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May 13, 1950

Telegram from Zhou Enlai to Nikolai Bulganin

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation

Comrade Bulganin:

(1) According to the report by our Third Field Army Vice-Commander, General Su Yu, the army’s preparations for the battle to seize Zhoushan Island can be completed by mid-July.  However, based on the current situation, we must have the participation of the air force and navy.  And the preparation work of our air force and navy completely depends on the arrival time of the air force and naval equipment ordered from the Soviet Union.

[We] have estimated that the rainy season and typhoons usually start in August.  We have also estimated that the air force and the navy will need at least one month’s time for equipment testing and exercises after necessary equipment is obtained.  Therefore, the campaign should begin no later than mid-July, and the equipment should be received at least one month before the campaign starts.  So, please manage to accelerate the start of the shipments and the dispatch of all equipment [enumerated] in this year’s April 13 letter from Comrade Mao Zedong to Comrade Stalin and the attached requisition form, with a clearly marked arrival deadline of May and July of 1950, [as well as] all advisers invited in this year’s April 13 letter from Comrade Mao Zedong to Comrade Stalin and the attached personnel list, the 84 airplanes needed by the air force ordered in the requisition form signed by Comrade Mao Zedong on Feb 15, 1950 and also mentioned by me in the third item of this year’s April 13 letter sent to you from me, and the various kinds of equipment needed by the navy and mentioned in another letter.  [Arrange to] have them arrive in the Shanghai area before the end of May.

(2) [omitted]

(3) Furthermore, all the above-mentioned equipment and advisors must arrive at the same time.  Otherwise, it will be impossible to begin the campaign.

With sincere Bolshevik greetings,

Zhou Enlai

May 13

Zhou Enlai presses Moscow to accelerate the dispatchment of requested equipment and personnel by the specified deadline so that the Chinese air force and navy can prepare for the military campaign to seize Zhoushan Island.

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Zhonggong zhongyang wenxian yanjiushi (CPC Central Historical Documents Research Office) and Zhongyang dang'anguan (Central Archives), eds., Jianguo yilai Zhou Enlai wengao (Zhou Enlai’s Manuscripts since the Founding of the PRC),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. 2 (Beijing: Zhongyang wenxian chubanshe, 2008), 303-306. Translated by Jingxia Yang and Douglas Stiffler.


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Leon Levy Foundation