Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of Chinese Affairs (Sprouse)
Mr. Tsui11 telephoned this afternoon to inform me that his Embassy had received a telegram from the Chinese Foreign Office in regard to the Tibetan Trade Mission which has just arrived in the United States. He said that Mr. George Yeh, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, had discussed this matter with the American Embassy at Nanking on July 12 and had emphasized four points of importance from the Chinese viewpoint:
- The Tibetan authorities have no authority to deal with other nations as an independent country.
- The Tibetan Trade Mission is in possession of Tibetan travel documents rather than Chinese passports, which they should bear. The Chairman of the Mission, Shakabpa, has no authority to negotiate directly with the United States Government.
- The United States Consul at Hong Kong in issuing visas to the Mission did not notify the Chinese Special Commissioner at Hong Kong.
- The United States Government has always recognized Chinese sovereignty over Tibet and the Chinese Government is amazed at the acceptance by the American Consul General at Hong Kong of Tibetan travel documents. The Chinese Government wishes to know whether the American Consul General at Hong Kong issued the visas on his own initiative or whether he was authorized to do so by the United [Page 760] States Government. If he was authorized by the United States Government to issue these visas, the Chinese Government would wish to be informed whether the United States Government has changed its “usual attitude toward Tibet”
Mr. Tsui went on to say that it was interesting to note that the British Consulate General at San Francisco had made arrangements to assist the Tibetan Trade Mission at that city. He further stated that the Chinese would do everything possible to facilitate the visit of the Mission but that the Chinese Government wished to emphasize its desire that the United States Government deal with the Mission as a part of China and not as representatives of an independent state. He explained that this did not mean that the Chinese Government did not wish the United States Government to deal directly with them but that it was important that they not be dealt with as representatives of an independent nation.
Mr. Tsui explained that the American Embassy at Nanking would inform the Department of the foregoing by telegraph but that he wished to convey to me the substance of the Chinese view on this subject.
I informed Mr. Tsui that we had learned of the arrival of the Tibetan Trade Mission at San Francisco and that we had been informed by the Department reception center there that the Mission expected to leave shortly by train en route to Washington via Chicago. Mr. Tsui said that he had been similarly informed and that the Chinese Embassy had instructed its Consul at Chicago to meet the Tibetans and to do everything he could to be of assistance. I told Mr. Tsui that the Department of Commerce was telegraphing its office at Chicago to assist the Mission during its visit to that city.
- Tsui Tswen-ling, Counselor of the Chinese Embassy.↩