aid amounting to US$40 million and technical aid amounting to US$3.5 million in 1955 fiscal year. After the Asian-African Conference, American Ambassador Byrode promised to increase its aid next year, but USA could not buy over the national sovereignty of Egypt. As a result, Egypt refused the condition of developing trade with imperialists, but did with Soviet Union and the new countries for its own national interest. On September 27, the Egyptian Prime Minister made a statement that Egypt would buy weapons from Czechoslovakia.
D. In regard to the Incident of Budunmi Green Ireland, Saudi Arabia’s action against British imperialism has won wide support from the Arab countries.
(2) The further development of the tendency towards peace and neutrality.
Many countries don’t want to follow USA and more and more countries oppose the military alliances formed by USA.
A. The Asian-African countries oppose forming military alliances.
a. In Middle East, USA made great effort to form the Baghdad Treaty, but Egypt, Syria, etc. firmly rejected it. The governments of Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan, Lebanon, etc. formally expressed that they would not join “this kind” of military alliance.
b. In Southeast Asia, the countries that didn’t join the “Southeast Asian Alliance” still don’t want to join it, such as Ceylon, so that USA is unable to expand it.
B. The unity of the Asian-African countries has formed a force of peace and neutrality.
a. The Asian-African countries have concluded many friendship and mutual aid treaties, such as Indonesia and Afghanistan signing a friendship treaty, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia issuing a joint statement on mutual cooperation and Saudi Arabia and Iran issuing a joint statement based on the resolutions of the Asian-African Conference. On October 23, Egypt and Syria concluded a common defense agreement to counter the imperialist invasion.
b. The Asian-African countries support each other in the struggle for maintaining their national independence. For example, Egypt’s purchase of weapons from Czechs and India’s position on Goa won universal support from the Asian-African countries.
C. Even the countries that have joined the American military alliances don’t want to completely follow the steps of USA and have signs to change their attitude.
a) Agreed to the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence after the Asian-African Conference;
b) Recognized the importance of China’s international status and estranged its relations with the Jiang Jieshi [Chiang Kai-shek] clique;
c) Actively considered and discussed direct trade with China.
b. Even the Philippines has changed its attitude to some extent.
c. As for Pakistan, its prime minister declared in the Asian-African Conference that he would visit China, and when its new prime minister came into power he didn’t change the decision and declared to come to Beijing next spring.
(3) Closer relations with China and Soviet Union
A. Asian-Africa countries frequently exchanged visits with Soviet Union and other new countries after the Asian-African Conference, for example:
a. The leaders of the Soviet Party and Government, Bulganin and Khrushchov, visited India and Burma and achieved great success.
b. The Indian Prime Minister Nehru visited the Soviet Union in June this year.
c. The Burmese Prime Minister U Nu visited the Soviet Union in November this year.
d. The Indonesian Prime Minister Sastroamidjojo visited China in May this year.
e. In addition, there were many friendly visits, such as the Indian Cultural Delegation led by Vice Foreign Minister Chanda which visited Beijing, the Burmese Military Goodwill Delegation led by the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Union of Burma Ne Wen visited China, the Minister of Religious Fund Affairs of Egypt Bakur visited China, etc.
f. There were still more nongovernmental visits, the Japanese nongovernmental organizations’ visit to China in particular.
B. The number of the Asian-African countries that have established diplomatic and trade relations with China is increasing after the Asian-African Conference. For Example:
a. Establishment of diplomatic relations: Nepal and China, Afghanistan and China
Negotiation between China and Lebanon on establishing diplomatic relations.
Negotiation between China and Egypt on establishing consular relations.
Indonesia established diplomatic relations with Czech and Hungary.
Burma established diplomatic relations with Poland.
Syria established diplomatic relations with Bulgaria.
b. Many Asian-African countries have developed trade relations with the Soviet Union and other new countries, such as China and Egypt, China and Ceylon, China and India, and China and Thailand have further developed their trade relations. Our policy of equality and mutual benefit in trade with foreign countries has won welcome from the Asian-African countries.
The note covers the background, achievements, and influence of the Asian-African Conference. It states that the Conference was initiated because Asian and African countries gained their independence after the Second World War and wanted to tackle the imperialism and colonialism. After the Conference, there was an increase of anti-imperialism sentiment among the Asian and African countries.
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