793B.00/10–2650: Telegram

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

top secret

996. Totib. 1. ReDeptel 557, October 13,1 Calcutta informed Embassy October 4 that Konchung Lobsang Tsewang and Rimshi L. T. Surkhang of Tibet Trade Mission were arriving Delhi that afternoon and desired advice from Embassy re military aid to Tibet. Consulate advised them contact Embassy through Shakabpa.

2. Members of trade delegation called upon me unannounced twelve days later (October 16) and broached subject military aid. Since Embassy officer who has handled matter throughout was absent an appointment was made for delegation call again October 18, 11 a. m. At hour specified instead of delegation letter was received cancelling appointment because “of urgent works” and expressing hope to see me during their next visit here. Embassy had assumed from long delay in opening discussion of military aid by Trade Mission that Tibetans were being inhibited by course their discussions with Chinese or Government of India, or being directly advised by them to refrain from contacting Embassy and we therefore, considered it advisable to await developments rather than to take initiative in matter. We also expected Shakabpa sooner or later would call and bring us up to date or that favorable opportunity might open for sounding Government of India officials. These expectations completely upset, however, by yesterday’s departure (Embtel 985, October 25) Shakabpa mission with nothing more than telephone advice from them.2

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3. Embassy officer therefore, called on Menon, Foreign Secretary, this morning and in course of discussion latest developments Tibet raised subject military aid and asked what had transpired while Tibetans were in New Delhi. Menon said categorically Tibetan delegation had never raised question of additional military aid with Government of India. Embassy officer doubted his word but was in no position contradict. In any event Embassy impression from conversations with Government of India and United Kingdom High Commission officials as well as with Nepalese Ambassador is that Tibetans completely lost heart from attitude of Government of India encountered in New Delhi and that this attitude was largely responsible for fact that they failed pursue matter of military aid either with Government of India or the United States. Nepalese Ambassador yesterday informed us that Government of India seemed to be “washing its hands of Tibet” and said that Shakabpa had informed him that position of Tibet was hopeless unless aid could be obtained from Nepal or India. Nepalese Ambassador said that since India was doing nothing Nepal was also helpless.

4. Embassy can only assume in circumstances that question military aid for Tibet is therefore dead, although Calcutta has been requested endeavor contact Tibetan delegation there where they might feel freer talk about what happened in New Delhi.

  1. The text of this telegram read as follows: “Has Emb any recent info re intended Tibetan approach to GOI for additional mil aid?” (793B.5/10–1350)
  2. The text of telegram 985 read as follows:

    “Member Shakabpa mission telephoned Embassy yesterday to state mission had received instructions from Lhasa to leave for Peiping immediately. All members mission are flying Calcutta today and will spend few days Calcutta and Kalimpong making preparations proceed Hong Kong by air.

    “Press reports state no difficulties anticipated over Hong Kong entry permits.” (693.93B/10–2550)