693.0031 Tibet/7–1448: Telegram

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

1284. Vice Minister Foreign Affairs has informally discussed with Embassy officer Chinese Govt attitude on Tibetan Trade Mission which arrived San Francisco July 9. Foreign Office obviously much disturbed and irritated over this question.

Vice Minister made following points:

Delegation carries Tibetan documents which Chinese Govt does not recognize as valid. Tibetan autonomy does not extend to issuance of travel documents outside Tibet. American Consul General Hong Kong issued visas on the documents. Foreign Office would appreciate [Page 761] knowing whether these visas were issued upon instructions of Dept or whether in ignorance that they are not recognized by Chinese Govt.
Chinese Embassy Washington has been instructed to inform Dept that Chinese Govt will refuse to recognize any arrangement for agreements made by Tibetan in the US unless handled thru Chinese Embassy.
On assumption that visas were issued with approval of Dept, Foreign Office would like statement from Dept as to whether this action constitutes a change in American policy concerning recognition of Chinese sovereignty over Tibet. Foreign Office fears British may have influenced USA to alter its views.

Vice Minister is obviously disturbed because Tibetans having been dissuaded in Nanking from proceeding to USA then went to Hong Kong where they secured American visas because Chinese Foreign Affairs Commissioner in Hong Kong was not consulted and because according to press reports Mission was met at San Francisco by British Consul and then proceeded to give press interview that has attracted considerable attention in China.

Vice Minister pointed out that question of sovereignty over Tibet is an exceedingly touchy one in China today, and that in view of publicity there is bound to be unpleasant interpellation of Foreign Office in Legislative Yuan next week. Vice Minister added Foreign Office had adopted this informal method of approach in the hope that the Dept explanation would be sufficiently satisfactory avoid necessity of a formal protest. He was told that the question will be referred to Washington, but that as far as this Embassy was aware there most certainly would appear to be no reason whatsoever to believe issuance of visas indicated any change in American policy on question sovereignty over Tibet.

Sent Dept 1284, repeated Hong Kong 57.