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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • Conversations with Mao Zedong

    Mao Zedong, who ruled China from October 1949 until his death in September 1976, shaped the ideological underpinnings of China's international relations and played a pivotal role in crafting relations with China's allies and enemies. This collection brings together conversations held between Mao and foreign leaders from both within and outside of the communist bloc in order to offer insights into Mao's worldview and major developments in China's domestic history and foreign relations. See also the collection: Conversations with Zhou Enlai. (Image: President Richard Nixon Shaking Hands with Chairman Mao Tse-tung, 21 February 1972, NAID 194759)

  • China and South Asia

    South Asia was one of the most important regions in China's international relations and foreign policy during the Cold War. This collection, drawn largely from the Chinese Foreign Ministry Archive, sheds light on China's relations with India, Pakistan, and, to a lesser extent, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) from 1949 onwards. It includes high-level records of conversation between Chinese and South Asian leaders, Chinese embassy dispatches from the region, and other types of records. See also the Digital Archive collection on the Sino-Indian Border War, 1962. (Photo: The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, meets Mao Zedong (right) in October 1956.) (

  • China-Southeast Asia Relations

    China was a major player in Cold War Southeast Asia, advocating for socialist revolutions and directly supporting independence struggles.(Image: Mao Zedong chatting with Ho Chi Minh, China, May 1965)

  • China-Western Europe Relations

     This collection follows China's relations with countries in Western Europe from the early 1950s through the 1980s. It includes documents from China, Italy, France, West Germany, and other countries. See also the Digital Archive collection: Sino-French Normalization, 1964.For materials on China's relations with Eastern Europe, see China-Eastern Europe Relations. (Image: The Chairman of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, Mao Zedong (r), welcomes CSU Chairman Franz Josef Strauß (l). The politicians met on January 16, 1975 in Beijing, China.)

  • Chinese Civil War, 1945-1950

    The Chinese Civil War, 1945-1950, fought between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Nationalist Party (GMD), was a defining conflict for China, East Asia, and the world. The Civil War was marked by a number of large battles and campaigns and the involvement of both the United States and the Soviet Union. The victory of the CCP and the founding of the People's Republic of China in October 1949 shifted the balance of power in the emerging Cold War. For other collections on China’s modern political history, see: Purges in 1950s China; China’s Great Leap Forward, 1958-1961; China’s Cultural Revolution, 1966-1976; Reform and Opening in China, 1978-; and China, 1989. (Image: Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong met in Chongqing in 1945.

  • Conversations with Zhou Enlai

    Zhou Enlai served as Premier of the People's Republic of China from October 1949 until his death in January 1976 and concurrently as the first Foreign Minister from 1949 through 1958. Zhou's involvement and influence on China's foreign policy was immense. This collection features hundreds of conversations that Zhou held with leaders from dozens of countries. See also the Digital Archvie collection: Conversations with Mao Zedong. (Photo: President Richard Nixon and Premier Zhou Enlai toast, February 25, 1972. (NARA NAID 194277, Image number  C8555-09A))

  • Foundations of Chinese Foreign Policy

    The foundational speeches, reports, treaties, and other documents which have defined and gave shape to the foreign policy of the People's Republic of China since 1949, from Mao Zedong to Deng Xiaoping and beyond. (Image: Mao Tse-tung, half-length portrait, seated, facing Nikita Khrushchev, during the Russian leader's 1958 visit to Peking.)

  • Sino-Japanese Normalization, 1972

    A collection exploring the normalization of diplomatic relations between the People's Republic of China and Japan in 1972. The collection includes records of the high-level talks among Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Takeiri Yoshikatsu, Tanaka Kakuei, and other Chinese and Japanese leaders which made normalization happen.

  • The Yi-ta Incident, 1962

    During the “Yi-Ta Incident” (the Yili-Tacheng Incident or Ili-Qoqek Incident) of spring 1962, 60,000 Kazakhs and Uyghurs fled from Xinjiang in China's northwest into the Soviet Union. The incident both revealed and exacerbated tensions between China and the Soviet Union, leading to angry accusations on both sides. In the wake of the incident, China waged a fierce struggle against Soviet "revisionism" within Xinjiang and expelled all Soviet diplomats from the Uyghur Autonomous Region. This collection mostly consists of translated Chinese records from the Foreign Ministry Archives in Beijing (PRC FMA). See also the Digital Archive collection "China and the Soviet Union in Xinjiang, 1934-1949." Image: Mao Zedong greets representatives of various ethnic groups from Xinjiang, "Chairman Mao Is the Red Sun in Our Hearts," Gong Jianxin, 1964.

  • Vietnam War

     Documents on the Vietnam War. These telegrams, minutes, and discussion notes range from the mid-1950s to the end of the 1970s, and most come from Chinese and Albanian archives. There are many documents from Albania archives on Vietnam-Albanian relations. The collection also includes several Chinese telegrams and memorandums on foreign and economic relations with Indochina, as well as discussions with Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong. See also the Indochinese War and the 1954 Geneva Conference. (Image, American POW, 1973, US Department of Defense, DDST9904270)