693.0031 Tibet/7–2248

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Chinese Affairs (Freeman)

Mr. Tsui called at my request today for the purpose of discussing informally a request of the Tibetan Trade Mission for an appointment with the President which had been submitted through the Assistant Secretary of Commerce and referred to this Department.

I explained to Mr. Tsui that the Tibetans had brought with them a photograph of the Dalai Lama which had been inscribed to President Truman and that it was their desire to present the photograph to the President personally. I stated that the Department did not, of course, wish to facilitate arrangements for an appointment with the President without the prior knowledge and acquiescence of the [Page 765] Chinese Embassy. On the other hand, I explained, we did not wish to refuse the request without thorough consideration, as the Tibetans had been extremely courteous and helpful to American Army officers traveling in Tibet during the war and as such an appointment would undoubtedly contribute to the success of the Mission.

Mr. Tsui replied that the Chinese Embassy would perceive no objection whatsoever to the Tibetans having an appointment with the President—that, as a matter of fact, the Embassy would like to facilitate such an appointment—but that the question was simply one of procedure. This question could be resolved, Mr. Tsui remarked, if the request for an appointment were made by the Embassy in behalf of the Mission rather than by the Mission directly. He stated in this connection that Ambassador Koo was entertaining the members of the Mission at dinner tonight and that a favorable opportunity might be presented to broach the subject to the Mission in a discreet fashion. I suggested that it might be just as well for the Embassy to place the matter on the basis of “assisting” the Tibetans in arranging for an appointment with the President, rather than giving the impression that it was mandatory that any such request be made through Embassy channels, to which Mr. Tsui agreed.

With regard to the question of whether Ambassador Koo should accompany the Mission in the event that an appointment was arranged with the President, I stated that I did not perceive the necessity therefor as long as the request for an appointment had come from the Embassy but that, in any event, the matter would appear to be one for decision between the Ambassador and the members of the Mission.

Mr. Tsui assured me that he would discuss the matter with the Ambassador immediately on his return and would inform me the following day of the results of their discussions with the Tibetans.