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March 8, 1964

Record of Premier Zhou Enlai's Conversations with the President of Ghana Kwame Nkrumah

This document was made possible with support from Henry Luce Foundation

Secret Document 151

Foreign Ministry File


Record of Premier Zhou Enlai’s Talks with Ghana’s President Kwame Nkrumah

(The Premier has not yet reviewed)




Premier Zhou Enlai and Nkrumah:   First Talks (1)

Premier Zhou Enlai and Nkrumah:   Second Talks (21)

Premier Zhou Enlai and Nkrumah:   Third Talks (31)




Record of Premier Zhou Enlai and President Nkrumah’s First Talks


Date: 12 January 1964, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.


Location:  Osu Castle, Accra


Our side’s participants: Chen Yi, Vice Premier; Kong Yuan, Deputy Director [Foreign Affairs Office]; Huang Zhen, Deputy Director [Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs]; Tong Xiaopeng, Director, [Office of the Premier]; Qiao Guanhua, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs; Huang Hua, Ambassador [to Ghana]; Wang Yutian, Director, [Department of West Asian and African Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs]


Ghanaian side participants: Kojo Botsio, Minister of Foreign Affairs; E.K. Bensah, Minister of Communications and Works and Chief of State Protocol; S.A. Dzirasa, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; E.K. Okoh, Secretary to the Cabinet; M.F. Dei-Anang, Ambassador (Special Duties); F.S. Arkhurst, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; K.B. Asante, Principal Secretary, African Affairs Secretariat; Joe Fio Meyer, Ghana Ambassador-designate to the People’s Republic of China; W.Y. Eduful, Director, Publicity Secretariat; J.B. Wilmot, Acting Director, Eastern Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Interpreter:  Yi Chaotao


Recorders:  Hu Dingyi, Zhou Mingji




Nkrumah discussed:


1. Black Africa’s national liberation movement and Ghana’s Africa Policy;

2. The East African Federation and the Union of African and Malagasy States;

3. The situation in the Congo.


Premier Zhou and Vice Premier Chen discussed:  


1. The issue of China resuming its legitimate seat in the United Nations and the plotting of the United States to create two Chinas;

2. Relations between China and the United States;

3. The Sino-Indian border issue.


Nkrumah:  Let me start the discussion.


I would like to take the opportunity of your visit to our country to express our gratitude. I very much appreciate your making Ghana your first stop on your first visit to Black Africa. Over two years ago, on my visit to China, I had an amazing reception, which I still have not forgotten. Since that time, the Government of Ghana and I personally have unswervingly made every effort to strengthen relations between China and Ghana. 


I would like to propose the following several points as a basis for talks.


First, there is China’s struggle tactics for entering the United Nations. We hope to understand China's policy in this regard. For us to adopt appropriate measures, in our view, only when China joins the United Nations will it be possible to solve international issues.


Second, there is the issue of relations between India and China. We hope that you tell us your views so that henceforth we can take steps.


Third, there is the issue of general disarmament and nuclear disarmament


Fourth, there is the issue of convening an Asian-African-Latin American Conference. We have already held the Bandung Conference. There are various proposals on holding it again, and we can exchange views on this.


Fifth, there is the issue of convening the first conference of the people from every country of the world to discuss the issues of opposing imperialism and the new and old colonialisms.


Sixth, there is the issue of China’s support, moral and otherwise, of our struggle for African unity. Our aim is to establish an all-African federal government and thereby bring an end to imperialism and colonialism in Africa.


Seventh, you may laugh, but I would like to discuss to what extent China can help us implement our new Seven-Year Development Plan. We will start to implement this plan from February this year. China can help us.


Last, I would like to discuss the issue of the communique.


If we do not finish our discussion today, we can continue the talks. Any time is fine with me. Our talks are more important than any other item on the agenda.


Premier Zhou: Thank you, Your Excellency the President, for putting forward these proposals.


First of all, I would like to express our concern regarding the recent assassination attempt against Your Excellency the President. Chairman Mao has sent Your Excellency a condolence cable and has published it today.


Since the Summit Conference of African States in Addis Ababa, there has been a good start to Africa’s solidarity and unity, and this trend continues to grow, which we are pleased to see.


Two years ago Your Excellency visited China and invited Chinese leaders to visit Africa. We have now arrived at last, if a little late.


Nkrumah: It is good that you have come now.


Zhou:  Our visit to Black Africa starts with Ghana, which shows that our relations are good and that we respect Ghana’s position in Africa.


We, too, wish to exchange views on the seven issues that you have raised and through discussion obtain consensus. Apart from the seven issues, if we touch on other issues, we can also exchange views on them. With regard to the seventh issue, you can designate those responsible on your side to talk with us. Our side will be led by Kong Yuan, with Bureau Director Liu Xiwen, Ambassador Huang, the commercial counsellor, and Department Director Wang Yutian joining him. You can first introduce us to the situation of the Seven-Year Plan. We could arrange separate talks. I would like to request at this point that Your Excellency the President discuss first the situation of Black Africa. Other than the people at our embassies, we have very little understanding regarding Black Africa. Your discussing it will increase our knowledge.


Nkrumah: When Ghana started the revolution in 1948, West Africa still had not one independent country, the people were not even thinking of independence, and at the time the only independent country was Liberia, which had existed for over one hundred years. In reality, it was a colony of the United States. The genuine liberation movement started from GhanaWest Africa had British colonies and French colonies. The British dependencies included the Gold Coast, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Gambia, as well as the United States [sic – should be United Nations] trust territories of the Cameroons and Togoland. French dependencies were divided into 12 territories. In addition there is Portuguese Guinea. Britain, France, and Portugal all have engaged in economic exploitation.


When Ghana started the liberation movement, nobody thought that this movement would enable the liberation of all these countries. After Ghana’s independence, other countries were encouraged: if Ghana can have independence, we, too, can have independence. After Ghana’s independence, the liberation movement continued to develop. De Gaulle in a day gave independence to all the French dependencies. Of course, none of them are genuinely independent. Generally speaking, at the present time the independent countries all are independent in name only. Imperialism is thinking to return and carry out economic control. I call it neocolonialism. If there is only political independence and the economy is still controlled, then there will come a day when it once again will be reduced to a colony. Mali, Guinea, and Nigeria all are independent in name only. The development of West Africa’s liberation movement has influenced East Africa and North Africa and given rise to Algeria’s war of liberation. The current liberation movement has swept the entire continent of Africa.


We have here the Africa Secretariat, freedom fighters from every part of Africa, and the Bureau of African Affairs. We are cooperating with liberation movements in every part of Africa. Your visit this time is brief. Otherwise, you could see everything. We are even running a guerrilla warfare training center, helping Portuguese Angola carry out its war of liberation.


African countries now have roughly two types of situation. In one type, they have driven out colonialism and established a nationalist regime, but imperialism is doing its utmost to exert control. In another type, the colonialists have left, but their agents have direct control over the regime. The result is that the Africa nationalist movement also must oppose the agents.


We first established with Guinea the Union of African States. Mali later joined it. The objective is to realize African unity. We then held the Casablanca Conference. Joining us were six countries: Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Egypt, Morocco, and Algeria. Imperialism and the new and old colonialism opposed us, instructing Nigeria, Liberia, and the Ivory Coast to engage in another group. But nobody opposes African unity. For all, the goal over the long term is identical. Therefore, at the Addis Ababa Conference, both sides could join together. This is the result of compromise. At present the Addis Ababa Conference is already out of date. Political reality presents a new demand, which is the establishment of an all-African federal government. Of course, we cannot do all of this at once. Everyone agreed on this point at the Addis Ababa Conference. Our assertion is that we can first establish it with eight or 10 countries participating in it. Once we establish it, we can have other countries join. What I am indicating is that the concept of the federal government is all-African in character, with the exception of South Africa.   At present the Central African Federation has already disbanded. Those countries can also join the all-African federal government. The present difficulty is the Congo. The Congo has become independent, but Belgian imperialism has returned and US imperialism has gone in there. 


There is another point. Britain is now attempting to organize the East African Federation. Ghana’s position is one of uncompromising opposition because this is the Central African Federation in another form. In East Africa there are European white settlers, Indian settlers, as well as British officials. They think to protect their interests through organizing the East African Federation.


Vice Premier Chen: How is the attitude of the Indians?


Nkrumah:  The Indians are approving of it. Establishing the East African Federation government would be a violation of the idea of African unity. The idea for the East African Federation does not come from Africans. It comes from British and US imperialism. They think to persuade East African leaders to establish the East African Federation. The East African Federation would cover the three countries of Tanganyika, Kenya, and Uganda. At present Kenya’s attitude wavers and is undecided. Uganda is in uncompromising opposition to it. The activities of European settlers, Indian settlers and British officials have Britain’s support. If they form the East African Federation, they then can use it to continue carrying out exploitation. If you talk with [Julius] Nyerere, he will have you believe that it would be good to establish the East African Federation. [Ahmed] Ben Bella is the same. When Nyerere visited Algeria, he persuaded Ben Bella to believe that the East African Federation would be good. It was only after Ben Bella came here that he learned the truth of the East African Federation. In fact, the Addis Ababa Conference has already decided that the end has come for all regional blocs and that Africa will no longer be divided into blocs.


