1936 - 1937 Mission Diary

The official diary of the Gould mission to Lhasa sent by the British government. Read more about the mission diary.

August 26th, Wednesday, Lhasa.

Riding before breakfast and in the evening only, is possible, the rest of the day was again spent in receiving calls. Many more presents of eggs, butter, meat, flour etc., were received by all of us. Only about 1 egg in 20 is good, so out of the many hundreds or even thousands received there are not more than sufficient fit for consumption. The butter has mostly been preserved by sewing up in goatskin for months, so is not (to our idea) even fit for cooking. But the meat is excellent.

We had a cinema display before and after dinner on the 16 MM projector to check films and select those suitable for Tibetan audiences.

Some taken by Gould in Kenya were very good, and should prove attractive to local visitors.

The following visitors 'called this day:

(i) Kusho K. K. Mondong, 5th rank Official, Sho Magistrate. (Speaks English was educated at Rugby, 1913-15).

(ii) Duk Lochakpa, Bhutanese Agent.

(iii) Dzasa of, Reting Gompa, on behalf of the Regent.

(iv) Langchungna Shape's Dronyer

(v) Pangdatsang, Transport Contractor.

(vi) Ringang Kusho, 4th rank official.

(Dronyer is a Chamberlain or equerry). Ringang Kusho, a brother of the Ringang who went to Rugby in 1913, appeared pretty quick in the intellect, and as he had been a Depon 3 years ago in Eastern Tibet (called by the Chinese "Sikang Province"), it was possible to get some inside information of the period when there was, fighting between Chinese and Tibetans in that region.

From what he said it appears that the conduct of operations and organization of troops on the Tibetan side was hopeless and still is so.

In Ringang's part of the area there were 4 or 5 Depons (Generals) each commanding 400 or 500 men (riflemen only). These are entirely independent of each other, and each receives his instructions as to operations direct from the Kashag (Cabinet) in Lhasa. Occasionally the Commissioner of Kham was present to co-ordinate on the spot, and at one time one of the Shapes (cabinet ministers), was present. This was Tendong shape whom we have met.

Ringang became Depon, without pre-vious training or experience, as a result of a clean sweep of four depons who were "stellenbosched" when the Tibe-tans were driven out of that part of Eastern Tibet beyond (East of) the Yantze. The change of command did no good for Ringang said the troops were disheartened and would not face the Chinese. Ringang is really an agri-cultural expert and is now in that department.

The pay and rations of the Tibetan soldiers were than miserable in the extreme, as 0-1-6 to buy tea and butter for two months, and 26 lbs of unhusked barley grain for one man for a month issued in kind. These conditions have been slightly improved by action by Tendong Shape since then, but are still very very poor.

We told previously told that wherever Tibetan soldiers are stationed they batten on the local civil inhabitants owing to their starvation rations and pay, and the Tibetan officers quarter their ponies free of charge on the local people.

It is also stated that the infantry practically never fire their rifles in practice nor are the machine guns ever fired.

It is hoped to get further details of military training if any is ever done.

Author: Philip Neame [see handwritten annotations in Diary by Hugh Richardson in MS. Or. Richardson 2, Bodleian Libary, Department of Oriental Collections, University of Oxford]

Page Reference: Pt IV p.2

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