893.00 Tibet/12–149: Telegram

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

1484. Embtel 1451, November 23.

Embassy informed by official UK office that High. Commissioner expects call on Foreign Secretary Menon32 as soon as appointment can be arranged to inform GoI of Tibetan request to UK Government for assistance in case invasion Tibet by Chinese Communists.
At same time High Commissioner will also give UK suggestions re policy which GoI might profitably adopt in light possibility of invasion Tibet by Chinese Communists. According UK official, GoI requested UK comments on what policy GoI should follow. In general UK High Commissioner will advise Menon along same lines as tentative British policy described Embtel 1451. British believe GoI should follow pre-independence Indian policy of recognizing Chinese suzerainty but supporting Tibetan autonomy, and particularly that GoI should not take any steps which could be considered open defiance to Chinese Communists such as recognition independence Tibet or sending brigade troops to Lhasa. It also believes, however, GoI should not let it be known India has no intention opposing Chinese Communist invasion. For example, should Chinese cross Tibetan borders, GoI might decide send troops to Indo-Tibetan border if it thought at time such action would deter Communists from continuing to Lhasa.
UK official deprecated address [of] Governor General33 in Shillong November 28 in which latter reportedly said Chinese threatened Tibet and Burma was divided, but that Assamese should not fear because GoI would ensure their defense. UK official thought that if Indian leaders continued taking this line Chinese Communists would feel they had nothing fear from India if they decided invade Tibet.
Bevin has sent interim reply to Tibetan request for aid, merely acknowledging receipt and stating request would receive “sympathetic consideration” of UK Government. UK official said that while UK hoped it could stiffen Tibetan resistance to oppose any Communist invasion, it did not wish to give Tibet the idea that UK would send troops to Tibet to prevent entry Communist armies as UK had no troops to spare for such an operation.

Sent Department 1484. Department pass London.

  1. K. P. S. Menon, Foreign Secretary in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.
  2. Chakravarti Rajagopalachari.