Memorandum by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs (Atcheson)

Reference the suggestion made by the Office of Strategic Services to ship to Tibet a radio transmitter which the Cabinet Ministers of the Tibetan Government have requested through the two representatives of the Office of Strategic Services who are now in that country.

After careful consideration of this matter in so far as it may affect our relations with China, we are of the opinion that to supply a radio transmitting set to the Tibetans would be politically embarrassing and cause irritation and offense to the Chinese for the following reasons:

In November 1941 the Chinese requested that we allocate under Lend-Lease and ship to them a radio transmitter. This request we have not complied with because of shipping and air transport limitations.
The question of supplying China with the equipment she desires is a particularly delicate one at the present time. It is almost certain that to supply the Tibetans with a radio transmitter when we have [Page 625] failed to meet a similar request made by the Chinese over a year ago would give offense to the Chinese.
The Chinese Government claims suzerainty over Tibet. Therefore, in all probability, the Chinese Government would not welcome the introduction into Tibet of such a potent facility as a radio transmitter, particularly as the Chinese are not likely to have any actual control over the transmitter or the material broadcasted.
The Chinese probably have no objection to and may even welcome the dispatch of American “visitors” to Tibet from time to time but it is hardly conceivable that they would look with favor upon our supplying the Tibetans with any equipment which might be used against them in any way.

We therefore recommend, from the point of view of our relations with China, that these considerations be brought to the attention of the Office of Strategic Services; that that agency be urged to drop the proposal to ship a radio transmitter to the Tibetans and that some other gift be substituted therefor.

G[eorge] A[tcheson], Jr.