693.0031 Tibet/1–548

The Chargé in India ( Donovan ) to the Secretary of State

No. 8

Subject: Tibetan Trade Mission: Second Call at Embassy

Sir: With reference to my secret despatch No. 459 dated December 30, 1947,2 on the subject “Tibetan Trade Mission: Call at Embassy” and to my airgram No. A–6, January 3, 1948,3 I have the honor to report that in accordance with my suggestion members of the Mission today made a second call at the Embassy to discuss the results of their talks with the Government of India. Those present were Tsepon Shakabpa, leader; Depon Surkhang; Ratna, Nepalese interpreter; Mr. Weil;4 and myself.

Shakabpa, with Ratna interpreting, said the Government of India had told him that it would allot enough dollars to cover the Mission’s travel expenses but would not, at the present time, allot dollars for the purchase of gold and silver in the United States. He said he had been told that if, when he reached the United States, he found gold and silver could be purchased, the Government of India would consider the possibility of making a further allotment. When asked whether this also applied to other possible purchases, he replied in the affirmative.

When asked about the Mission’s travel plans Shakabpa said they expected to leave Delhi on January 7 and to spend approximately three weeks visiting various cities in India, including Agra and Cawnpore where they planned to inspect industrial establishments, after which they would leave Calcutta by air for Shanghai making stops (including Hongkong) on the way.

It was suggested to Tsepon Shakabpa that he inform the Consulate General in Calcutta of the exact date of their intended arrival in Shanghai in order that the Consulate General at Calcutta might inform the Consulate General at Shanghai and the Embassy at Nanking.

[Page 756]

Tsepon Shakabpa was also informed that it would be possible for the Consulate General at Shanghai or the Embassy at Nanking to inform the Department of State of the date of the Mission’s expected arrival in the United States and that the Department of State might request the Department of Commerce’s field representative in San Francisco—assuming this is their port of arrival—to get in touch with the Mission.

When the conversation was turned to the subject of foreign missions in Delhi, Depon Surkhang said they had called at the Chinese Embassy and at the Office of the High Commissioner of the United Kingdom. He did not make any comment on their conversations at these two offices.

In the course of the interview Tsepon Shakabpa exhibited the travel documents issued to the members of the Mission by the Government at Lhasa. He did not indicate whether the Chinese Embassy in Delhi had endeavored to persuade them to accept Chinese passports, and it remains to be seen whether the Nanking Government will succeed in this respect.

As has been indicated in previous communications, this Embassy hopes that the Consulate General at Shanghai, the Embassy at Nanking, and the Department will find it possible to provide a friendly reception for the members of the Mission and to assist them in any way which may seem appropriate.

Respectfully yours,

Howard Donovan
  1. Ibid., p. 604.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Thomas Eliot Weil, Second Secretary of Embassy in India and Consul at New Delhi.