Zhou:  I have taken note of this point. It seems that with the conclusion of the Addis Ababa Conference, East Africa has proposed organizing a federal union.


Nkrumah:  Exactly so.


Zhou:  Recently I saw the news that the Union of African and Malagasy States, too, wishes to have a conference. What is the situation?


Nkrumah: Their holding a meeting is to bring to a conclusion their organization’s affairs. The office of the Union of African and Malagasy States in New York has already been transferred to the Organization of African Unity. Worth noting is that France still thinks to exploit the Union of African and Malagasy States. The border dispute between Niger and Dahomey, which should be resolved by the Organization of African Unity, is now under discussion by the Union of African and Malagasy States.


Zhou:  With regard to the Congo, I have a question. First, when the United Nations decided this year to withdraw UN troops from the Congo, the UN military force should have withdrawn. The issue of the Congo is for the Congo’s people themselves to solve. At present, Your Excellency’s assertion is that African countries troops serve to replace them. This way the Congo’s future will be settled. Second, what exactly is the national force supporting [Patrice] Lumumba and [Antoine] Gizenga?


Nkrumah:  The Congo’s situation is like this. Lumumba, starting an independence movement, came to Ghana to participate in the All-African People’s Conference. Ghana gave support, the United Nations entered, and Lumumba was killed. At present the situation has matured, and the UN military force should withdraw, but the government of [Cyrille] Adoula is a puppet. He does not let the United Nations withdraw. Our assertion is that prior to the UN military withdrawal, we send in troops via the Organization of African Unity, such as sending a brigade in place of the UN military force. The Congo government would control the African troops, in this way making it possible to exclude imperialist elements.


Zhou: This is completely correct, excluding imperialist elements.


Nkrumah: The Congo at present has a liberation movement, in opposition to Adoula and under the leadership of [Christophe] Gbenye. 


Vice Premier Chen:  The Adoula government is about to reorganize.


Nkrumah:  Yes.


Chen:  Gizenga is still in prison. 


Nkrumah: Yes. After the Congo’s independence, Lumumba was killed, Gizenga was imprisoned, and Gbenye fled to Brazzaville. My concern at present is that US and Belgian imperialism could do away with Adoula and support Mobutu as dictator, just like the situation at present in South Vietnam.


Zhou:  Mobutu has how many troops?


Nkrumah: Approximately 15,000.


Chen:  What is the situation now with [Moise Kapenda] Tshombe?


Nkrumah:  The United States and Britain are thinking to bring Mobutu and Tshombe together, and then have Tshombe obey Mobutu.


Zhou:  Doe Tshombe have his own troops or not?


Nkrumah: He does not have any.


Chen: Are the British and French intervening in the Congo?


Nkrumah: They are both intervening.


Chen: How about West Germany?


Nkrumah: Via the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.


Zhou: There is no support now, whether inside or outside of the Congo, for Lumumba’s force.


Nkrumah: The nationalist movement still exists and is now developing.


Chen: Is there a new leader?


Nkrumah: At present there is only Gbenye. He is at present in Brazzaville.


Zhou:  The United Nations has still not accepted your proposal to substitute African troops for UN troops.


Nkrumah:  The United States opposes our proposal.


Zhou:  Nor has Adoula.


Chen:  The UN military force also has troops from India, Sweden, and Pakistan. How are they performing?


Nkrumah: Very well. Ghana also has troops there, concentrated in Leopoldville. The United Nations says that Ghanaian troops are no good, but the Congo’s people hope that Ghanaian troops stay in Leopoldville. U Thant is going to discuss our proposal.


Zhou:  Marshal Chen asks how Indian troops are performing.


Nkrumah: They are no use at all. They should be withdrawn.


Zhou: If U Thant comes, we firmly assert that it would be better to withdraw the UN military force. This would spare the Congo from the control of imperialism and the new and old colonialisms.


Nkrumah:  We originally demanded that the UN military force leave the Congo at the end of last year. We later compromised, extending the time of withdrawal by six months.


Chen:  We support your request for UN military withdrawal, but we must help Congo’s people gain genuine independence.


Nkrumah:  This is entirely correct. Imperialism always has done everything to maintain colonial rule. They are at present pushing the East African Federation and will later join with Southern Rhodesia, and then add Katanga.


Zhou: The United States supports the East African Federation. This is similar to Malaysia.  


Nkrumah: The United States is exploiting such men as [Tom] Mboya.

Africa’s overall situation is roughly like this. If China joins the United Nations, the situation will be easier. Ghana will do its utmost to educate African countries in the United Nations to vote according to their own conscience, rather than that of others.


Zhou: We are grateful for Ghana’s support to restore China’s legitimate seat in the United Nations.


Nkrumah:  Since the beginning of independence in 1957 we have always been like this.


Zhou: To restore China’s legitimate seat is not something that we can realize all at once.


Nkrumah: It is quite possible that you will be surprised.


Zhou: Change in the situation will not be linear but complex. Now we can discuss the first issue. You are knowledgeable about the circumstances in the United Nations.


Nkrumah: At present there is an increased number of Asian and African independent countries in the United Nations. Africa already has 34 independent countries. Adding this year Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia’s independence, we will have 36 independent countries. If we in the United Nations General Assembly pass a majority requirement, what can they do? Of course, the path is a difficult one. This requires the education of other African countries. In this respect, I hope to understand what will be China’s proposal and what will be the line that China adopts so that we in the United Nations adopt appropriate measures in response.


Zhou: We can first discuss the situation. The United States obstructs the restoration of China’s legitimate seat in the United Nations. We can divide this into three stages. At present we are at the second stage. The first stage is even on the United Nations General Assembly agenda there is a fundamental denial of a discussion of the issue of restoring China’s legitimate position. The issue of China’s seat, of course, is a procedural issue. It is the issue of which China represents all the Chinese people, whether it is Chiang Kai-shek, abandoned by the Chinese people, or the People’s Republic of China that represents the Chinese people. This is the procedural issue, one of the new replacing the old. The United Nations has a good many such situations. The latest example of this is Cuba. The Cuban Revolutionary Government replaced the Batista government. The United States supported the Batista government, the Cuban Revolutionary Government was anti-American, but the outdated representative was no problem at all. The representative of the Fidel government went there; the Batista government’s representative had to go. This is the most eloquent proof. The United States knows that further relying on majority voting will not work and, on procedural issues, could find itself in the minority. It thus has adopted the second stage of action, which is to say that the issue of China’s seat is not a procedural issue but a substantive one requiring discussion in the United Nations General Assembly and a two-thirds majority for passage. The result has been that the issue, although included in the agenda, has not passed by a two-thirds majority. Last year the discussion was the most heated, and the number of countries supporting China legitimate rights was more or less that of the previous session of the United Nations General Assembly. However, the United States, already quite worried, has prepared the third stage, which is the adoption of a new tactic: the creation of two Chinas. This is to make Taiwan an independent country or a political unit and retain its right of representation. Under these circumstances, if control should not reach a two-thirds majority, then have China join the United Nations and have a United Nations with two Chinas. Within the United Nations there are two attitudes regarding this. One is that only the People’s Republic of China can represent China, Chiang Kai-shek cannot represent it, and Taiwan cannot be partitioned, and must be part of China. Socialist countries and many Asian and African nationalist countries have this type of attitude. Another type views the People’s Republic of China as representing China. This is fine. One must speak of restoring legitimate rights, but China does not exercise authority over Taiwan, which has not returned to China’s administration. One can therefore allow Taiwan as an independent political unit. So long as one does not call it China or the Republic of China, it is fine with a change of name. If one calls it the Republic of Taiwan or the Republic of Formosa, such a force for compromise emerges. They say that they have always wanted China to succeed in joining the United Nations, and that it was always the United States which wanted failure. Making Taiwan an independent entity is great. There are also people who explain that at the time the Soviets joined the League of Nations, the three countries of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania had not joined the Soviet Union yet have on their own joined the United Nations. In fact, this is not the same as China’s situation.


Nkrumah: What is the situation?


