693.0031 Tibet/7–2648: Telegram

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

1086. ReEmbtel 1362, July 26. In discussion today Chi Minister re Tibetan Trade Mission, Dept emphasized following points:

USGovt no intention of acting in a manner to call into question China’s de jure sovereignty over Tibet.
Dept now faced with practical problem caused by presence in US of Tibetan Mission which did not come at behest of US but which must be received with courtesy due high-ranking representatives of far distant countries.
ChiGovt should appreciate that the fact that it exerts no de facto authority over Tibet is root cause of situation.
Dept does not desire offend sensibilities of either China or Tibet, but is of opinion that Tibetans could rightly be affronted if not received by President. They come bearing photograph from Dalai Lama and letters from Lama and Regent. (For Emb’s information in 1943 President Roosevelt sent letter15 and valuable presents to Dalai Lama via US Army officers Dolan and Tolstoy. These and other American travelers to Tibet have been appropriately received.)
Press showing considerable interest in Tibetans’ visit, and if it should become known that their intended call on President was frustrated by ChiGovt, believe that press would make most of situation to China’s disadvantage. Such story might also be raised in light of self-determination which is popular concept among American people.
President has expressed personal interest in greeting Tibetans.

Chi Minister reiterated FonMin’s objections to Presidential call and pointed out that call might become precedent for manner in which Mission would be received in England. He also stated Tibetans had been dissuaded from going abroad while in China and intimated [Page 768] “British authorities” in Hong Kong had changed their minds. He appeared to appreciate, however, that tempest in tea pot which might be stirred up by failure Tibetans to see President might be damaging US good will toward China.

When asked whether Chinese ingenuity could suggest solution, Chi Minister averred that failing Chinese acquiescence US might act unilaterally. For its part Dept intimated that request by ChiEmb for reception of Tibetans would be preferable procedure. For Emb’s info, Dept does not believe Tibetans would be prepared to be accompanied by ChiAmb.

Chi Minister assured Dept that ChiEmb would again press Nanking for favorable reply and suggested Dept take parallel action.

Emb instructed bring foregoing six points to attention FonOff. In doing so Emb should emphasize USGovt does not wish to add a mite to Chinese current preoccupations, but that we are confronted with practical problem which discourtesy will not solve.

  1. Dated July 3, 1942, but not delivered until January 1943; Foreign Relations, 1942, China, p. 625.