The Assistant Secretary of State (Berle) to the Director of the Office of Strategic Services (Donovan)

My Dear General Donovan: The receipt is acknowledged of your secret letter of April 12, 1943, addressed to Mr. Hornbeck, stating that you have received from two of your representatives in Lhasa a cable relaying a request by the National Assembly and the Tibetan Cabinet that you obtain priorities so that they may purchase three fully equipped portable wireless stations to set up a trans-Tibet network; that these stations will be 100 watts each and the equipment requested can be purchased for a total cost of $4,500; and that you would like to provide this equipment to the Tibetan Government as a gift from the United States.

Tibet is, as you know, regarded by the Chinese as a dependency of China, and the Government of the United States has never taken action in contravention or disregard of that Chinese view. The susceptibilities of the Chinese Government are of importance to this country and to the United Nations in connection with the war effort as a whole. It therefore is desirable, in any relations which we may have with the Tibetan authorities or in any action which we may take vis-à-vis them, to avoid gratuitously or inadvertently giving offense to the Chinese Government. In the light of those facts, it is believed that effort should be made to ascertain whether supplying of this equipment by this Government to the Tibetan Government as a contribution to the war effort would or would not be likely to offend Chinese susceptibilities. It therefore is suggested that this matter be referred through the War Department to General Stilwell. If, then, it is ascertained that the proposed action appears to be unobjectionable from the point of view referred to above, this Department would suggest that the project under reference be regarded thereafter as a military matter and that decision be made on that basis.

Sincerely yours,

Adolf A. Berle, Jr.