Zhou:  Russia before the Revolution was an empire, ruling over many countries. After the Revolution, on the basis of the principle of national self-determination that Lenin put forward, there emerged three situations. The first was Finland’s independence. The second was, under imperialist support, Armenia and Georgia by means of plebiscite carried out autonomy but later joined the Soviet Union. The third was that the three Baltic countries by means of national self-determination becoming independent republics. China’s situation is not the same. Before Liberation, from the time of the Opium War, China was invaded for over a hundred years. Many areas were amputated. In 1840 Britain cut off Hong Kong. In 1894, Japan cut off Taiwan. In the Second World War, China was a major allied country in opposing Fascism. In 1941, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Chiang Kai-shek at the Cairo Conference (This time in Cairo, when seeing the pyramids, I saw the hotel where Chiang Kai-shek stayed at that time.) adopted the Cairo Declaration, making clear that after the war Taiwan would revert to China. At the time it was also thought that Hong Kong, too, would revert to China after the war. Because Britain was an allied nation, Roosevelt did not approve it, nor did Chiang Kai-shek propose it. After the war concluded in 1945, China sent persons to Taiwan to receive the Japanese surrender and sent a governor to restore Taiwan as a province of China. Among Taiwan’s population of 9 million, over 8 million are Han Chinese, the same race as the Chinese on the Mainland. There are only several hundred thousand minority peoples. We can create ethnic autonomous regions. In the Mainland, they exist throughout the hinterland. That Taiwan until now has been occupied by Chiang Kai-shek is due to the United States stationing troops and dispatching its Seventh Fleet there. If not for that, Taiwan would have been liberated long ago.


Nkrumah:  Chiang Kai-shek, too, is opposed to two Chinas.


Zhou: That is right. Why is that? If he did not represent China, then he would only represent Taiwan. He would be finished, and the over one million persons who went with him to Taiwan would want to return to the Mainland.  


Nkrumah: Otherwise, they would have no nationality.  


Zhou: The United States can also create a puppet and replace Chiang Kai-shek, whose seat on the Security Council would then cease to exist.


Therefore, at present the United States faces the opposition of both parties and a great deal of difficulty. The US State Department has designed many proposals and thought to create a situation of two Chinas. In this way, the United States can pressure Chiang Kai-shek. If you do not do as I say, then I do not need you.


Our attitude is that if we join, the United Nations must expel Chiang. If Chiang does not go as we decide, then the United States will have a pretext to turn Taiwan into a small unit or to replace Chiang Kai-shek with someone else.


Why does the United States occupy Taiwan and not relinquish it? Taiwan is an important link in the semicircle surrounding China. Kennedy, in the speech he had prepared to deliver on 22 November in Dallas, referred to nine countries surrounding the socialist camp. Among them six counter China: South Korea, Taiwan, South Vietnam, Thailand, India, and Pakistan. The other three countries -- Iran, Turkey, and Greece – have nothing to do with us.  


At present how does the United States enter the third stage? Thinking to have both China and Chiang Kai-shek appear at the same time as independent countries, the United States is now in the preparatory stage. As in the Olympic Committee, in this situation, no matter what, we must refuse and not let it happen.


Our attitude must be uncompromising. We cannot allow the United States to prevail in its plot. There are countries within the United Nations that support China’s entry but also say that Taiwan’s status is undecided. Britain and the Netherlands are this way. Therefore, we only have semi-diplomatic relations with them. They agree with China’s entry but hang up the issue of Taiwan’s status, in the future making it a trust territory, calling it some other name, or holding a plebiscite. Britain has such a plot. We firmly disagree. We have always firmly opposed two Chinas so that the United States cannot prevail in its plot. In this way there have appeared ridiculous things. If we do not go, it is possible for Chiang Kai-shek to remain. In other international conferences, Chiang Kai-shek is there, and we do not go. The Olympic Committee has had a struggle. The Olympic Committee adopted a resolution that Chiang Kai-shek go. We said that if Chiang Kai-shek went, we would not go. The Olympic Committee has also wished to have Chiang Kai-shek act as the Taiwan representative and us to go, but Chiang Kai-shek refused.


Now the majority that supports China is growing, but the situation is complicated. Of course it is also possible that there will appear things that one cannot entirely foresee.


Our attitude is that anywhere there is a situation of two Chinas, we will not participate. We would prefer to wait. We have already waited 14 years and can wait another 14 years, a mere 28 years. We can also wait 14 times 14 years, or 140 years. By then, the life expectancy of imperialism will not be long.  


Is there any place that remains unclear?


We call for restoring China’s legitimate seat, not for joining the United Nations, and it must go together with driving out Chiang.  


Nkrumah:  Has De Gaulle had private contact with you?


Zhou: We can speak of this in private.  


Nkrumah: I have spoken clearly of the situation. We now understand the background and understand China’s attitude. We can do work in African countries to restore China’s seat, but China must peacefully wait. It seems each year we can have an increase of one or two votes.


Zhou: Thank you for understanding our intent. We hope that you persuade Africa’s newly independent countries not to fall into the US imperialist trap.


Nkrumah:  We have never agreed to two Chinas. Two Chinas would make things more complicated.


Chen:  I will add a point here. The hatred of the United States of the Chinese people will not change. There are two root causes for this. First, in the period of the Second World War, the strategic objective of the United States was to support Chiang Kai-shek’s fighting Japan, later occupy China, and then use the Chinese Mainland as its primary base to surround the Soviet Union. The United States gave Chiang Kai-shek 20 billion dollars in aid and sent large numbers of military advisors, but this plan was defeated by the Communist Party of China led by Chairman Mao. Chiang Kai-shek’s regime returned [sic] the people and Chiang Kai-shek lost the people’s support. After Japan surrendered, Chiang Kai-shek carried out the will of the United States and launched a civil war. The United States and Chiang joined together but were defeated by the Chinese people. In this way, the strategic plan of the United States failed. Asian and African countries support China liberation. The United States has lost a market of 600 million people drinking American milk. When bureaucratic capitalists want some American materials, from Shanghai they would make a long-distance telephone call to the United States. They could be shipped in two weeks. It was very convenient. Chinese things in several months would not reach Shanghai. (Premier: Marshal Chen was the mayor of Shanghai.) Even the toilet paper came from the United States. So, the United States extremely dislikes New China. Two hundred years since the founding of the United States, in strategy and politics they have never encountered so great a failure. At the time the United States and Chiang Kai-shek had an agreement. They were going to repair a Marshall [Plan] railway line from Yunnan through Sichuan, Qinghai, and Gansu to Xinjiang, connect through to Central Asia, and surround the Soviet Union. Therefore, the United States does not like us. Nor do we like them.


Second, when the United States invaded North Korea and simultaneously occupied Taiwan, the Pentagon’s generals erred in planning. They mistakenly believed that China’s population of 600 million people were poor and without food to eat, that they could not build their own country, and that there would come a day when they would have to seek the help of the United States, which from Korea in the north and Taiwan from the south was threatening China. They wished for the Chinese to yield before them. They hoped that China would undergo domestic change. Chiang Kai-shek was of no more use to them. They hoped that in China the unpatriotic feudal elements and bureaucratic bourgeois remnants would rise and overthrow the people regime. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s equipment was poor, without an air force and with tanks seized from Chiang Kai-shek. This was the little that they had. The Pentagon’s generals mistakenly believed it would require only a single blow, and China would not dare resist. But they struck for more than two years, were knocked back to the 38th parallel, and suffered 400,000 killed and wounded. In the First World War, the United States suffered 100,000 killed and wounded. In the Second World War, 400,000 dead and wounded got them even more things. But the 400,000 dead and wounded in the Korean War got them nothing at all. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [General Omar Bradley] said that this was the wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time. Therefore, the United States, first, in strategy suffered a political defeat and, second, in military affairs suffered a painful lesson. The profound myth of US invincibility was broken.  


Due to these two points, the leadership of the United States regarding China has a deep-rooted animosity and cannot easily change. They have to see the entire world’s pressure and domestic change. Only then can they change. We do not hate the American people. We have a tradition of friendship. The workers, farmers, and intellectuals of the United States are good people. In the bourgeois class, too, there are open-minded people. We only oppose US imperialism. We do not oppose the American people. Many American friends are in Beijing. They appreciate China’s accomplishments. [W.E.B.] Du Bois, who has become a citizen of your country, has twice been to China. Edgar Snow, too, has been to China.


Nkrumah:  We appreciate Chinas’ adoption of such an attitude. This is a realistic attitude, the one of moderates. Otherwise, if we are impatient, there will be trouble. We will educate African countries, gain a majority, and thereby smash the plan of the United States. Of course, this will take time.


Chen: In 1962, I was at the Geneva Conference[W. Averill] Harriman also praised China. On 25 July, after the signing, [Malcolm] MacDonald, who chaired the conference, held a banquet, seated Harriman and me at the same table, and took a seat on the other side of it. Harriman said to me, “Your policy is wise, patient, and realistic. I really appreciate it.” I simply did not believe my ears and asked him, “You are talking about China?” He said that, yes, he was talking about China. I said that we need wisdom, patience, and reality, and the other side needs to act. His answer was very clever. He said, “You do not know the situation in the United States. The young people are spoiled. They do not listen to what we elders tell them.” He and I were in contact in Geneva for a week. Six times he asked that I issue him a visa to go to China. I said that the United States regards China as the enemy. I cannot issue you one. If I let you go, you would be very embarrassed. Everywhere you would go, the Chinese people would be protesting US aggression against China. I jokingly told him, “It would be dangerous for you to go to China. The House Un-American Activities Committee will investigate your history.” He said, “The House Un-American Activities Committee is unable to manage me.” I said, “You Americans are not democratic. Why can you be an exception?”


