The Ambassador in India (Grady) to the Secretary of State
[Received December 8.]
Subject: Particulars Regarding Members of Tibetan Trade Mission.
Sir: With reference to the Department’s secret instruction No. 46 dated October 28, 1947, and to the Embassy’s despatch No. 142 dated August 21, 1947, on the subject “Additional Background on Tibetan Trade Mission; Questions Regarding Policy Toward Tibet”, I have the honor to state that further particulars regarding the Mission have been obtained from Mr. A. J. Hopkinson, former political officer in Sikkim, now Government of India representative in that State, who has been visiting Delhi during the last few days.
Mr. Hopkinson says that the Mission, which he believes has now reached Kalimpong, may visit China before going to the United States and the United Kingdom. According to Mr. Hopkinson members of the mission may feel that if they visit China after visiting the other two countries, the Chinese will endeavor to learn all details of their activities, whereas if they make a courtesy visit to Nanking first they will be able to return to Tibet directly from the United States or United Kingdom and avoid cross-examination in Nanking. Mr. Hopkinson feels that members of the Mission probably have no idea of the complications they will encounter if they endeavor to purchase silver or gold in the United States, not the least of which would be the problem of obtaining dollars—presumably in India. Mr. Hopkinson is also of the opinion that despite their acumen as traders, members of the mission may prove to be “babes in the wood” when they come face to face with exchange and banking regulations and import and export restrictions.
Mr. Hopkinson has confirmed information previously given an officer [Page 603] of the Embassy to the effect that the mission appears to be primarily the brainchild of Rimshi Pangda Tsang who is understood to be the richest trader in Tibet. Hopkinson says Pangda Tsang told him about a year and a half ago that he wanted to visit the United States and the United Kingdom, and it seems likely that the trade mission is an outgrowth of this desire. As was indicated in the Embassy’s despatch under reference it is obvious that if the Tibetan group visits Washington, its negotiations—official or unofficial—cannot have any appreciable effect on our foreign trade. In the interest of friendly relations, however, the Embassy hopes the Department will find it possible to insure a courteous reception, and to take such steps as may be feasible to prevent members of the mission from falling into the hands of unscrupulous persons.
Mr. Hopkinson has furnished the following information on the four members of the mission:
[Here follows information on each of the four members of the mission.]
The Embassy has noted the Department’s reminder that if members of the Mission carry only Tibetan travel documents visas should be placed on Form 257. The Embassy understands that at present members of the mission are provided only with travel documents issued by the Tibetan authorities. It is possible, however, that if the mission visits Nanking before visiting the United States the Chinese may persuade its members to accept Chinese passports.
Counselor of Embassy