Based at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., CWIHP disseminates new information and perspectives on the history of the Cold War.
They have just published a e-Dossier on the "Zhou Enlai and China’s Response to the Korean War", edited by Charles Kraus.
According to Kraus:
The translated documents included in this collection provide new details of Chinese aid to North Korea in the summer of 1950. Prior to the entry of Chinese troops in October 1950, Zhou Enlai, for example, coordinated the supply of materials to North Korea via Andong (Dandong) and other border cities. According to Zhou’s papers, North Korea even requested that it be allowed to build storehouses in China for the depositing of material aid from fraternal countries. Kim Il Sung also requested that he be allowed to temporarily stow away North Korean factory equipment inside of China so as to avoid the loss of this equipment to American bombs.What is interesting for India (and Tibet) is a telegram from Zhou Enlai to Wu Xiuquan [Vice Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs] and Qiao Guanhua [head of the Asia Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs] sent 13 December 1950.
It shows Indian diplomats (B.N. Rau and K.M. Panikkar) eager to play a role of peace-makers in the Korean conflict. This is hardly a few weeks after Tibet, their neighbour and friend, was invaded and when the Tibet issue was still on the table of the UN General Assembly.
The Dalai Lama's appeal to the UN started by these words: "The attention of the world is riveted on Korea where aggression is being resisted by an international force. Similar happenings in remote Tibet are passing without notice."
The main reason why Nehru's did not defend Tibet at the UN was because he wanted to get involved in the Korean issue and did not want to yield his role as ‘neutral’ mediator.
The fact is that in his Beijing office, Panikkar was spending most of his time on the Korean problem; he was hardly concerned by the invasion of Tibet.
On the eve of the debate on Tibet in the General Committee of the United Nations, Nehru cabled Rau, India’s Representative at the UN: "We are entirely in favour of deferring consideration of Tibet question because of various developments, more particularly arrival of Peking representatives [a Chinese ambassador arrived in Delhi]. It is of vital importance that every effort be made to lessen war tension, more especially in Far East where situation is dangerous. We understand that U.K. and U.S.A. are also exploring methods of dealing with Korean situation so as to remove Chinese fears and relieve tension."
Tibet was sacrificed for the sake of peace in Asia.
India was so keen to see Communist China becoming part of the United Nations!
On November 20, in New York, Vijayalaksmi Pandit (Nehru's Sister) had announced : “India’s view is that communist China should be given a seat in the UN”.
She said that she thought that “if this had been done earlier, some of the present troubles in Korea might have been avoided.”
Mrs Pandit also expressed “the Indian Government’s disquiet about the Communist military invasion of Tibet which might make it more difficult for the Peking Government to qualify as a ‘peace loving’ nation within the meaning of the Charter.”
Again and again, oblivious of India’s interests and security threats underlined by Sardar Patel, the Indian diplomats worried about one thing only: Communist China's entry into the UN.
The Government of India regretted the invasion of Tibet by China, chiefly because it would not help Chinese admission to the UN.
By the way, as already mentioned on this blog, the Tibet issue is still pending in the United Nations.
This telegram of Zhou to his assistant confirms that Delhi was more interested to play a role in the Korea than save the borders of India.
A telegram from Zhou Enlai addressed to Wu Xiuquan and Qiao Guanhua
Wu [Xiuquan] [and] Qiao [Guanhua]:
Have received your telegram from 16:00, [December] 11. It is right for you to postpone your meeting with the Indian representative. But when Rau asks to meet again, [you] should still see him once. Yesterday I received [Kavalam Madhava] Panikkar in Beijing and told him that we always insist on solving the North Korea issue peacefully and now are more willing to make great efforts to quickly end the military operations the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army and the North Korea People’s Army were compelled to take to resist the American invasion. It is good that the Indian government is making great efforts for peace; however, it has not been entrusted [to do so] by either America or the UN. Now what counts the most to end the war quickly is the USA. We are eager to know the whole opinion of the USA and the UN regarding conditions for an armistice. The Indian ambassador can make great efforts in this regard.
As to the 38th Parallel issue, it has long since been violated by the American invading armies and MacArthur, and is no longer in existence. Panikkar expressed agreement to this fact right away. I also pointed out that, at that time, many of the thirteen countries followed the USA, especially the Philippines, whose armies followed the USA in invading [the North]. Now the Philippines has also proposed an armistice, but their true intention is very clear. The content of the above conversation, and especially the issue of the 38th parallel no longer being in existence, can be conveyed to Rau when you see him.
Regarding the thirteen countries’ experimental proposal, if they come to inquire about it, you can tell them that an armistice should not be a fraud, but should be able to truly end the Korean War. Thus, it must require the USA to state clearly its opinion on the armistice conditions and see whether it wants to continue the war and expand the war or end the war. So if the gentlemen representatives from all countries hope to truly end the Korean War, [they] should call for what the Soviet representative has proposed: that all foreign armies withdraw from North Korea, instead of anything else.
Zhou Enlai[Source: Jianguo yilai Zhou Enlai wengao (Zhou Enlai’s Manuscripts since the Founding of the PRC), vol. 3, Zhonggong zhongyang wenxian yanjiushi (CPC Central Historical Documents Research Office) and Zhongyang dang'anguan (Central Archives), eds., (Beijing: Zhongyang wenxian chubanshe, 2008), pp.635-636. Translated by Jingxia Yang and Douglas Stiffler.]
13 December