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October 21, 1954

Talking Points from Premier Zhou Enlai’s Third Meeting with Nehru

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Talking Points from Premier Zhou Enlai’s Third Meeting with Nehru, 21 October 1954


The main content of today’s conversation are a series of exploratory questions that Premier Zhou posed to [Prime Minister Jawaharlal] Nehru.


I. At the beginning of the meeting, Premier Zhou inquires about the situation in Indonesia. He then tells Nehru that we have invited the Indonesian Prime Minister to visit China, but the Indonesian Prime Minister wants us to visit them first.


Nehru says that the Indonesian government is unstable, as on one hand, extremist Muslims are rebelling in the Java region, while on the other hand, the Indonesian Prime Minister’s party is a minority party and needs to form a coalition government with other parties. Over the past two or three weeks, there have been some disputes among these parties, and it is not clear whether another government will emerge in the next few months. As such, Nehru urges Premier Zhou not to visit Indonesia until the situation clears up. He then mentions that the Colombo Conference will be held in Jakarta around 28 December.


II. Premier Zhou says that although Ceylon has mutual recognition with China and continues to trade with China, it is reluctant to establish formal diplomatic relations with us. Premier Zhou asks Nehru how he looks at the developments in this regard.


Nehru makes a few general remarks about Ceylon but does not respond directly to Premier Zhou’s question. He merely says that the Ceylon Prime Minister is a big landlord who has rather conservative viewpoints, and that there are no anti-Chinese sentiments in Ceylon, but that Ceylon is afraid that it may offend the US.


III. Premier Zhou says that China is willing to get in touch with Thailand and to live in peace with Thailand under the Five Principles. He asks Nehru about the possibility of this.


Nehru first says that India does not have a tight relationship with Thailand; for example, a Thai delegation recently arrived in India to promote the sale of rice, but India just would not buy it. On his way to China, Nehru had a stopover at Rangoon instead of Bangkok. In response to Premier Zhou’s question, Nehru says that he estimates that we will not get a response from Thailand anytime soon but that we may get one in a while.


IV. Premier Zhou again mentions the three countries in Indochina, saying that Vietnam has yet to achieve unification and asking whether India will establish normal diplomatic relations with Laos and Cambodia.


Nehru says that during his stopover at Hanoi, he told Chairman Ho Chi Minh that India had recognized Vietnam, as India had a representative in Hanoi who was in touch with the Vietnamese side on a daily basis, but it was inconvenient for India, which holds the chairmanship of the International Council, to give Vietnam formal recognition. Nehru also says that India plans to send consul-generals to all of the four regions in Indochina.


Nehru goes on to say that Laos has a lot of misgivings about the withdrawal of foreign troops because the US is exerting pressure on Laos and objects to the withdrawal of French troops, arguing that the resistance forces have not retreated yet. Nehru says that the deadline for the withdrawal of foreign troops is 21 November, and that if all foreign troops are pulled out before the deadline, it will be easier for Laos to achieve internal unification and adjustment; otherwise, the US will intervene under all sorts of pretexts.


Premier Zhou says that we insist that each and every clause of the Geneva Accords be honored, and that we have always supported Laos’ demand for unification and hope that, as the chairman of the International Council, India will do more in promoting the implementation of the Accords.


V. Premier Zhou goes on to bring up the Korean issue. He says that he met with [Ambassador V. K. Krishna] Menon during the Geneva Conference. During the meeting, Premier Zhou made suggestions regarding the principles, saying that if India made a motion at the UN, he would suggest holding a conference like the Geneva Conference to explore a peaceful solution to the Korea issue, and that participation in the conference could be expanded. His specific suggestion right now is to include neutral nations in Southeast Asia in addition to the existing nineteen nations. If the meeting cannot be held this year, next year will be okay, and the venue for the meeting may be proposed by the UN as one party. Geneva and Delhi will both be okay. Of course, for the UN to make such a motion as one party, the consent of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and South Korea must be obtained. At that time, Menon agreed to this idea. If Prime Minister Nehru thinks the timing is proper, he may consider this suggestion and ask Menon to study it. Premier Zhou says that he has consulted with the governments of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Soviet Union, both of which have given consent. Premier Zhou also mentions that while in Geneva, [Prime Minister Anthony] Eden [of Britain] personally said that if the Korean issue was discussed again, the US would not exclude China from the discussion, and neither would Britain. Premier Zhou says that since China would not be excluded, the discussion would have to be made outside the UN, as China is not a member of the UN.


