I am looking for a reference for the following facts in functional analysis and topology. (If these "facts" are not true, I suppose I'm looking for the closest approximation which is true.)
Let $X$ be a locally compact Hausdorff topological space. Let $C(X)$ denote the ring of continuous complex-valued functions on $X$, endowed with the compact-open topology. Then $C(X)$ is a complete locally convex topological (complex) vector space (this can be found in Kothe, vol. 2, I think).
Now let $Y$ be another locally compact Hausdorff topological space. From Kothe, vol. 2, I know that $C(X \times Y)$ is naturally isomorphic to $C(X) \hat \otimes C(Y)$, where $\hat \otimes$ denotes the completion with respect to the injective tensor product topology.
I believe that pointwise multiplication $C(X) \times C(X) \rightarrow C(X)$ extends (uniquely) to a continuous linear map from $C(X) \hat \otimes C(X)$ to $C(X)$.
If $f: X \rightarrow Y$ is a continuous function, then precomposition with $f$ yields a continuous $C$-algebra homomorphism $f^\ast: C(Y) \rightarrow C(X)$.
I believe the following to be true:
Theorem: For every continuous algebra homomorphism $\phi: C(Y) \rightarrow C(X)$, there exists a unique continuous map $f: X \rightarrow Y$ such that $\phi = f^\ast$.
In other words, I wish that $C( \bullet )$ is a faithful functor from the category of locally compact Hausdorff spaces and continuous maps to the category of rings in the (symmetric monoidal under $\hat \otimes$) category of complete locally convex topological vector spaces and continuous linear maps.
Any references and/or corrections would be very welcome!
But an important note: I am not looking for well-known modifications, like "try the $C^\ast$-algebra instead" or the von Neumann algebra, etc.. I have good reasons for considering the ring $C(X)$ with the compact-open topology, and I don't wish to mess with it.