337. Memorandum for the Special Group1


  • Review of Tibetan Operations
Summary—The CIA Tibetan Activity consists of political action, propaganda, and paramilitary activity. The purpose of the program at this stage is to keep the political concept of an autonomous Tibet alive within Tibet and among foreign nations, principally India, and to build a capability for resistance against possible political developments inside Communist China.
Problem—To explain Agency expenditures in support of the Tibetan program.

Background and Objectives—At a 13 December 1963 meeting “The Special Group approved the continuation of CIA controlled Tibetan Operations [1 line of source text not declassified].” Previous operations had gone to support isolated Tibetan resistance groups within Tibet and to the creation of a paramilitary force on the Nepal/Tibet border of approximately 2,000 men, 800 of whom were armed by [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] airdrop in January 1961. In 1963, as a result of the [2 lines of source text not declassified] and as a result of the cited Special Group meeting, the Agency began a more broadly based political program with the exiled Tibetans. This included bringing 133 Tibetans to the United States for training in political, propaganda and paramilitary techniques; continuing the support subsidy to the Dalai Lama’s entourage at Dharmsala, India; continuing support to the Nepal based Tibetan guerrillas; the reassignment of a part of the unarmed guerrillas to India for further training; and the [6 lines of source text not declassified]. Operational plans call for the establishment of approximately 20 singleton resident agents in Tibet [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] two road watch teams in Tibet to report possible Chinese Communist build-ups, and six border watch communications teams [1 line of source text not declassified]. The [Page 732] [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] will stay in direct touch with Dharmsala and will conduct political correspondence with Tibetan refugee groups [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] to create an increased Tibetan national political consciousness among these refugees. The [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] was established in October 1963, and the communications center serving it, [1 line of source text not declassified] is presently being built with a completion date scheduled in February 1964.

One of the most serious problems facing the Tibetans is a lack of trained officials equipped with linguistic and administrative abilities. The Agency is undertaking the education of some 20 selected Tibetan junior officers to meet this need. A United States advisory committee composed of prominent United States citizens has been established to sponsor the education of these Tibetans. Cornell University has tentatively agreed to provide facilities for their education.

The Agency is supporting the establishment of Tibet Houses in [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] Geneva, and New York City. The Tibet Houses are intended to serve as unofficial representation for the Dalai Lama to maintain the concept of a separate Tibetan political identity. The Tibet House in New York City will work closely with Tibetan supporters in the United Nations, particularly the Malayan, Irish, and Thai delegations.

The cost of the Tibetan Program for FY 1964 can be summarized in approximate figures as follows:

Support of 2100 Tibetan guerrillas based in Nepal—$ 500,000
Subsidy to the Dalai Lama—$ 180,000
[1 line of source text not declassified] (equipment, transportation, installation, and operator training costs)—$ 225,000
Expenses of covert training site in Colorado—$ 400,000
Tibet Houses in New York, Geneva, and [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] ( 1/2 year )—$ 75,000
Black air transportation of Tibetan trainees from Colorado to India—$ 185,000
Miscellaneous (operating expenses of [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] equipment and supplies to reconnaissance teams, caching program, air resupply—not overflights, preparation stages for agent network in Tibet, agent salaries, etc.)—$ 125,000
Educational program for 20 selected junior Tibetan officers— $ 45,000

Total—$ 1,735,000

Coordination—This Tibetan operational program has been coordinated with the Department of State for a number of years. Specific operational activity has been coordinated with the Department of Defense and the [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] as necessary.
Recommendations—Barring sudden developments inside Communist China and Tibet, expenses for this long-range, politically-oriented [Page 733] Tibet program are not expected to exceed this amount in the foreseeable future. In fact, there are a number of probable economics, [1–1/2 lines of source text not declassified] for example. Nonetheless, this program will continue to require fairly large expenditures over a long period of time to keep the possibility of a non-Communist government alive to the Tibetan people. We recommend continuance of this program.
  1. Source: Department of State, INR Historical Files, Special Group Files, S.G. 112, February 20, 1964. Secret; Eyes Only. The source text bears no drafting information. Memoranda for the record by Peter Jessup of February 14 and 24 state that the paper was considered at a Special Group meeting on February 13 and approved by the Special Group on February 20. (Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files, Job 80–B01285A, Box 1, 303 Committee Meetings (1964))