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83. Letter From Secretary of State Rusk to the Dalai Lama0

Your Holiness: I thank you on behalf of President Kennedy and myself for your letters, which Mr. Gyalo Thondup delivered when he called at the Department of State.1

It has been heartening to have new proof, in the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the resolution concerning Tibet,2 that most of the countries of the world join in the condemnation of the brutality and oppression which the Chinese Communists impose on the Tibetan people, and in the conviction that the principle of self-determination should apply to the people of Tibet.

The Chinese Communist authorities have publicly denounced the General Assembly’s adoption of the resolution concerning Tibet. They have taken the position that “no foreign countries or international organizations, the United Nations included, have any right to meddle” in any aspect of the situation in Tibet. Their belligerence even toward countries which they had previously described as friendly has been evident in recent months. In these circumstances it will clearly not be easy to find effective means of halting the Chinese Communists’ actions against the Tibetan people.

We are nevertheless determined to continue our efforts to help achieve a just and peaceful solution of this tragic problem. We are also hopeful that provisions may be expanded and improved for the assistance of those Tibetans who have had to take refuge outside their homeland. Your counsel, and that of your representatives, is always most welcome in these matters.

Respectfully yours,

Dean Rusk3
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 793B.00/1-1762. Drafted by Thomas W. Ainsworth of the Mainland China desk.
  2. A letter of October 17 from the Dalai Lama to President Kennedy is filed with a January 17 covering memorandum from Battle to Bundy. (Ibid.) The letter to Rusk has not been found. The Dalai Lama’s brother, Gyalo Thondup, delivered the letters when he met with U. Alexis Johnson on December 18; a memorandum of that conversation is ibid., 793B.00/12-1861.
  3. Resolution 1723 (XVI) was adopted by the General Assembly on December 20 by a vote of 56 (including the United States) to 11, with 29 abstentions. The text is printed in American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1961, pp. 1641-1642.
  4. Printed from a copy that indicates Rusk signed the original.