893.00 Tibet/7–249: Telegram

The Ambassador in India (Henderson) to the Secretary of State

741. For Butterworth14 and McGhee.15

We again venture suggest in light present developments China and South Asia reconsideration our policy re Tibet (see Embdesp 302, April 12 and Moscow’s A–577, June 4).
Our recommendation is that: (a) We endeavor arrange send mission to Tibet to arrive Lhasa not later than September 1; (b) such mission be headed by prominent American experienced foreign relations and with him be experienced member Foreign Service who if it could be worked out with Tibetan Government could be left with small staff in Lhasa for indefinite period; (c) head of mission should bring certain gifts but try effect understanding gifts to be dispensed with in future relationships.
Mission should be on relatively moderate scale and given minimum publicity.
Advisable arrange for communications with outside world for mission itself as well for personnel left behind. In view slowness and difficulty communications with Tibet, no time should be lost if visit to be made this year. Weather conditions would be extremely trying after October 15.
Our recommendations are based on following considerations: (a) Developments in Tibet following victory Communism China proper may have considerable significance for large sections non-Chinese Asia; it would seem advantageous therefore have our own observers in Lhasa; (b) we should not in our opinion continue ignore country and people which likely play more important role Asian affairs future; (c) our observers if of proper type might succeed creating friendly feelings among Tibetans for us which at some time might be extremely useful; (d) if we are [to] make an effort maintain informal relations with Tibet, now would seem be appropriate time when it is obviously useless attempt approach Tibetan Government [Page 1077]through nonfunctioning Chinese Nationalist Government and when we have no relations any other government. It seems [to] us that it would be much more difficult make approach directly and informally after we have established relations with government in effective control China proper.
We realize other factors may make approach to Tibet this time inadvisable; furthermore Tibet may not desire visit. Nevertheless, we submit our recommendations since we believe that now is time try.
We believe any approach should be discussed in advance informally and confidentially with Gol which because its monopoly of speedy communications and its influence on Tibet’s present foreign relations is in position so to delay negotiations that no visit could be made this year. We have no idea what India’s attitude would be. We would be more likely get assistance from Gol if in discussing matter we could tell who chief proposed mission would be.

Pouched Moscow, Calcutta.

  1. W. Walton Butterworth, Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs.
  2. George C. McGhee, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East and African Affairs.