The United States has a two-handed policy. On the one hand, they offer you honeyed words. On the other hand, they prepare for war.  


Nkrumah:  Socialist policy.


Zhou: Right. It is also a two-handed policy.


Our patience also shows in the conducting of the Warsaw talks. We have already held talks for more than eight years, since 1 August 1955, starting the talks in Geneva and later moving them to Warsaw. The origin for this was Bandung. When I was at the Bandung Conference, I said to an American reporter that the Chinese people wanted friendship with the American people, but there have been no results in talks to the present time. Why does the United States forcibly occupy Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait? We have put forward the need for a principle for reaching an agreement, which is that China and the United States carry out peaceful coexistence. But it must be based on the Five Principles: mutually respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, mutual non-interference in internal affairs, mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. The United States disagrees, saying instead that we oppose peaceful coexistence. They do not dare accept the Five Principles.


Nkrumah:  If I proposed the Five Principles, the United States also would say that I opposed peaceful coexistence.


Zhou: Early in 1949 and in 1950, Truman and Acheson themselves both said that the Taiwan issue is China’s internal affair and that they would not interfere but, once ready, started the Korean War and invaded and occupied Taiwan.


The United States does not agree with the first principle of an agreement. We have put forward a second principle of an agreement. The United States in principle has agreed that the US armed force must withdraw from Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait, but the United States does not do it. To the present time, there has been no result. The specific root cause is as the Marshal just said.  


The United States also deceives us on small issues. We had thought to reach agreement on several small issues, such as allowing American expatriates in China and captured airborne spies to return to the United States. But Chinese in US prisons and overseas Chinese in the United States, too, should be able to return freely to China. In 1955 we reached an agreement. We would let the American residents return to the United States. Most of the more than 30 Americans in prison were released and returned to the United States, with only four remaining at present. However, the United States not only did not release the imprisoned Chinese, they did not even give us a list of their names. Although they let some go, they had to go to Taiwan and did not have them return to the Mainland. In the United States are several thousand overseas Chinese and students with family on the Mainland. The United States has not given them passports and has not let them return. Therefore, we cannot believe the United Statesbut we still continue to negotiate with the United States. This shows that we do not want to have a war with the United States. So long as the United States does not break off negotiations, we absolutely will not break off negotiations. We have already negotiated for eight years and can do so for another eight years. We are patient and restrained, but we have principle. We do not trade in principles.


Let us discuss the issue of China and India. Is there some question you would like to ask first?


Nkrumah:  Ghana is a member of the Colombo Conference. As for the Colombo Conference Proposals, India accepts them in toto and China has a reservation. I had wished to hold a conference again and seek a means to a solution. I wrote a letter to every Colombo Conference country. Burma replied in saying that at present there would be no use in meeting. India holds to its original position and does not oppose holding another meeting. The others have not responded. I have also received your letter saying that China is not opposed to meeting again and, in the event of another meeting, will send persons to participate in it. Now that you are here, I would like to hear your view in order for us to carry out the work. When China and India clashed, [Harold] Macmillan condemned China. I publicly opposed him, because were diplomacy to support one side, it would turn into an international dispute, making a serious problem of it. Capitalism does this. We have always tried to have China and India reach an understanding. India is now in much difficulty. Private capital occupies ninety-three percent of industry and has ties with American and British international capital.


Zhou: We thank the President for raising a protest against Britain’s supporting India. The President sent the Justice Minister to participate in the Colombo Conference. The Justice Minister after visiting India also visited China. He and I discussed the situation. Our Vice Minister Huang Zhen here also discussed the situation with you.


Here I would like to focus the discussion on a point, which is that at present India is unwilling to negotiate and thinks to maintain the so-called state of tension in order to obtain foreign aid, intensify the plundering of the people, and suppress progressive forces. In fact, at present the border situation is not tense. India has engaged in some minor provocations. I do not attach much importance to it. We understand that at present there will be no major clash. The situation is not the same as that in 1962. At the time India had already half prepared and without cease carried out provocations and encroached on China’s territory. I have already discussed this in the long letter that I gave. Once the conflict began, we were forced to fight back, not expecting that India’s combat effectiveness would be so poor. All of a sudden they completely fell apart but talked big, wanting to drive us out. [Jawaharlal] Nehru and [V.K. Krishna] Menon both said that they wanted to drive us out.  


Arkhurst: They quickly collapsed.


Zhou: After that situation emerged, we immediately adopted proactive measures. Regardless of whether India ceased fire or not, from 1962 to the beginning of 1963, not only did we withdraw to the Line of Actual Control, we withdrew 20 kilometers behind the entire Line of Actual Control, so ensuring disengagement with India’s troops. We can pledge right here to Ghana that in the past we did not and henceforth will not strike first. As we have taken the initiative to withdraw 20 kilometers, unless India invaded again like they did in October the year before last, why would we want to strike again? That could once more give rise to a conflict.


In this respect, we have informed you via our ambassador that we have three steps. If India were to carry out provocations then leave, we would issue a warning. We would then make a record of it and once each quarter compile a statistical chart and notify each country of the Colombo Conference. We have already made notification twice. Second, if they were to enter and not leave, we would issue a protest. Via Colombo, we would seek to dissuade them so as to avoid a conflict again arising. If via the Colombo Conference we dissuaded them and they left, then that would be fine. The Colombo Conference would have played a role. If India refused to leave and continued advancing, we would adopt the third step, which would be executing self-defense. You can see that these three steps are exceptionally moderate. There could be time to have you carry out mediation and a halt. The six countries not only had a role in the past but will henceforth have one. At present Indian troops are intruding, then leaving, with still no sign of their not leaving. Therefore, we now are adopting the first step. The situation is relaxed.


Nkrumah: Now there is peace. India entered and left. At present if we were to hold a meeting there would be nothing to discuss. If in the future should India enter and not leave, we can meet again to discuss whether it is the case.


Chen: Meeting now, there would be nothing to discuss.


Zhou: That is right.  


Nkrumah: At that time, we will again meet to discuss it. That is to say, we will not disband the Colombo Conference. If the problem arose, we would meet to discuss it.


Zhou:  From the start we have kept in touch with you, notifying you in regard to the situation. We recognize that the role of the six countries in mediation. Such a role at present still exists.


Nkrumah:  I can on the basis of today’s talks write a letter to each country of the Colombo Conference, informing them that we need not meet again now and that in the future if there should arise any situation, we would again meet to discuss it.


Zhou:  We have from the first supported the efforts of the Colombo Conference. If you meet again, we would like to participate. In the first conference, China and India did not participate. As a result, the proposal is a bit impractical. The Justice Minister and [Ali] Sabry both understand these situations.


Your thinking is correct. At present there is no need to meet again. In the future if a problem should happen again, we recognize the role of the six countries. You will in no way lose such a role.


Another point is that the Colombo Conference Proposals are basically good. Before and after the generation of the proposals, we all took steps in order to support and positively respond to them. Moreover, we took action beyond what was asked in the Colombo Conference Proposals. To give an example, the proposals only ask that in the Western Sector we withdraw 20 kilometers, as we announced, but we have withdrawn across the entire line 20 kilometers behind the Line of Actual Control, regardless of whether India withdraws or not. In fact India has advanced. So long as India does not cross the Line of Actual Control, we will pay it no heed. Should India enter and leave, we will issue a warning. Should India enter and not leave, we will notify you to dissuade them. You can hold a meeting. Here is another example. In the year and a half prior to October 1962, India made incursions into the western sector and established 43 strong points. The maps that I have given you all indicate that we responded by establishing observation posts and, after counter-attacking in self-defense, destroyed the Indian strong points. At present, we have vacated the area, pending the resolution of the negotiations. We had done this not only in the Western Sector but in the Central Sector and Eastern Sector, too, and in several small areas. We evacuated it all. Our proactive measures are just. The Colombo Conference proposed that both sides in the Western Sector establish civilian posts. The civilian posts always have some arms. This will cause clashes. Even more important is that handling the matter this way first touched on the issue of sovereignty. We in principle accept the Colombo Conference Proposals. This reservation can be settled in the negotiations. Among the six Colombo Conference Proposals, this is only a minor problem.  


