280. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (Green) and the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Sisco) to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson)1


  • CIA Program of Support to the Dalai Lama, Tibetan Operations, and the Tibetan
  • Forces in Nepal

In the attached memorandum2 CIA reports on its Tibetan activities and asks 40 Committee approval to continue the program, in a reduced form, for FY 73. The program, begun in 1959, was last considered by the Committee in March 1971. Expenditures amounted to $557,000 in FY 72; $437,000 is budgeted for FY 73.

During the past year CIA has: provided the usual subsidy for the Dalai Lama and his entourage; continued to maintain, at a reduced level, a Tibetan contingency force in Nepal; and supported press activities; a [less than 1 line of source text not declassified], administrative training, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] and unilateral intelligence activities, and Tibetan offices [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] New York. Support for a Tibetan office in Geneva ceased in 1970. During FY 1972 expenditures for the Tibetan contingency force were further reduced in accordance with a plan for the gradual phasing out of the force approved by the Committee in 1969. Maintenance of the force will come to an end in FY 74; current funds provide for the training and resettlement of approximately 500 men per year of the original 1800 man force.

For FY 73 CIA proposes to continue the subsidy to the Dalai Lama [dollar amount not declassified], again reduce support for the contingency force [dollar amount not declassified], and fund intelligence activities and the New York office [dollar amount not declassified]. Support would cease for press activities, a political party, administrative training, and the Tibetan office [less than 1 line of source text not declassified].

At the Department’s instance, CIA has agreed to put the Tibetans on notice that support for the New York office will be phased out over the next three years, beginning with the current fiscal year. The New York [Page 1153] office is the only part of the program which the Peoples Republic of China might assume to be US rather than Indian sponsored. This will leave a program which supports the Dalai Lama’s efforts to preserve Tibetan cultural, ethnic, and religious identity, but without involving the US in aggressive propaganda activities or political action.

There is little political risk in the program. [3 lines of source text not declassified] International refugee programs provide an additional shield.


We recommend that you support continuation of the Tibetan program for FY 73 at a projected cost of $437,000.3

  1. Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Tibet, 1969–1976. Secret; Eyes Only. Sent through McAfee (INR). Concurred in by Van Hollen and Schneider (NEA) and Hummel and Jenkins (EA).
  2. Attached but not printed is a 10-page report, September 6, which is similar in format to Document 278.
  3. A handwritten notation on another copy of the September 6 CIA report reads: “Approved by the 40 Committee on 5 October 1972.” (National Security Council, Nixon Intelligence Files, Subject Files, Tibet)