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October 1, 1950

Telegram from Zhou Enlai to Kim Il Sung

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation

Comrade Ni Zhiliang, immediately convey to Comrade Kim Il Sung:


The September 30 telegram from Comrade Zhiliang has informed us of the situation.  Now that the eight divisions of the First Front Army have been cut off by the enemy, please consider whether it is possible to divide these eight divisions into two parts.  Have four divisions destroy their heavy weapons and separate them into many small detachments to retreat to the north of the 38th Parallel by different paths through gaps in the enemy’s lines. Disperse [the other] four divisions into many small detachments in south Korea, rely on the people and persist in guerrilla war in the enemy’s rear area, which will pin down large numbers of the enemy and prevent them from moving forward.  To which place have the five or six divisions led by the Second Front Army retreated?  Is it possible to withdraw all of them north of the 38th Parallel in several days?  In brief, your armies must retreat north rapidly, the quicker the better.  If the enemy attempts to restrain or block [the retreat], [you] should destroy heavy weapons, and retreat through gaps in the enemy’s lines by separate paths.  Those who cannot retreat should stay in the enemy’s rear area and persist in dispersed guerrilla activity.  Whether the above suggestions are appropriate or not, please reply immediately.  [We] wish to be informed of the situation in detail.


Zhou Enlai

Night of October 1


China advises Kim Il Sung to have the North Korean armies retreat north of the 38th parallel as quickly as possible after the First Front Army was cut off by the opposing side.


Document Information


Zhonggong zhongyang wenxian yanjiushi (CPC Central Historical Documents Research Office) and Zhongyang dang'anguan (Central Archives), eds., Jianguo yilai Zhou Enlai wengao (Zhou Enlai’s Manuscripts since the Founding of the PRC), vol. 3 (Beijing: Zhongyang wenxian chubanshe, 2008), 378. Translated by Jingxia Yang and Douglas Stiffler.


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