341. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in India1

1766. For Ambassador.

In conversation with Deputy Under Secretary Johnson December 17, Gyalo Thondup conveyed Dalai Lama’s request that USG re-examine its position and encourage India to take a political rather than a humanitarian position regarding Tibet. In this connection, Thondup said Dalai Lama’s near-term aim is to establish government-in-exile in India. Mr. Johnson commented that Dept would pass USG views to Thondup most likely through you.
We have re-examined our position and have concluded that from our point of view, there would be little to be gained from such a change in status of the Dalai Lama, that in fact there might be some losses in supporting any change his status, that in terms our current bilateral relations with India we are unenthusiastic about adding this sensitive item to agenda of things we are pressing GOI on, and that in any event, we do not wish to become involved in the Dalai Lama’s government-in-exile moves.
At your convenience, you are requested to call in Thondup and say you have been instructed to reply to his remarks to Deputy Under Secretary Johnson on December 17 last.
Your comments should be in following vein:
USG has given careful consideration to Dalai Lama’s views. We are particularly mindful of special attention which GOI has already devoted to problems of Tibetan refugees, when the needs of its own people are so very pressing. In these circumstances USG would be most reluctant to be the first to approach GOI, the host government, to ask it to adopt a new attitude toward Dalai Lama.
Beyond this, as a practical matter, we feel that Dalai Lama should weigh all aspects of question before making any move this direction. Trying to look at it not only from our own angle but also from that of Indians and of Tibetans themselves, we see very little if any practical advantage deriving to anyone from such a change in status of Dalai Lama. either in terms of his dealings with UN, with his friends, with GRC, or in terms Chicoms. If anything, we see some distinct disadvantage in terms of possible jeopardy such status would place existence of present Offices of Tibet in other countries which now formally recognize Communist China, e.g. UK, Switzerland, and possible establishment of future such offices.
In general you should assure Thondup that USG is determined to persevere in its efforts achieve a just and peaceful solution of Tibetan problem.2
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 30–2 TIBET. Confidential. Drafted by Arthur Dornheim of FE/ACA and Herbert G. Hagerty of NEA/SOA; cleared by NEA Deputy Assistant Secretary William J. Handley, Richard K. Stuart of INR/DDC, and in draft by Officer in Charge of Republic of China Affairs Norman W. Getsinger, Kimball of IO/UNP, and NEA/SOA Deputy Director David T. Schneider; cleared by U. Alexis Johnson. Repeated to USUN, Taipei, Hong Kong, and Kathmandu.
  2. Telegram 2614 from New Delhi, March 29, reported that on March 28 the Chargé had orally conveyed the Department’s response to Gyalo Thondup. (Ibid.)