373. Memorandum Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency0


1. Background. The international legal status of Tibet has been a question for decades. China has made sporadic invasions into Tibet and, in recent history, has made constant attempts to affirm her right of suzerainty over Tibet, which she claims to have inherited from the Ching Dynasty.

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The Chinese Communist attitude towards Tibet is that Tibet is politically a part of China as a result of historic military conquest.
Tibet, on the other hand, has sought complete independence, although in 1951 the Tibetans and the Dalai Lama under duress signed an agreement recognizing Chinese Communist suzerainty over Tibet.
The British and the United States have long recognized Chinese suzerainty over Tibet but only on the understanding that Tibet was to be regarded as autonomous.
Since 1948, the Government of India has appeared to give tacit acceptance to the suzerainty status of Tibet. This was reaffirmed in 1951 through the joint declaration with Peking which announced mutual agreement to the five principles of peaceful coexistence publicized as the “Panchshila.”
The Tibetans, particularly the Khambas, Goloks and other tribes of East Tibet, are a fierce, brave and warlike people. Battle in defense of their religion and the Dalai Lama is looked upon as a means of achieving merit towards their next reincarnation.
The greater part of the terrain in Tibet, and especially in the centers of active resistance in the east, is exceedingly rugged, with few established lines of communications. To add to the problems of the Chinese Communists, the area is unable to support a large occupation force and almost all supplies must be brought in overland or by air.

[9 paragraphs (3 pages of source text) not declassified]

a. In May 1956 the Dalai Lama visited India as a guest of the Indian Government upon the occasion of the 2500th anniversary of the Buddhist religion. During this visit the Dalai Lama appealed to the Indian government for support of the anti-Communist resistance in his country, but this appeal was rejected. [31 lines of source text not declassified]

[10 paragraphs (5 pages of source text) not declassified]

8. Later intelligence from [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] Tibet—the last message was received today, April 25—reports that the Tibetan resistance in the South has been heavily engaged and decimated, and is tragically short of food and ammunition.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Intelligence Matters (9). Secret; Eyes Only. Filed with a covering memorandum of April 27 from CIA Executive Officer J.S. Earman to Goodpaster, which notes that the memorandum was being sent pursuant to an April 25 conversation between Goodpaster and Allen Dulles. The source text bears no drafting information.