India’s so-called acceptance in toto of the Colombo Conference Proposals is empty talk. Since we took the initiative of withdrawing after ceasing fire, India has never adopted the corresponding concrete measures. And if we accept the Colombo Conference Proposals on the basis of that interpretation, Delhi’s interpretation and Beijing’s interpretation are different. The Prime Minister of Ceylon recognizes this point. The Justice Minister, too, can confirm it. Beijing’s interpretation is the one that the Prime Minister of Ceylon and the Foreign Minister of Indonesia conveyed to us in writing. We have not changed a word of it, because this is the Colombo Conference’s own interpretation. Later the Prime Minister of Ceylon went to Delhi and gave the same as Beijing’s interpretation to Nehru. Dissatisfied, he did not accept it. He drafted his own interpretation and wanted the Prime Minister of Ceylon to agree with it. That truly is great-power chauvinism. China is no smaller than India, but we have never imposed our will on others. We cannot replace the mediation role of the six countries. If China and India were each to write its own interpretation, it would be impossible to reach any agreement. The Justice Minister and I have discussed it. He is very fair, agreeing that as long as there is acceptance in principle, China and India can negotiate. The Colombo Conference is carrying out mediation, not arbitration. The Colombo Conference Proposals are only recommendations. They are not a ruling. If I must accept India’s interpretation in its entirety, that is not equal to a ruling. As long as there is acceptance in principle, one can sit down and have talks.


Nkrumah: This is truly our position.  


Zhou: The Justice Minister and the Prime Minister of Ceylon are both in agreement on this point. After arriving in Beijing, Sabry also agreed. I also told Sabry the following. First, I suspect that India does not wish to negotiate. Second, if India is not sincere, holding talks and breaking them, the situation instead will grow tense and it will be better not to have held talks. Third, if India were to agree to unconditional talks and the Prime Minister of India did not come to China, I could go to Delhi. As Sabry wrote to you on returning to Cairo, your assessment was correct: India does not want to hold talks.  


Botsio: Sabry also mentioned this point to me.  


Zhou:  [Gamel Abdel] Nasser, too, admitted the other day that they are not talking. At present what we can do are the three steps just discussed.


Why does India not want to talk? It thinks to exploit the so-called state of tension to obtain foreign aid, with its right hand talking things from the United States and with its left hand taking things from the Soviet Union. At home, India can increase exploitation and suppress the people. The Indian people do not want war. In China, there is no anti-Indian propaganda. The Indian people understand this point, so the clamor for war in India cannot but fall. The Indian people do not believe it. Your Excellency, you mentioned that some 90 percent of Indian industry is controlled by private capital with ties to international capital. India has an extremely heavy foreign debt burden. It is said that debt to the United States and the World Bank has already surpassed 6 billion dollars, and that is without taking military aid into account. The Soviet Union’s loans are in excess of 2 billion rubles. The annual interest on these debts is terrible.


Nkrumah: Moreover, these loans are not used for production, but for procuring arms. In this way, the people become ever poorer.


Zhou: Sabry also said to me that India’s future is in question.


Nkrumah: Finances at present are in great difficulty, but the Indian National Congress has still held a meeting and spoken of wanting to engage in socialism.


Zhou: At present the border is not tense. The United States also knows it. The United States is thinking to exploit the so-called tension and build a military base in India. Last year they carried out joint air force exercises.


We have spoken here of the Sino-Indian issue and will discuss other issues tomorrow.




Record of Premier Zhou Enlai and President Nkrumah’s Second Talks


Time: 13 January 1964, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Location: Same as above

Our side’s participants: Same as above

Ghanaian side’s participants: Same as above

Interpreter: Yi Chaotao

Recorders: Hu Dingyi, Zhou Mingji



Premier Zhou spoke regarding:


1. The disarmament issue and the tripartite nuclear test ban treaty;

2. Joint struggle of the four major forces against imperialism and for world peace.


The two sides also talked about such issues as African and Latin American nuclear-free zones, the Non-Aligned Conference, and Indian great-power chauvinism.


Nkrumah: Speaking directly, no need to return to yesterday’s discussion, I am speaking of the issue of disarmament. I am a novice. You know more about this issue. Our policy, for the ultimate realization of world peace, is for the entire world to discuss the issues of a ban on nuclear weapons and comprehensive and complete disarmament. I would like to hear your view with regard to the Moscow tripartite nuclear test ban treaty. I received your long letter. I have also written a reply expressing our position. Everybody wants lasting peace. Ghana, and Africa, can only develop when we have peace. It would be very bad if Africa were to turn into a nuclear weapons zone. Imperialism and colonialism want to use nuclear weapons to impose their will on us. For example, the Congo has 20 airports that serve as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Kamina is their military base. We Africans do not want to be involved in nuclear war. We hope to have a policy of struggle for peace. Here, perhaps, there is a contradiction. We want peace, but we cannot have peace with imperialism. We must struggle with imperialism and eliminate imperialism, this root cause of war. We must seek the best way to eliminate imperialism completely and realize a comprehensive peace. You have experience that could help us find a policy that we could put forward at the African Conference and the United Nations put forward. We want peaceful coexistence but cannot exist peacefully with imperialism. We do not regard the positions we have adopted, particularly on Africa and on the test ban treaty, as final goals. They cannot satisfy the desires of the people of the world. I am also concerned about this treaty being used as a further step to aggression. I have spoken simply on this and will now hear what you have to say.   


Premier Zhou: Your Excellency’s way of raising issues is very good. Many of your ways of viewing them and mine are the same. In the world there are indeed many contradictions requiring resolution. We want peaceful coexistence. Imperialism wants wars of aggression. If we leave in peaceful coexistence with it, they use the method of neocolonialism to control the newly emerging countries. Imperialism is the root cause of wars of aggression. We advocate complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. These all are contradictions. How are we to resolve these contradictions? If we want to realize peace, oppose wars of aggression, and have complete disarmament and the banning of nuclear weapons, all of this must come by way of struggle. One cannot beg for peace. One can only struggle until one at last is able to reach this goal. Only when we eliminate imperialism can we eliminate war’s root cause. But in going through struggle, we can progressively restrict imperialism’s launching of wars of aggression. If we were to beg, we would not only fail to realize our goal of peace, but doing so would also be unfavorable to disarmament. Rather, it would exacerbate arms expansion and war preparation and increase the danger of war. Rather than reduce the danger of nuclear war, it would increase it. It would not stop imperialism from expanding. Rather, it would encourage their expansion. This is a retreat, not an advance.


If we resolve contradictions in carrying out struggle, there are four forces capable of joining together to wage this struggle: 1) The socialist camp: If socialist countries want peace, they must oppose wars of aggression, oppose imperialism and the new and old colonialisms, support national liberation movements, and safeguard world peace; 2) The developing national liberation movements of Asia, Africa, and Latin America: The situation favors this struggle’s further development. In Southeast Asia, South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos all are struggling with the United States, constituting a great check against the United States. In Latin America, the Cuban Revolution pins down US imperialism. Under Cuba’s influence, Panama recently also has risen in struggle against the United States. There are also other Latin American countries that will follow. In Africa, the situation is also very good. Ghana was the first country of sub-Saharan Africa after Second World War to declare independence. At present there are more than 30 countries that have declared independence. Algeria’s seven-year armed struggle forced imperialism to retreat. Some settlers have also retreated. The buildings and enterprises that they left behind have been confiscated and nationalized by the government, which also confiscated their land. At present Algeria has started construction. Besides this, armed struggle in some countries of Black Africa is continuing to develop. African countries that are still not independent will all one day be independent.


Nkrumah:  Zanzibar’s progressive forces have come to power. I had not thought it would be this rapid.


Zhou: It is truly like wildfire.


Nkrumah: The struggle between France and Algeria resulted in France letting go of its Algerian burden, but Kenya’s situation is different. The white settlers there still occupy a great deal of the land. 


Zhou: British imperialism is more cunning but in the end is passive. France moves quickly, and relations between France and Algeria are relatively good.


Nkrumah:  France, too, is cunning but cannot stop revolution.


Zhou [sic; possibly Chen]: For example, there was the failure in Indochina.


Zhou:  The liberation movements in Asia, Africa, and Latin America are like wildfire, directly striking at imperialism, digging at the base of imperialism’s wall. Imperialist civilization depended on African slaves, the exploitation of Asia, and Latin America’s resources for its establishment.


Nkrumah: Without the enslavement and exploitation of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, there would have been no European civilization. European civilization of the twentieth century was only a medieval, dark period.


Zhou: Asia, Africa, and Latin America are the roots of European civilization. At present the three continents have awakened. They are digging at the base of imperialism’s wall. Imperialism is heading to its destruction. 3) The working class and working people in the imperialist countries are struggling for freedom, for better lives, and for socialism. However, this struggle is weaker than the anti-imperialist struggle in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. At present it is still not strong enough. If we dig at the base of imperialism’s wall, the struggle in Western Europe, North America, and Australasia will surge. In some reactionary countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, the people remain oppressed and the struggle continues. 4) Forces opposing wars of aggression and safeguard peace: These forces, very extensive, include all the peace-loving countries and peoples of the world.


