793B.00/1–1251: Telegram

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

top secret

1691. Deptel 1047, January 6.1 In reply Department’s request re numbered subjects.

1. We have no first hand information re conditions Tibet. Recent Embtels contain reports from Indian press (Embtel 1648, January 82 [Page 1507] for example) which may be exaggerated or distorted and from GOI (Embtel 1658, January 9)3 which may be wishfully warped to fit GOI inclination to do nothing which might offend China.

Before Dalai Lama4 left Lhasa Tibetan Foreign Secretary, according press, indicated “Tibet is united as one man behind Dalai Lama who has taken over full powers and there is no possibility fifth column operating Tibet proper; we have appealed world for peaceful intervention in clear case unprovoked aggression but should no help be forthcoming we are determined fight for our independence; if necessary we are even prepared remove government and Dalai Lama other parts to continue fight. Tibet is large, difficult country re terrain and as we have men, ammunition we can continue warfare indefinitely.”

Despite this brave statement we are inclined believe Tibetan spirit resistance has been steadily ebbing. Apparent decision Dalai Lama remain at least temporarily Yatung however somewhat encouraging. Even this late date if GOI, US and UN would show greater interest Tibet and indicated readiness assist, Tibetan will to resist might be revived to extent at least. GOI, however, appears to have abandoned hope, and in view this fact and its anxiety not to offend Peking it would not be easy to prevail on it to extend further assistance or to permit armed shipments through India for Tibet.

Unless there is an immediate future indication that Tibet might receive moral as well as substantial military aid from abroad Dalai Lama might depart from country and with his departure all effective resistance would probably collapse.

We doubt Dalai Lama would have any effectiveness as center of support for internal resistance if in India and if Chinese Communists control Tibetan Government and country. In addition, GOI would probably not permit him to direct resistance movement from India.

2. Difficult this end make recommendations reaction UN. Suggest: first step would be invitation Tibetan delegation proceed immediately Lake Success to present case and to Peking to present its side; second step would be hearing both sides of case; third might be presentation resolution by US or some other friendly UN member in case India still unwilling take lead calling for cease-fire and negotiations to be completed by definite date. Appointment suitable person as commissioner of good offices who should proceed Tibet or elsewhere to assist parties and who should report to UN at specified intervals.

Peking would probably refuse appear to defend case on various [Page 1508] grounds including interference in internal affairs China and would undoubtedly reject UN next move asking for cease-fire. Nevertheless, we believe hearing should be held, cease-fire should be asked for and in event Peking ignores these actions, passage resolution condemning Communist China for using force in endeavoring deprive Tibet long established autonomy. Whether it would be possible go further this point would depend on attitude other members UN, particularly India and UK.

3. We have suggested foregoing comparatively mild steps in hope they would appeal to UN, particularly India which we know does not desire come to direct issue with Peking. At same time in absence effective force by UN or its members they may serve dramatize China’s aggressive attitude towards Tibet in world forum.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Air mail letter in accordance first paragraph reference telegram sent Tibetan delegation Kalimpong January 11.

Assume separate message mentioned second paragraph refers Deptel 1015, January 3 on which action reported Embtel 1622, January 5.5

Department pass London; sent Department 1691 repeated information London 98.

  1. For the text of telegram 1047, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. vi, p. 618.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Telegram 1658 reported that Indian Foreign Secretary K. P. S. Menon had told Henderson that, according to the Indian representative in Lhasa, the Tibetan spirit of resistance seemed dead and the Tibetans were merely trying to postpone the arrival of the Chinese Communists through negotiations (693.93B/1–951).
  4. The fourteenth Dalai Lama, spiritual and temporal ruler of Tibet.
  5. Telegram 1015 to New Delhi stated that the Tibetan Delegation to the United Nations should be advised that application for visas for temporary entry into the United States could be made to the American Consulate General at Calcutta which had appropriate instructions (793B.00/12–2650). Telegram 1622 from New Delhi reported that the Embassy had sent an airmail letter to that effect to the Tibetan Delegation (793B.00/1–551).