693.0031 Tibet/7–3148

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

Minister Tan called this morning by appointment to inform me of the latest developments regarding the possibility of the Tibetan Trade Mission’s calling on the President.

He first reviewed his conversation on this subject with Mr. Butterworth and Mr. Freeman on July 28 and then said that Ambassador Koo, after receiving from Minister Tan an account of this conversation, had reported the matter to the Chinese Foreign Office. He continued that Ambassador Koo had recommended a formula for the settlement of this problem, which had subsequently received the Foreign Office’s approval. This formula provided that the Chinese Ambassador would address a letter to Mr. Woodward, Chief of Protocol, asking that an appointment be made for Ambassador Koo to present the members of the Tibetan Trade Mission to the President. It would be expected that Ambassador Koo would himself, if approval were given to the request, inform the Mission of the arrangements and that he would accompany them to call upon the President. Minister Tan pointed out that it was understood that the Mission had in its possession two letters for delivery to the President, one signed by the Dalai Lama and one by the Tibetan Regent. He explained that the Chinese Embassy did not know the contents of the letters but hoped [Page 769] that they merely contained the usual felicitous phrases and made no reference to political matters. He stressed that the Chinese Government could not “countenance” the introduction of political matters in such letters. Minister Tan asked that any written replies that might be made by the President to these letters be sent to the Chinese Ambassador, or to the American Embassy in Nanking, for transmission to the Tibetan authorities through the Chinese Government. Minister Tan further asked that, in the event that the Tibetan Trade Mission declined to see the President under Chinese auspices, permission not be granted them for an appointment with the President. After handing me the letter addressed by Ambassador Koo to Mr. Woodward16 on this subject, he concluded his remarks with the statement that the Chinese Government was taking action along the above-described lines out of deference to the wishes of the United States Government.

I informed Minister Tan that, pursuant to his request, I would bring the foregoing to Mr. Butterworth’s attention.

  1. Infra.