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The Asia Society at present. This is a series of interviews with experts on Asian affairs designed to strengthen our understanding of Asian people and ideas. Your most on this transcribed series is the noted author on the ward winning broadcaster Ligue Graham. Here now is Mrs. Graham. I realized that Tibet is doesn't seem to be part of the world scene anymore because it still exists. But when I looked it up in a book which I usually referred to when preparing for these Asian Society programs program that we are doing about Tibet I found that it was somehow not listed in this book and it is the world atlas of geography. So I wondered well where is Tibet and what has become of it and what can we do. And is there anything we should do. Is it important. Our guest on this program knows a great deal about Tibet. Among other things he is a legal adviser to the Dalai Lama. He's the honorable interstate Gross who was from 49 to 53. Our U.S. deputy representative to the United Nations. Before that Mr. Gross was
an assistant secretary of state in Washington under the Truman administration. He is an attorney and he is vice president of the Asia Society. Mr. Gross aside from the fact that you do represent the Dalai Lama who is the proper head of that did you have an interest in Tibet before that. Yes I did. That's Graham at that really started to become intense back in 1950 when they present Dalai Lama the 14th Dalai Lama. Yes. Formally acceded to the throne at the same time as the Chinese Communist invaded Eastern Tibet and he brought the case his complaint to the United Nations and I happen to be our representative in the United Nations at that time and spoke in the general assembly and we have to bet. But we can come to that I suppose later in our discussion but since then I have been
extremely concerned with the problems of the Tibet Tibet and people will amass a ghost would you sketch in just give us a little picture alphabet. Well you say that Tibet has dropped out of sight. Actually of course in formal terms that is so I was speaking pretty quite legal mystically Tibet never was recognized by most states in the world in modern times as an independent state. However it is located. Across the northern frontier of India and the border states of Bhutto sit cam and Naipaul which is sort of a buffer zone between India and China Tibet is stretched a long distance across across the northern front here of India and up to the northwest corner of
Kashmir. And so that it really is the major frontier between China and India and it is the route of invasion or attack from China to this to the continent sub continent of India. If that should take place again as it did some years ago would you bet it has rather difficult terrain hasn't it. Very mountainous and rocky. So it's unsuitable as an avenue of attack. Well it passes the historic passes through Tibet not the sort of traditional invasion routes from the Han people that is the Chinese empire in the old days down onto the subcontinent of India. It is of course the top of the world as it's frequently called the Himalayas. It's the. Often thought of because of novels that have been written and so
forth as Shangri-La they weld the isolated world beyond the mountains actually up to quite recently the Tibetan people and rulers have regarded themselves as sort of in a state of splendid isolation. And this is one of the problems which a cow for the reasons which account for the relative or the relative ignorance of most people throughout the world about Tibet. And you're quite right in saying that it is not in the first priority if everybody's attention to settle you know the associations with it rather romantic exotic literary and somewhat unreal but nevertheless political more than many of us know. And that's one of the things that we'd appreciate hearing from you Ambassador gloves. Does Did that make a big difference in the history of the people you know. Will it make a deal.
And yes and I think your question about its relative importance deserves to be answered and that's a quite clearly and sharply. It is important for a variety of reasons. Cultural human strategic political from a cultural standpoint of course it is one of the great setters of art and of religion in the world. The form of Buddhism which is culminates in the Dalai Lama as the spiritual leader not only of the Buddhists. Tibet which of course is the prevailing religion. But Buddhists everywhere look to the Dalai Lama as their spiritual leader the pope of Buddhism so to speak culturally and religiously therefore it is one of the world's great ancient cultures. It is unfortunately being not only subjugated but really under the most intense and cruel pressure by the Chinese communists who are by destruction of
monasteries and by destruction of old works of art and archives. Really doing a great deal to destroy the culture. An addition of that it is important from a human point of view it is one of the areas of the world which on my basis of my dealing with hundreds of Tibetans in the last year as I will say that they are one of the great people of the world they as mountain people they are very democratic they're full of the sense of dignity of equality that all they have left under a traditional authoritarian regime for centuries. Nevertheless as individuals they now wish to get away from that. They they feel as many mountain people do throughout the world quite close to God. And from the strategic point of view Tibet is very important because as I said before it is an avenue you either forgot or it will between China and the Indian subcontinent.
