693.0031 Tibet/2–2448

The Ambassador in China (Stuart) to the Secretary of State

No. 87

The Ambassador has the honor to refer to Despatch No. 8, January 5, 1948, entitled “Tibetan Trade Mission: Second Call at Embassy”, from the American Embassy in New Delhi, a copy of which was sent to this Embassy and which concerned itself with the visit of the Tibetan Trade Mission to India and its plans for visiting China and the United States. The Mission is now in China and has been in Nanking for a period of about 21 days. After visits to Shanghai and Hangchow which it is now making, the Mission will return to Nanking and prepare to fly to Japan if permitted to enter that country. From Japan the Mission plans to fly to the United States.

During its first stay in Nanking the Mission called upon the American Ambassador; a memorandum of the conversation which took place at that time is enclosed.7 Subsequent to a visit to the Chancery in connection with the issuance of visas to the Mission covering its visit to the United States, the Mission despatched a letter to the Embassy discussing its purpose, naming the members of the Mission and formally requesting the assistance of the Embassy in arranging permission for the Mission to travel to the United States. A copy of this letter is enclosed. There is also enclosed a copy of a release of the Chinese Government Information Office entitled “Tibet Seeks to Increase Trade with China Proper” contained in the Gio Daily Bulletin No. 214, February 7, 1948.

As will be apparent from a perusal of the first two enclosures, the Tibetans will attempt to lift Tibetan trade from the low level to which it has slumped in recent years and to establish direct trade relations with the countries with which Tibet has conducted its largest export-import trade. The Mission emphasized in conversations with the Ambassador and Embassy officers that it was especially anxious to reinstitute trade with Japan—whence it formerly obtained silks and other valuable textile products—and with the United States. At present the Mission seems to consider a type of barter trade with such countries entirely feasible, despite the displeasure with which the United States Government looks upon such trade and the lack of established channels or procedures through which a barter type of trade—especially with the United States—could be arranged. The Tibetans especially mentioned that they wished to use dollars obtained in return for exports to the United States to purchase American [Page 758] products, such as machinery, for importation into Tibet. The Mission did not seem prepared to face the problem which might arise should Tibet have an unfavorable balance of trade with the United States. It was mentioned in the course of one discussion that there was no inflation in Tibet, a fact which, should it prove true, would seem to make the financial aspect of Tibetan–United States trade somewhat less confused.

The displeasure of the Tibetans at any suggestion of Chinese or Indian sovereignty over the territory was quite evident in the discussions which they held with Embassy officers. The Tibetans seemed to resent both the physical, geographical and economic domination of Tibet by India and the attempted political domination of the area by China.

  1. Enclosures not printed.