OPINION

December 19, 1959

ZHOU ENLAI – NEHRU: London, 18 – Prime Minister Zhou Enlai of Communist China has sent a letter to Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru suggesting that the two countries begin talks on December 26 to settle their border differences. The dispute is seen not only by the West but also by the East as very serious and a threat to peace in Asia. In Geneva, a Russian diplomat expressed his government’s concern, stating that Russia had been put in a difficult position by Peking. In a report from the Chinese capital, the Chinese prime minister sent a 3,000-word letter to Nehru in response to an Indian declaration last Sunday. Zhou Enlai had said he was willing to meet with Nehru and to begin talks either in China or in Rangoon, Burma, and suggested that the Indians withdraw their forces from 10 locations along the disputed borders. He had also accused India of being unreasonable in not accepting China’s views. Nehru had rejected this proposal and said any summit meeting needed careful preparation. Zhou Enlai now proposes that each side withdraws troops to 20 kilometers on either side of the border. He welcomes India’s proposal to suspend patrols and said he had issued relevant orders to the Chinese troops.