The Consul at Geneva (Gilbert) to the Secretary of State

No. 672 Political

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Consulate’s despatch No. 671 Political of September 12, 193331 entitled “Technical Cooperation of the League of Nations with China—Assistance to Agriculture” and to inform the Department that the Chinese Government has requested the Secretariat of the League to recommend an expert on hog-breeding and poultry-raising to serve in China in accordance with the general plan of technical assistance described at some length in my despatch No. 471 Political of January 17, 1933.31

I have learned that the League officials with whom the matter of selection primarily rests, namely, Dr. Rajchman, the recently appointed liaison officer between the Chinese Government and the technical organizations of the League, and Mr. Haas, the Director of the Communications and Transit Section, are inclined to favor the nomination of an American citizen for the position in question. I am told that the proposal to appoint an American to join the group of foreign experts now serving in China under the cooperative arrangement between the League and the Nanking Government has emanated not from the Chinese Government but from Dr. Rajchman (Polish) and Mr. Haas (French). The suggestion in my opinion is motivated not only by the supposed availability in the United States of qualified experts on hog and poultry breeding, but also by a desire to forestall any possible criticism that the League, [Page 516] in reaching out for specialists in various fields for recommendation to the Chinese Government, has deliberately favored the appointment of European nominees to the exclusion of American nationals who might be considered equally competent in their respective lines.

I refer in this connection to the list enclosed with the Consulate’s despatch No. 471 Political of January 17, 1933, of names and nationalities of the various experts (not members of the League Secretariat) who have been associated at one time or another in the League program of technical aid to China. The list includes a group of four educationalists (German, French, British, and Polish), a Swiss geologist, an Austrian professor of geography, and an English professor of literature, an Italian expert on educational motion pictures, a Danish expert on medical education, a Rumanian malariologist, and a Yugoslav epidemiologist, a Polish highway engineer and a Dutch expert in canal and highway construction, three specialists on harbor works and river control (British, French and German), an Italian expert on agricultural economics (Professor Carlo Dragoni, former Secretary-General of the International Institute of Agriculture), and a specialist on silk-growing (also an Italian).

The list, in order to be complete, should now be amended to include two European experts on Civil Service organization (Mr. Somervell, former official of the British Ministry of Labor, and Mr. Wolfgang Jaenicke, former burgomaster of Breslau (German)), and a German specialist on telegraph and telephone administration (Mr. Lange, former head of the Frankfort Telephone Service).

So far as I am aware no previous move has been made on behalf of the Chinese Government by League officials to obtain the services of any American specialist. The proposed appointment may consequently be of some special interest if it should result in creating a precedent favoring the recruitment of other Americans through the agency of the League for specialized work in China. Doubtless also League authorities have in mind the desirability for political reasons of indirectly enlisting American interests in this whole endeavor, which they feel would result from the association of an American national in this work.

The procedure to be adopted in seeking the desired American expert, and the terms and conditions of his appointment, have not as yet been decided on. It would thus at present be premature for this matter to be given publicity in the United States. My League informant states that inquiry on the part of the Secretariat is awaiting the return to Geneva of Mr. Arthur Sweetser of the Information Section. In similar cases advice has been sought from members of [Page 517] the Economic Committee of the League who have been in a position to recommend the names of qualified fellow-countrymen. It is possible that competent governmental authorities in Washington may be approached informally in regard to this matter or that the good offices of the government may be invoked more formally through the Department of State.

Respectfully yours,

Prentiss B. Gilbert
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