It sounds remote to us but if we lived in the capital of New Delhi the capital of India New Delhi we would realize that it's about as this same jet flight distance as it is from New York to Washington which is not a very very long distance. Jet air strips are being felt by the Chinese on the southern areas. Of Tibet and these make the situation strategically very uncomfortable for the Indians and politically they have appealed to the United Nations as a state desire I was a country desiring independence and self-determination complaining about the deprivation of their human rights. The United Nations has more than once adopted resolutions in the General Assembly by a very large majority is calling on the Chinese communist government to cease their violation of human rights in Tibet. So on the real political and international sense
they are are very much a concern of the international community has them. The Chinese People's Republic of China has not ever given any sort of answers to why it is in Tibet. And you know when it will get out while it has it has given the stock answers which are quite reminiscent of the kind of reasons that the Russians assigned for going into Czechoslovakia not long ago and that is that they stated that they had been invited him which of course was was a fabrication. The Chinese communists in 1950 1950 quite shortly after the domination by the communists of the Asian mainland. Said that they had been invited into Tibet by the pancetta Lama while the pancetta Lama as a high ranking member of the ruling church. But just tragic. He was 12 years
old at the time and this was obviously a thin excuse but in any event the Chinese far from indicating when they intend to leave. I have actually colonized they have sent they have been over a million Chinese that have been moved in to Tibet. But aside from anything that China may or may not say why do you think China moved in and began this colonization. Question of the land it's not a story. Well historically historically China. Has claimed rights over Tibet. This has been one of the longstanding areas of dispute between the Tibetan people and the Han people the Chinese people the Chinese have sought to either to dominate Tibet when they have had a strong central government and tried our central imperial court or they have tried to accomplish the same objective by subverting their
usually regions that have been set up between the various Dalai Lamas. This this has been a longstanding source of conflict also between China and Great Britain during the days of the British Raj. As a matter of fact Tibet was really carved up. As a result of what I think of an unholy Colona health conspiracy between Britain and China and to the States which I mentioned before at the border states of sick and butadiene really were carved out of Tibet to form a sort of buffer zone or marches between India and the British Raj. This is while the British were in control of India but then it seems to be desired by the Chinese want for only to start. Yes I mean are there any natural resources which are valuable. Well it is something material which is important it's a large area which
would relieve the Chinese population pressure as indicated the fact that a million persons more or less have been resettled in this ghastly more than most and certainly a decade and a half than you think. John is a vast country but still it has such a vast population I guess you can use a House pass about some practice and of course to Tibet as an area that can be and I have no doubt will be developed. I doubt there are minerals which have not been exploited. It's had that has self-sufficient agricultural and pastoral economy and of course it has strategic values which I have already mentioned. As for the Dalai Lama he is a most revered theirs and you said he is the pope that would be a good analogy. How is he chosen is it inherited. You know you've done this rather elaborate and most interesting ritual which is traditionally applied to the selection of the Dalai Lama
and that is by a highly revered group. Who travel about and seek the person in whom the spirit of the previous Dalai Lama has descended and that some very interesting article this and pieces that have been written about that. Some of it slightly elaborated but the selection is made on an essential it on an under traditional and essentially religious basis and remarkably it has a low that is somewhat difficult for us to understand. It has produced over the centuries a remarkable series of Dalai Lama as the predecessor of the present one the 13th Dalai Lama who ruled from 1895 to his death in 1933. The Dalai Lama they always rule until his death.
Yes he rules until his death and then the next succeeding Dalai Lama as in the case of the present one the 14th is usually selected by this process and with certain spiritual and mystical saw and sound. Search is whenever he comes to me about it. Well I know a lot younger than that only younger than that maybe three of four I think only or somewhat slightly older that is why there is that there's an intervening Regency between the death of one and the succession of the next the 13th Dalai Lama. As I said died in 1930 and to the present island I was formally installed in 1050 when he was 15 years old. He's prepared for this most important role for a number of years before he spoke to me and still he spends his youth and beyond with a very full and regular education in Buddhist
Tibetan history. Religion is he has tutors and wise men who are the repositories of the ancient wisdom he has to qualify it by a series of rigorous examination. Your society has a very interesting film which shows it in color and it's lovely to watch and it shows the examinations of the present. Is that shown annually. No it's shown on a cane every now and then yes we showed it a few months ago I think it was very popular. Must have been for the present I believe it is in India he has the thank you or anything. Yes he fled and 1959. There was an uprising which is a culmination of a series of uprisings but then 1959 it came to a climax when the Dalai Lama fled to India. With a large entourage there were now some
60000 Tibetan refugees in perhaps another 30 to 40 thousand can boot in Nepal. He was given asylum by the Indian government and he and his court are established in the northern port part of India at a place called Dharm Sala. He comes to New Delhi occasionally I've seen him there and talked with him there. Yes you are his legal adviser. Well I since 1950 no onions or yes on what matters would he consult you if I may ask that well yes but I wouldn't mind and his advisors wouldn't think there's anything particularly confidential about it in connection with his appeals to the United Nations. And this goes back to my original interest in 1950 when he made his first appeal. I gave some assistance with regard to the development of a new constitution and I'd like to
mention that for a few minutes at an appropriate moment. And just what that signifies. There is an office of to that in New York which represents the His Holiness the Dalai Lama and which maintains contact with the delegations to the United Nations with foundations because there is a tremendous refugee and relief problem in the office of Tibet is headed up by a very able young Tibetans named. And so he maintains close relations with organizations and individuals who are interested in the Tibetan cause. Mr. Gross you know what change could one expect in the New Hampshire debate. What political changes could take place doesn't it seem as if the situation is locked in for a long time. Well I think you're reading The Future Of course it's always difficult I'm always reminded of the problem of the governments in exile
