Conversations with Zhou Enlai: New Additions to the Collection

Zhou Enlai (left) during his tour of Egypt, with Gamal Abdel Nasser, December 1963

Transcripts of Zhou Enlai’s meetings with Ho Chi Minh, Gamal Abdel Nasser, and Kim Il Sung among new items added to DigitalArchive.org

In recent years, the Cold War International History Project has worked with an international group of scholars to obtain and translate records from the Chinese Foreign Ministry Archives in Beijing, a fickle repository that is sometimes open,  and sometimes not. A huge cache of such documents is accessible on the Chinese Foreign Policy Database and the Wilson Center’s Digital Archive.

Thanks to the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, these efforts have renewed energy. Over the next 12 months, the Cold War Project will translate and publish dozens, if not hundreds, of declassified documents from the Foreign Ministry Archives.

We’ll be focusing resources on the conversations that China’s Premier, Zhou Enlai, had with foreign counterparts in the 1950s and 1960s.

According to data derived from official chronologies (nianpu), Zhou, often the face of China’s foreign relations, interacted with foreign diplomats, heads of state, cultural groups, and other delegations on at least 2,200 occasions from 1949 through his death in 1976.  (In all likelihood, Zhou actually met with foreigners a great many more times.)

A collection on the Digital Archive provides the transcripts of conversation from a small but growing number of these encounters. Over the past month, we’ve added the following 11 records from the Foreign Ministry Archives:

…and there’s lots more to come.

Interested readers are encouraged to contact the Cold War International History Project for more details about this initiative, or even to contribute additional records of conversation between Zhou Enlai and his foreign counterparts (from either Chinese archives or other international repositories). 

Charles Kraus is a Program Associate/Program Lead with the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. He recently completed his Ph.D. at The George Washington University.
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