Nkrumah: This includes capitalist countries and socialist countries.


Zhou: Among them are those who advocate struggle, and there are also some pacifists. They beg for peace, but one can push them forward to awareness. The facts can educate them. Pacifism cannot obtain peace. The four forces, united, are an inexhaustible force. Chairman Mao Zedong has said that, objectively, over 90 percent of the people of the world are participating or will participate in the anti-imperialist struggle. This includes workers, peasants, revolutionary intellectuals, the patriotic nationalist bourgeois class, anti-imperialists and pacifists, and such patriotic princes and aristocrats as Sihanouk. Simply speaking, the united four forces oppose imperialism's expansion and aggression, and they oppose nuclear war, subversion, interference, and assassination. At present there are many imperialisms, but the greatest is US imperialism. The struggle in the end will fall on its head. Most powerful is struggle that is jointly conducted. Your Excellency has mentioned the Asian-African-Latin American People’s Conference and has not ruled out an Asian-African-Latin American Summit Conference, Asian-African Summit Conference, and African Summit Conference, nor has ruled out East-West negotiations. Negotiation, too, is struggle. Imperialism slanders our country as opposed to negotiations and insistent on war. At a press conference in Cairo, a US reporter carried out a provocation, slandering our country as opposed to negotiations. I asked him if he had any document showing that China opposed negotiations. I asked him whether he knew or not that we had held with the United States 118 ambassador-level talks. He had nothing to say. Negotiations are for unmasking US imperialism’s plot of feigning peace and for acting in concert with mass struggle. Conducting isolations in isolation has no force. Let us take disarmament talks as an example. Like a merry-go-round, there is no progress. There are talks at the United Nations, then mention of disarmament at a conference. There are no results. One goes again to the United Nations for talks. It goes around and around like a merry-go-round. Talks should be joined together with the people’s struggle. The best way for disarmament and the banning of nuclear weapons is the convening of a global summit conference that I have proposed. If the United States and other great powers do not do it, the people struggle against them. Such a summit conference and mass struggle act in concert. Our general policy is that joint struggle, summit conferences, and negotiations should act in concert and should not be conducted in isolation. Let us discuss the details below.  


 After the Second World War, the first successful conference was the Bandung Conference. With the participation of 29 independent countries, the Conference adopted the Ten Principles. It was the first conference of the anti-imperialist movement. This conference did not have the participation of any imperialist countries and was not influenced by them, facilitating the anti-imperialist struggle of the peoples of Asia and Africa. Afterwards, some 30 countries gained independence. The Addis Ababa Conference expressed the wishes of the African people. It was a good start. No imperialist countries paid a visit. (Nkrumah said that there were imperialist agents who participated.) That conference’s influence on Africa’s solidarity and unity has been quite large. There could be more such conferences without imperialist participation.


Nkrumah: Imperialism tried but failed to influence it.


Zhou:  The two conferences had no imperialist countries directly participating.


Vice Premier Chen: The Non-Aligned Conference had the participation of representatives of imperialism.


Nkrumah:  The Belgrade Non-Aligned Conference at first was mistakenly believed to be truly non-aligned. Only after the conference was it understood that it was truly one of false alignment. In regard to another non-aligned conference, I already had a different view. In 1958 the All-African People’s Conference convened in Accra. Many persons, such as Lumumba, participated in the conference, which promoted the African liberation movement. This conference can be compared to that single spark.


Zhou:  I agree.


Zhou:  Another form is the result of the people’s armed struggle. Imperialism cannot fight and is forced to negotiate. Conducting bilateral or multilateral talks, as in the Korean War, is to fight on the one hand while talking on the other, and finally reach an agreement. The United States recognized that it was the wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time. Another example is that of the bilateral talks between Algeria and France that resulted in the Evian Accords. This agreement was less than satisfactory, but it did have its good points. Ben Bella gained his release. Algeria's current situation surpasses that of the Evian Accords. As examples of multilateral talks, there were the two Geneva Conferences. The first was in 1954. France could not win the war in Vietnam and was forced to hold the conference. The second conference was in 1961, when imperialism ran into a wall in Laos and was forced to hold it. Socialist, imperialist, and peaceful, neutral countries jointly guaranteed this region’s neutrality. Imperialism tried to wreck the results of the Geneva Conference, but in the end laid a foundation for this region’s neutrality. At present Sihanouk is asking that the United States guarantee Cambodian neutrality. Our country supports it. Britain and France endorse it. The United States does not.


In short, negotiations must be based on struggle. Through struggle we force imperialism to conduct negotiations. We should work hard towards this.  


Let me speak again of the contrary situation. Not relying on the people’s struggle, always begging for negotiations, solely relying on negotiations and begging for peace, such negotiations do not yield results. As with the disarmament negotiations, which we have already discussed, the Moscow tripartite test ban treaty may serve as a further example. We oppose it. This is not opposition only after the signing of the treaty. We originally supported the Soviet Union with regard to the position of a complete prohibition of nuclear weapon tests and the thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. In 1963 the Soviet Union changed their position to accept a partial test ban agreement. We are opposed to it. The treaty is a fraud. It is quite deceptive. Our opposition is resolute. Since the signing, the United States to this point has carried out multiple underground nuclear tests. The President of the United States, the Secretary of State, and the generals of the Pentagon have said in testimony that this treaty does not ban the underground tests, production, stockpiles, or exports to other countries of nuclear weapons. Underground nuclear tests can improve the quality and increase the variety of tactical nuclear weapons. US officials all believe that this treaty cannot prevent the threat of nuclear war. I believe that the tripartite treaty is for facilitating their monopoly on nuclear weapons and for deceiving others. This treaty has increased the threat of nuclear war. At present the facts have testified to it. Many countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America believe that even a slight reduction in nuclear testing is worth welcoming. They place their hope in the tripartite treaty and sign it. We completely understand this. We do not oppose it. Many countries when they signed it put forward their hope for the complete prohibition of nuclear weapon tests and the thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. We have no objection to their signing in starting from this sense. We see them fighting for a complete prohibition of nuclear weapon [tests] and the thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. There are some friends who believe it always good to advance forward and that we cannot in one stroke realize a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty and the thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. (Nkrumah said that Ghana has no such view.) I agree. In my letter written to the heads of state of the world, I put forward a proposal for taking a few steps forward, such as establishing some nuclear-free zones. I support the Addis Ababa Conference with regard to the resolution for the establishment of an African Nuclear Weapons Free Zone. But the nuclear powers should assume an obligation to guarantee it. Otherwise, the great powers may still use them. Therefore, Cuba has put forward the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Americas. The United States must first of all withdraw its military base from Guantanamo. The first few steps are favorable. The people oppose nuclear weapons. If not under imperialist control, one could have a public referendum. One can say so in theory, but in fact it is not possible. If the will of the people arises through an Asian-African-Latin American people’s conference and summit conference, it could be favorable to force imperialism to retreat. Imperialism knows that waging nuclear war is not easy. In a nuclear war, one would not only hit the other side but would destroy oneself. Industry, communications, and the labor market all would have to suffer losses. It would reduce their profits. Therefore, they would not easily take this risk. The Moscow tripartite treaty is for monopolizing nuclear weapons, carrying out nuclear blackmail, and threatening the people of the world. This is the origin of our opposition to this treaty.  If we do not stand up and speak out, there will be no one to speak out. Our position makes it easy for us to speak. Therefore, we bear a great responsibility. We are not in opposition to many countries signing it. We are only pointing out the truth and exposing the treaty’s monopolistic, threatening, and deceptive character.


Nkrumah: Our position and that of China are the same. Your view is entirely correct. I have written to the heads of state of African countries, proposing that African countries sign a pact to establish an African nuclear-weapons-free zone, remove bases from each country, and refrain from using nuclear weapons. You understand me. I understand you. The purpose of De Gaulle’s opposition to the Moscow treaty is to conduct nuclear tests in the Sahara. It is differs from China’s thinking. We must heighten our vigilance. We must be vigilant in the same way against the bourgeois peacemakers. They are afraid of the atom bomb. It is not for bringing imperialism and colonialism to an end. In Africa, Latin America, and Asia, our starting point and objective is the establishing of nuclear-weapon-free zones and the banning of nuclear weapons. This is my view regarding the Moscow treaty.