during the Second World War when similar questions were asked about how long the Nazis would be in Norway and Holland Belgium of course impossible really to predict with respect to. The probability is if you we might put it that way. There are two aspects to the matter in the first place. The Dalai Lama is the spiritual abnd the secular leader of the Tibetan people. He has luck too even in exile. There are many refugees constantly coming out of Tibet and they bring stories of the continued loyalty of the Tibetan people to the Dalai Lama to the continuing unrest and it is a mountainous country as you pointed out before. It is difficult to occupy even though there are probably 300000 or more Chinese troops in the area. Therefore I think the unrest at and from the China what the
Chinese call a counterrevolution is a serious fact door. It so ups are great deal of Chinese efforts to supply petroleum transport and so forth. However I think that instead of looking at the crystal ball of the future what then to that. I think it's important to realize that with these many thousands really the cream of many of the outstanding to that is that have fled the Although many have stayed behind of course but those who are the many who have fled they have a life to lead their children to be born. They are proud people. And although it is sometimes very discouraging to think of themselves as being in exile for an indefinite period nonetheless they are planning for tomorrow. And by and by they had better planning their lives on the basis of being self-sufficient of setting up their
own industries of improving their education to bring themselves into the 20th century and at the time does come. When either by reason of some cataclysm within China or some relaxation of Chinese Communist policy in Tibet at that that there will be a democratic regime if self-determination does come then the people who are now in refuge in India and elsewhere will be the leaders of the future Tibet so I know that you had written a piece about this and I'd like to bring it to the attention of our audience because they can read about it in a way to detail and I imagine that it is an attribute to be eternal which surges within people whether they're in exile or at home. And this appears in the October 8 961 craftily of Foreign Affairs and I believe the title of it is that Tibetans planned for tomorrow. Yes. And people who are developing interest in Tibet as we go along in our conversation I think would like to read it you know to open 61 lines I think that I think foreign
affairs is undoubtedly available on almost any library I believe. Yes. Not that you say it but it is that opinion of almost everyone who knows about cares about foreign affairs I think it is the outstanding periodical of the world. Well if it is widely respected then. Now also Mr. Gross I think we ought to tell our audience do about it you spoke about the great debate and try to use some of them are being destroyed and a lot yes. Nevertheless there will be an exhibition probably a unique exhibition of Tibetan art in the spring of 69. That is right I'm glad you mentioned that Mrs. Graham in the spring of 69 at Asia house here in New York on sixty fourth Street. There will be probably the greatest collection of Tibetan masterpieces that have ever been brought together. And the and Indian who is curator of Asian arts in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts has traveled widely in Europe and has been fortunate to get permission from the
museums and others and individuals. And this will be a very great and beautiful exhibit of the Tibetan art and there will be a number of works of art which the Dalai Lama and his group brought with when they fled from Lhasa the capital to India. Is it known how much was left behind. Would you say that more was left behind then was taken out. Oh yes I have no doubt Oh yes answer Mundus tremendously rich culture but I hope myself I think that the plans are not yet final by any means. I hope that it might be possible to arrange for the Dalai Lama to come to the United States at the time of the side of me it's time to talk about it and I suppose if anybody could arrange it seems to me it would be you. Well it would be the Dalai Lama and you and I Lama and his and his advisors have expressed an interest in coming as he feels safe in
traveling. Oh yes he's traveled in Asia and he's been asked if he received he visited Japan on go and he was acclaimed in Japan. I hope that he will be able to visit the United States as well. There are many Tibetan refugees in the western world. There are quite a few in the United States. The Dalai Lama's brother. Loves them and teaches at the University of Indiana glowing today as I do when I heard about it didn't seem quite right. Indiana does not sound exotic enough for him but then that is a meeting of the east and well I thank you very much Ambassador gross for being here. You make Tibet come alive. Well show your efforts will help it stay alive and perhaps even resurrect it as it should be. Well I was your last hope so much. I want to say that our guest on this edition of The Age of society presents has been the honorable Ernest gross. Mr. Gross was a former U.S. deputy representative to the United Nations from 49 to 53. Before
that he was an assistant secretary of state in Washington. He is right he is the vice president of the age's society legal advisor down at Nama and someone who is most welcome at this microphone. This is the Graham saying good bye asking you to hold the thought that although East is East and West is West we do think the time has come for the twain to meet. That concludes tonight's edition of the Asia Society presents with Lee Graham. This series comes to you through the cooperation of the Asia Society. If you would like to comment on tonight's program or would like further information about the society and how you can participate in its many interesting activities please write to Mrs. Graham at WNYC New York City 100 0 7 and make a note to join us again next week at this time for another edition of the Asia Society presents. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
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Asia Society presents
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Series Description
Asia Society presents is a series of programs from WNYC and The Asia Society. Through interviews with experts on Asian affairs, the series attempts to strengthen listeners understanding of Asian people and ideas. Episodes focus on specific countries and political, cultural, and historical topics.
Talk Show
Global Affairs
Race and Ethnicity
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Host: Graham, Leigh
Producing Organization: WNYC
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-6-5 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Duration: 00:25:54
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Chicago: “Asia Society presents; 5,” 1969-01-17, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 23, 2024,
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