Tibetan Appeal to the United Nations

Text of the Cablegram from Kashag (Tibetan Cabinet) to the United Nations

The attention of the world is riveted on Korea where aggression is being resisted by
an international force. Similar happenings in remote Tibet are passing without notice.
It is in the belief that aggression will not go unchecked and freedom unprotected in
any part of the world that we have assumed the responsibility of reporting to the
United Nations Organization, through you, recent happenings in the border area of

As you are aware, the problem of Tibet has taken on alarming proportions in recent
times. This problem is not of Tibet's own making but is largely the outcome of
unthwarted Chinese ambition to bring weaker nations on its periphery under its active
domination. Tibetans have for long lived a cloistered life in their mountain fastnesses,
remote and aloof from the rest of the world, except in so far as His Holiness the Dalai
Lama, as the acknowledged head of the Buddhist Church, confers benediction and
receives homage from followers in many countries.

In the years preceding 1912, there were indeed close friendly relations of a personal
nature between the Emperor of China and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The
connection was essentially born of belief in a common faith and may correctly be
described as the relationship between a spiritual guide and his lay followers; it had no
political implications. As a people devoted to the tenets of Buddhism, Tibetans had
long eschewed the art of warfare, practised peace and tolerance, and for the defence
of their country relied on its geographical configuration and on non-involvement in the
affairs of other nations. There were times when Tibet sought but seldom received the
protection of the Chinese Emperor. The Chinese, however, in their natural urge for
expansion, have wholly misconstrued the significance of the ties of friendship and
interdependence that existed between China and Tibet as between neighbours. To
them China was suzerain and Tibet a vassal State. It is this which first aroused
legitimate apprehension In the mind of Tibet regarding China's designs on its
independent status.

The conduct of the Chinese during their expedition of 1910 completed the rupture
between tile two countries. In 1911-1912, Tibet, under the Thirteenth Dalai Lama,
declared its complete independence-even Nepal simultaneously broke away from
allegiance to China-while the Chinese revolution of 1911, which dethroned the last
Manchurian Emperor, snapped the last of the sentimental and religious bonds that
Tibet had with China. Tibet thereafter depended entirely on its isolation, its faith in the
wisdom of the Lord Buddha, and occasionally on the support of the British in India for
its protection. No doubt in these circumstances the latter could also claim suzerainty
over Tibet. Tibet, notwithstanding Anglo-Chinese influence from time to time,
maintained its separate existence, in justification of which it may be pointed out that it
has been able to keep peace and order within the country and remain at peace with
the world. It continued to maintain neighbourly good will and friendship with the
people of China, but never acceded to the Chinese claim of suzerainty in 1914.

It was British persuasion which led Tibet to sign a treaty which superimposed on it
the nominal (non-interfering) suzerainty of China and by which China was accorded
the right to maintain a mission in Lhasa, though it was strictly forbidden to meddle in
the internal affairs of Tibet. Apart from that fact, even the nominal suzerainty which
Tibet conceded to China is not enforceable because of the non-signature of the
treaty of 1914 by the Chinese. It will be seen that Tibet maintained independent
relations with other neighbouring Countries, such as India and Nepal, Furthermore,
despite friendly British overtures, it did not compromise its position by throwing in its
forces in the Second World War on the aide of China. Thus it asserted and
maintained its complete independence. The treaty of 1914 still guides relations
between Tibet and India, and China not being a party to it may he taken to have
renounced the benefits that would have otherwise accrued to it from the treaty.
Tibet's independence thereby reassumed de jure Status.

The slender tie that Tibet maintained with China after the 1911 revolution became
less justifiable when China underwent a further revolution and turned Into a fullfledged
Communist State. There can be no kinship or sympathy between such
divergent creeds as those espoused by China and Tibet. Foreseeing future
complications, the Tibetan Government broke off diplomatic relations with China and
made a Chinese representative in Lhasa depart from Tibet in July, 1949. Since then,
Tibet has not even maintained foreign relations with the Chinese Government and
people. It desires to live apart, uncontaminated by the germ of a highly materialistic
creed, but China is bent on not allowing Tibet to live in peace. Since the
establishment of the People's Republic of China, the Chinese have hurled threats of
liberating Tibet and have used devious methods to intimidate and undermine the
Government of Tibet. Tibet recognizes that it is in no position to resist. It is thus that it
agreed to negotiate on friendly terms with the Chinese Government.

It is unfortunate that the Tibetan mission to China was unable to leave India through
no fault of its own, but for want of British visas, which were required for transit
through Hong Kong. At the kind intervention of the Government of India, the Chinese
People's Republic condescended to allow the Tibetan mission to have preliminary
negotiations with the Chinese Ambassador to India, who arrived in New Delhi only in
September. While these negotiations were proceeding in Delhi, Chinese troops,
without warning or provocation, crossed the Dl Chu river, which has for long been the
boundary of Tibetan territory, at a number of places on October 7, 1950. In quick
succession, places of strategic importance such as Demar, Kamto, Tunga, Tshame,
Rimochegotyu, Yakalo, and Markham, fell to the Chinese. Tibetan frontier garrisons
in Kham, which were maintained not with any aggressive design, but as a nominal
protective measure, were all wiped out. Communist troops converged in great force
from five directions on Chamdo, the capital of Kham, which fell soon alter. Nothing is
known of the fate of a minister of the Tibetan Government posted there.

Little is known in the outside world of this sneak invasion. Long after the invasion had
taken place, China announced to the world that it had asked its armies to march into
Tibet. This unwarranted act of aggression has not only disturbed the peace of Tibet,
but it is also in complete disregard of a solemn assurance given by China to the
Government of India, and it has created a grave situation in Tibet and may eventually
deprive Tibet of its long-cherished independence. We can assure you, Mr. Secretary-
General, that Tibet will not go down without a fight, though there is little hope that a
nation dedicated to peace will be able to resist the brutal effort of men trained to war,
but we understand that the United Nations has decided to stop aggression whenever
it takes place.

The armed invasion of Tibet for the incorporation of Tibet in Communist China
through sheer physical force is a clear case of aggression. As long as the people of
Tibet are compelled by force to become a part of China against their will and
Consent, the present invasion of Tibet will be the grossest instance of the violation of
the weak by the strong. We therefore appeal through you to the nations of the world
to Intercede in our behalf and restrain Chinese aggression.

The problem it simple. The Chinese claim Tibet as a part of China. Tibetans feel that
racially, culturally, and geographically they are far apart from the Chinese. If the
Chinese find the reactions of the Tibetans to their unnatural claim not acceptable,
there are other civilised methods by which they could ascertain the views of the
people of Tibet; or, should the issue be surely juridical, they are open to seek redress
in an international court of law. The conquest of Tibet by China will only enlarge the
area of conflict and increase the threat to the independence and stability of other
Asian countries.

We Ministers, with the approval of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, entrust the problem
of Tibet in this emergency to the ultimate decision of the United Nations, hoping that
the conscience of the world will not allow the disruption of our State by methods
reminiscent of the jungle.

The Kashag (Cabinet) and National Assembly of Tibet, Tibetan delegation, Shakabpa
House, Kalimpong.

Dated Lhasa, the twenty-seventh day of the ninth Tibetan month of The Iron Tiger
Year (November 7, 1950).
Source: UN Doc. A/1549