We demand a nuclear-weapon-free zone for Africa and the removal of all foreign military bases. At the Addis Ababa Conference, this proposal was put forward and adopted. Based on the experience of the previous Conference of Non-Aligned Countries, I am somewhat concerned with regard to convening a global summit conference. In that conference there would be some countries that call themselves non-aligned but would cause many difficulties. Tito and Nasser want to hold the Non-Aligned Conference. I am not interested in it. If a summit conference is to be held, we can hold a summit conference of socialist countries. Everyone has sincerity. I am thinking of holding an Asian-African-Latin American conference. Opposition to imperialism and opposition to colonialism could unite the four forces. It would be better than holding a global summit conference. At the Belgrade Conference, Cambodia wobbled on its position, which created not a little difficulty.  


Zhou: The change in environment has made Sihanouk change as well. At the time he was following the great powers and such men as Nehru and Nasser. Thailand and South Vietnam directly threatened Cambodia. Moreover, the United States would not permit him to take the path of peace and neutrality. India, too, did not support him. On the Sino-Indian border issue, Sihanouk took both sides. Wishing to mediate, he first went to India, and then went to China. India was cool towards his attitude and impolite. Why was this? It was because India mistakenly believes itself to be a great power and has the support of the United States and the Soviet Union. Therefore, India scorned Sihanouk. When he arrived in China, although we are a great power, we treated him as an equal. Chairman Mao and Chairman Liu both engaged in cordial talks with him.  Therefore he said that we were very good to him. At the time that Chairman Liu and Vice Premier Chen visited Cambodia, Chiang and the United States wanted to assassinate him. The United States does everything.  


Nkrumah: The United States engages in propaganda and subversion to force him to change. If you do not follow the United States, they will do you in. The Central Intelligence Agency carries out assassinations.


Chen:  In May last year, I went with Chairman Liu on a visit to Cambodia. Sihanouk said to me, “I previously had great respect for Nehru and asked for his guidance. At present I do not respect him, because he has treated me like a small child. Nehru has great-power chauvinism.”


(Nkrumah: Fortunately, Sihanouk discovered it.)


Zhou: The countries around India all fell this and reflect it. It is not only Pakistan, but Nepal, Ceylon, and Cambodia that all have this sense. Even Bhutan, its protectorate, also has this sense. We in China had experience of great-power chauvinism. It is dangerous. In its history, China had been a great-power chauvinist, but after 1840 the Chinese were oppressed by others. After passing through a long period of struggle, the people at last obtained liberation. We cannot commit errors of history. Others oppressed and bullied us. We cannot use the same methods to bully others. Not only will the socialist system not permit us to do so, there is the experience of history. At the same time we also must educate our later generations.


Nkrumah: Chauvinism is imperialism. Nehru speaks of socialism while 13 percent of Indian enterprises are privately owned and these capitalists and Western capitalists have close relations.


Zhou [sic; possibly Chen]: Our neighbor has been a lesson to us. We cannot have great-power chauvinism.


Zhou: Finally we have several issues to discuss. 1) An African Nuclear Weapons Free Zone: We support it. If we are to realize it, there are several conditions. Foreign bases must be removed, including bases in the Sahara. The nuclear powers must guarantee it. You should raise this type of proposal. In Latin America the establishing of a nuclear-free zone also should be like this. The ultimate objective is to carry out the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. It is possible first to take some steps in advance and in the future have one day a global summit conference. All countries would participate from a status of equality! It cannot be arranged by several great powers but would have relations with all countries.


Nkrumah: In order for the entire world to realize denuclearization, I held in Accra a conference to discuss this matter.


Zhou: Holding a people’s conference, a mass conference, and forces joined together are good methods. I endorse convening an Asian-African-Latin American people’s conference, with participants from each country’s political parties and the people. For such a conference, its anti-imperialist banner would stand out clearly. Like the All-African Peoples Conference, it would be a powerful conference.


Nkrumah:  There was the Accra Assembly, World without the Bomb. All the world’s progressives participated in this gathering. Even scientists who made bombs participated in this conference. Most of those participating in the conference came from the four forces. Other forces and other socialist countries also participated. The conference had very good results.


[Zhou] Holding a global people’s assembly against imperialism would be better. The holding of the Games of the New Emerging Forces on the initiative of President Sukarno is a good formulation. It includes newly emerging and independent countries, and it also includes the popular progressive forces of the imperialist countries. I expressed to Nasser my view regarding the Conference of Non-Aligned Countries. We supported the First Conference of Non-Aligned Countries. The conference adopted the concept of struggle and obtained positive results. In regard to holding again the Conference of Non-Aligned Countries, I have some doubt. The reason is because there are some countries that we may not be able to call non-aligned countries. Nasser replied in saying that he was optimistic and that the conference still holds high the banner of the independence movement, otherwise it would not be non-aligned. Another problem is with regard to the Sino-Indian border issue. He said that if India participated in the conference and China did not participate, the conference could not condemn one party. At most only one or two countries would mention it, and most countries would not.  


Nkrumah:  I would disagree.


Zhou:  China is an aligned country and will not participate in this conference. I am simply giving you this information. Sabry has also said to me that the Second Non-Aligned Conference will not be easy to hold. Some are for it and some are against it. My assessment is that for a time it will not take place. It requires time for preparation.


Chen: King Hassan II of Morocco compares non-alignment to making a single dish. Each person adds his own ingredients. Holding this type of conference, what issues can we discuss?


Zhou: At ten o’clock tomorrow morning we will speak privately.  




Third Talks of Premier Zhou Enlai and President Nkrumah


Time: 15 January 1964, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Location: Same as above

Our side’s participants: Same as above

Ghanaian side participants: Same as above

Interpreter and recorders: Same as above




1. Premier Zhou introduced China's experience of economic construction and our country's Eight Principles of Foreign Aid;

2. Premier Zhou's views and proposals regarding Ghana's construction plan and the issue of our aid to Ghana Seven-Year Plan;

3. Nkrumah introduced Ghana’s two Five-Year Plans and failures and said that he will send an investigation team as soon as possible to China to observe and study.


Nkrumah: Ben Bella sent here a special envoy, who brought with him a letter. Ben Bella has said that he is going to visit Ghana this spring. After that I am going to visit Algeria.


Zhou: The economic team has heard your introduction. After you made last year an announcement on some considerations concerning the Seven-Year Plan, our reporter made a report. We also did some research.


I will first speak simply of our country's situation. After establishing New China in 1949, our construction experience passed through three periods: a period of restoration in the first three years, the period of the First Five-Year Plan, and the period of the Second Five-Year Plan. In the three years the restoration was very rapid. As in Black Africa, at the time of liberation the people had a great passion for work. In three years we restored industry and agriculture to their original level and realized an optimistic financial integration, foreign trade control, bank nationalization, and foreign-invested enterprise nationalization. On this basis, we began to carry out the First Five-Year Plan. At the time we had no experience and adopted the Soviet Union’s way of construction. The Soviet Union also helped us to construct some important projects, but the contracts for these were mainly signed in Stalin’s time. The Second Five-Year Plan period basically completed, we laid industry’s initial foundation.


From a construction program copied from a foreign country, we discovered that it did not suit our requirements. In some cases the scale was too large. It was poorly integrated with China’s original small and medium enterprises. In some cases it did not conform to China’s actual situation. With the experience of the First Five-Year Plan, we integrated universal experience and China’s situation. In the period of the Second Five-Year Plan, we put forward a general line of building socialism in going all out, aiming high, and achieving greater, faster, better, and more economical results.


Our country’s general policy for construction is to take agriculture as the foundation and industry as the leading factor. Without agriculture as the foundation, one cannot accelerate industrialization and construction projects, strive to design and make one’s own equipment, reduce imports, and temper our own productivity and technical strength. This program continued until the end of 1962. In the major aspects we obtained results. In the period of the Second Five-Year Plan, our self-sufficiency rate in equipment increased from 55 percent in the period of the First Five-Year Plan to 85 percent and approached 90 percent. There were great increases in the quantity, variety, and quality of goods. This allowed us to establish our entire national economy and industrial and agricultural production, as well as culture, education, and scientific research on the basis of self-reliance. China is large and cannot depend on other countries. Even if the socialist countries cannot satisfy China’s needs, we have now laid the foundation for an independent system. On the other hand, China while building socialism has a duty to help other countries, to help those countries that have not yet obtained victory and whose economies are still not developed. If we cannot be self-sufficient in industrial equipment, we cannot provide effective help.