Nehru says that there are two sides to this issue. On one hand, the deterioration of the situation must be prevented, while on the other hand, progress must be made in order to solve the problem. The former is a routine task while the latter needs to wait for the right time. When the time comes, the only solution is to hold another meeting. In this regard, two things are important. The first is timing, and the second is what will be brought up at the meeting. As far as timing is concerned, Premier Zhou’s suggestion is not feasible because the US will not agree to anything before this year’s election; thus, it is better to wait until the US election is over and then decide what to do on the basis of where things stand. Second, before the motion is made, preparatory work must be done to test the attitude of other countries. Finally, Nehru says that he will inform Menon of the points made by Premier Zhou and pay attention to prevent the situation from deteriorating. Moreover, preparatory work must be done and the delegations of other nations consulted, and consideration will be made after the US election.


Premier Zhou says that the Korea situation may not deteriorate, but the Korean issue remains on the agenda of the UN General Assembly and we must pay attention. If the U.S. makes a motion, it will be unfavorable. If we are not prepared, the agenda item itself may deteriorate.


VI. Finally, Premier Zhou brings up several issues between China and India.


First, India asks for permission for its air routes to pass via Hong Kong to Guangzhou. Premier Zhou says that we agree. Starting from January of next year, all civil flights between China and the Soviet Union will be operated by China, and we hope that in the future we can develop joint international transportation; therefore, we also ask for permission to extend our air routes to Calcutta. We may not be able to do this for the time being, but as long as both sides agree to such equitable arrangements, negotiations can begin for India’s plans to extend its air routes to China.


Nehru says that aviation agreements must be carefully considered and agrees that consent must be mutual. He is pleased that China has agreed to his request. He suggests that China send experts to India to talk about this matter outside diplomatic channels.


Second, Premier Zhou talks about the cooperation between China and India in science and technology. For example, Hou Debang will be invited to India to help with the production of caustic soda, and we also hope that Indian health experts will come to China. Such assistance and cooperation should increase.


Nehru says he agrees. He also says that Chinese students are welcome to study at India’s accounting institutes and that Chinese scientists are welcome to take part in the annual early January science conferences held in India.


VII. Nehru says that he has two small questions.


First, in addition to encouraging exchange between China and India in all fields, mutual visits by private citizens of the two countries and the exchange of books and newspapers should also be encouraged.


Second, Indian pilgrims to Tibet often complain about harassment by Chinese border guards and low-level officials.


Nehru also talks about Nepal’s establishment of diplomatic relations with China. He says that at present the U.S. has no embassy in the Nepalese capital and that the duties of the US ambassador in Delhi cover Nepal. He reveals that the US once planned to send a dedicated ambassador to Nepal, but this plan was rejected by Nepal after the warning from India. Therefore, he suggests that China follow suit by having the duties of its ambassador in Delhi cover Nepal so as to prevent the US from raising the same request again by citing a precedent.


Premier Zhou says that he agrees that in addition to the visits by groups between China and India, there should also be visits by individuals. Regarding the harassment of pilgrims, Premier Zhou says that he will take corrective action after finding out the truth. As for the establishment of diplomatic relations with Nepal, Premier Zhou says that, taking note of Nepal’s difficulties and to prevent the US from citing a precedent, he will consider Prime Minister Nehru’s suggestion, but if the US sends a dedicated ambassador, we will do the same. Premier Zhou also points out that our communication with the Southeast Asian nations is aimed at enhancing unity and is conducive to peace, not for making trouble.


Nehru says that the US has made a lot of trouble but refuses to recognize India’s special status in Nepal.


VIII. Finally, Nehru says that Kashmir hopes that China can supply [illegible].


Premier Zhou says that the supply is totally possible, as it will benefit the economy of the people of Kashmir, and Pakistan will not object to it. Premier Zhou also says that he hopes that Kashmir will send people over to pick seeds.


IX. Finally, Premier Zhou seeks Nehru’s opinion on whether a joint communiqué should be released for the meetings.


Nehru says that a formal communiqué is not necessary and that if the communiqué is vague and general, it will not help, but if it is specific, it will cause an inconvenience. He plans to make a speech at the press conference.


Zhou Enlai and Nehru discuss Sino-Indian relations, as well as China and India's views toward Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, Vietnam, and Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

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PRC FMA 204-00007-06, 51-57. Obtained by Chen Jian and translated by 7Brands.


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