Letter from Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India to Zhou Enlai, Premier of the Chinese State Council
22 March 1959
DEAR MR. PRIME MINISTER,
Many thanks for your letter of the 23rd January which I have read with the care and attention which it deserves.
...[Regarding] the McMahon Line-As you are aware, the so-called McMahon Line runs eastwards from the eastern borders of Bhutan and defines the boundary of China on the one hand and on the India and Burma on the other. Contrary to what has been reported to you, this line was, in fact, drawn at a Tripartite Conference held at Simla in 1913-1914 between the Plenipotentiaries of the Governments of China, Tibet and India. At the time of acceptance of the delineation of this frontier, Lonchen Shatra, the Tibetan Plenipotentiary, in letters exchanged, stated explicitly that he had received orders from Lhasa to agree to the boundary as marked on the map appended to the Convention. The Line was drawn ater full discussion and was confirmed subsequently by formal exchange of letters; and there is nothing to indicate that the Tibetan authorities were in any way dissatisfied with the agreed boundary. Moreover, although the Chinese Plenipotentiary at the conference objected to the boundaries between Inner and Outer Tibet and between Tibet and China, there is no mention of any Chinese reservation in respect of the India-Tibet frontier either during the discussions or at the time of their initialling the Convention. This line has the incidental advantage of running along the crest of the High Himalayan Range which forms the natural dividing line between the Tibetan plateau in the north and the sub-montane region in the south. In our previous discussions and particularly during your visit to India in January1957, we were gratified to note that you were prepared to accept this line as representing the frontier between China and India in this region and I hope that we shall reach an understanding on this basis...