In the period of the Second Five-Year Plan, we ran into some issues. Natural disasters in the first and third years brought difficulty. However, depending on the people saving themselves and the state’s support, we have in these past two years overcome this difficulty. By the third year there emerged comprehensive improvement.  Second, the Soviet Union in 1960 withdrew its experts and tore up the contracts, causing enormous difficulties for us. Yesterday I did not discuss this matter with Your Excellency because the communique that our country issued has already referred to this matter. After the contracts were torn up, some construction projects came to a halt. In some cases only half the equipment had come. In others, only the major equipment had come. We made our own adjustments, overcame technical difficulties, and bought some equipment from foreign markets. In nearly three years, we implemented a policy of adjustment, consolidation and supplement, and improvement, achieving great results. In the past three years, we have overcome the difficulties. Not only this, but in this period of difficulty, we have made great achievements. We have also worked hard to pay off our debts (economic, trade, and military loans from the initial period of construction and the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea, mainly military loans). By 1963 we repaid over 6 billion renminbi and over 2 billion dollars. In 1965 we will be able to have it paid off. Third, we still do not have much experience. All China’s people wish to do things a bit fast, undertake too many projects, and too broadly, resulting in wastage in funds and manpower. In the course of construction there emerged errors and shortcomings. In addition, we adjusted the direction to correct the errors and shortcomings. In three years, in this respect, too, we obtained resultsI have spoken of this experience with many newly emerging friendly countries and hope that in their construction they do not commit such errors, or commit few of them.


Since our country’s founding 14 years ago, particularly in the latter half of this periodwe have progressively assumed the obligation of aiding newly emerging countries. We who have won first have an obligation to aid other newly independent countries. At the beginning we had little strength and could not supply modern equipment, materials or technology. Our foreign aid is no longer small. We provide aid to Asian and African countries, as well as such European socialist countries as Albania. Our country’s foreign aid has the following policy boundaries:


1. To regard foreign aid as mutually beneficial, to help others and to help ourselves, to improve the economic construction of the recipient country and to weaken imperialism is also favorable to China. This is equality.  


2.  Aid must respect the recipient country’s sovereignty, attach no conditions or privileges, and in the world create a category. International aid should be unconditional and thereby strike against imperialism’s aid with conditions.


3. Loans to friendly countries loans should be low-interest or interest-free loans and cannot charge high interest. Loans are not for profit but for sincere help. They also have to have some deadline but in the event of difficulty can be extended.  


4. Aid should be favorable to the recipient country’s self-reliance. It is for the country to develop production of its resources and not depend on others, other than for a period of transition. Let us take for an example the textile industry, in which there can be cotton imports in the transition period, but in the end there is a dependence on one’s own cotton production.


5. It is favorable to capital accumulation, increases income, and does not cause losses. For example, the United States helped Burma in the building of a textile factory. Burma must purchase cotton from the United States. As a result it has sustained losses. A textile factory built with our country’s aid uses locally produced cotton at a low cost and quickly recovers its costs. Heavy industry’s cost recovery will be a bit slower, but it will be a bit faster with light industry. Your Seven-Year Plan refers to the issues of accumulating capital and increasing revenues. (Nkrumah said: This point is very important.) (Vice Premier Chen: Last year I went with Premier Liu on a visit to Burma. I heard that Burma had already closed that textile factory built with the aid of the United States.)


6. We guarantee the quality of the equipment provided, and it is in line with international market prices. Should the equipment be poor, we guarantee its exchange. If not, it makes others bear a burden. If there is some situation with the equipment that we provide, we take responsibility for its exchange and we bear the loss.


7. We must export technology, without reservation, to help recipient countries learn technology. We must teach the technical personnel of recipient countries, and then our technicians can leave.  


8. We pay the salaries and the in-country wages of the experts that we send. Their treatment abroad is the same as the staff of the local country. It is either provided by the local government or deducted from the loan.


These are the several principles by which our country handles foreign aid. This type of relations of economic cooperation increases every year. We must without cease carry out inspections and improve our work. Particularly in the relatively distant countries, the situation is not too clear. I am familiar with this and understand it.


Now I will speak of issues in Ghana’s construction. I have taken note of the introduction you have all given yesterday. I would like to speak of the following several points of view: 1) Your Seven-Year Plan has the idea of several transition periods. Having at present simultaneously national debt, foreign investment, and private-capital enterprises, preparing progressively to increase economic nationalization, make it the leading factor, and carrying out complete nationalization is a good idea. The length of the transition periods will be determined in light of the situation. 2)  Enabling agriculture modernization and progressively realizing collectivization is a good path to follow. 3) The Seven-Year Plan will invest a total of 840 million pounds sterling and arrange for a variety of projects. (Nkrumah: At present it has increased to approximately one billion pounds sterling.)


Zhou:  Regarding the amount of investment, I cannot offer an opinion. In the investment proportions, industry and agriculture account for 14 percent; industry and transportation, 45 percent; culture, education, and public health, 20 percent; and other items, 20 percent. In regard to these proportions, I have the sense that this is immature. Agricultural investment in the First Seven-year Plan seems not enough. Based on our experience, agriculture is a bottleneck. If one is doing something poorly, it is necessary to go back. Stop with the industry and do agriculture again.


Ghana has favorable conditions for agriculture: a vast amount of arable land, abundant resources, and a favorable climate. You need to increase cereals, such as rice, corn, and wheat.  You have not a few varieties of roots and tubers. You need to grow cotton. Although Ghana is tropical, the people use not a little cloth. You can depend on planting cotton and developing chemical fibers for a solution. Based on our experiments, one can raised silkworms on cassava leaves, enabling one in this way to develop sericulture.


Nkrumah: This is the first that I have heard of this. I am very happy.


Zhou: You can also grow tobacco, sugarcane, and oilseed. You can even try growing tea. Mali’s attempt to grow tea and sugarcane has already succeeded. Here, too, you can certainly grow such crops. In this we can provide technical assistance. Our country’s climate in Guangdong and the one here are close.


We can make relatively more of a contribution to the development of a processing industry for the light industrial production of daily necessities and agricultural products. In the area of heavy industry, there are more countries able to help you, and their equipment is better than ours.


[Text on page 38 is indistinct and has been omitted.]


Zhou:  The joint communique has two issues that require resolution. First, your side supports in principle in regard to our proposal to convene a world government summit conference to discuss the issue of banning nuclear weapons. However, we believe that holding a summit conference would be the final step. We propose holding this meeting to discuss the issue of realizing the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. We cannot say that it would be the final step.


Nkrumah:  I am not satisfied in regard to the formulation of this final step. In the letter that I wrote to you, I expressed that convening a global summit conference would be difficult. Therefore, I have another idea. We can change the joint communique so that both sides consider it possible to convene the first global summit conference to sign an international convention on the development and use of nuclear weapons as well as the thorough destruction of existing nuclear weapons and their stockpiles. This would be beneficial.  


Zhou:  The second issue, with regard to the issue of the Asian-African Conference agenda, should not be solely about economic issues. There is also the issue of opposing imperialism and colonialism to obtain independence. We are not in a position here to set the agenda for the Asian-African Conference’s preparatory commission. We will soon convene a preparatory meeting and actively prepare for the Asian-African Conference.


Nkrumah: I agree that the Second Asian-African Conference is not only to discuss economic issues.


Nkrumah:  I personally, the Government of Ghana, and the people are grateful for your coming to visit. I represent the consensus of all in thinking that in the past we had visitors, but your careful analysis of our situation has made this visit the best for Ghana. Thank you for increasing the loans to us. Please convey my respects to Chairman Mao and wish him good health and a happy life.  


Zhou: Thank you for your appraisal. I am happy to have come here and increased our understanding regarding your country.  We regard Ghana as the first country in visiting Black Africa. Your country makes us know the spirit of the great African people who are demanding freedom and liberation. We take you as a model. On behalf of Chairman Mao and Chairman Liu, I present to you best regards and hope that henceforth our relations will become even closer.  


Copies: Politburo Standing Committee, Secretariat Comrades, [Dong] Biwu, He Long, [Xu] Xiangqian, [Nie] Rongzhen, Xie Jianying, [Bo] Yibo, Chen Boda, Fang Yi, Office of Confidential Secretaries, Office of Foreign Affairs (6), Central Propaganda Department (2), International Liaison Department (5),  Investigation Department (4), Military Intelligence Department (2), Third Department (2), Foreign Trade (2), Cultural Work Committee, Public Security, Headquarters (2), General Bureau for Economic Relations with Foreign Countries, Red Flag, [Wu] Lengxi, [Zhu] Muzhi, Mei Yi, Luo Jun


Chen, Liu, Zhang, Ji, Zeng, Meng, Liu, General Office (3), Foreign Policy Research Office, Soviet and East European Affairs Department, First Asian Affairs Department, Second Asian Affairs Department, Department of Western European Affairs, Department of American and Australian Affairs, Department of Asian and Africa Affairs (2), Department of International Organizations and Conferences, Information Department, Protocol Department, Liaison Group, Ambassador, 14 file copies


Total number of copies printed:  97

Received on 3 March 1964

Submitted for printing on 4 March 1964

General Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs   

Printed and distributed on 8 March 1964

Document Collection 151 




Over the course of three conversations, Zhou and Nkrumah discuss African regionalism, China's position at the United Nations and its relations with the United States, non-alignment, decolonization, developments in the Congo, and an African nuclear-weapons-free zone.

Document Information


PRC FMA 203-00623-02, 1-40. Translated by Stephen Mercado.


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