Memorandum by the Adviser on Political Relations (Hornbeck) to the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs (Hamilton)

Mr. Hamilton: The question of possible assistance by American governmental agencies toward promptly supplying to appropriate agencies at Shanghai urgently needed medical supplies and incidental equipment has been discussed by me with Mr. Swift10 of the Red Cross, General Spalding11 of the Army, and Admiral Leahy12 and Dr. Sutton13 of the Navy.

The feature that I have emphasized has been that these agencies might have available or might be able more readily than most agencies to obtain supplies which might be sent expeditiously; that the Army and the Navy, with establishments at Honolulu and Manila, and with [Page 629] facilities of transportation, might be able to make delivery more promptly than could be made through ordinary agencies; and that a practical feature in the nature of emergency assistance, at this time, by American governmental agencies, in such a connection as this, might have a beneficial political and psychological effect upon the minds not only of the people (of various nationalities) to whose welfare such action might contribute but upon the minds of the American community in China, of the Chinese, of our own people in this country, and in many quarters where that type of action is highly rated.

Mr. Swift, General Spalding, Admiral Leahy and Dr. Sutton were all very responsive. Mr. Swift would help with regard to ways and means; the Army and the Navy would do what they can (although they seem not to have any considerable quantities of available surplus of medical supplies).

My thought is that, when we hear from Gauss, if he gives us information on the basis of which action on this line seems called for and worth doing, a conference should be called and, thereafter, a memorandum should be drafted making concrete recommendations to be passed upon by the Secretary and to be presented to the President. It should be proposed that the President ask Admiral Grayson14 and the Army and the Navy to collaborate toward there being assembled and being expedited toward China with the utmost promptness a consignment of supplies designed to meet such need as may be indicated in Gauss’ telegram. As soon as the plans are perfected, information thereof should be telegraphed to Shanghai and maximum publicity should be given to the enterprise.

S[tanley] K. H[ornbeck]
  1. Ernest J. Swift, vice chairman in charge of insular and foreign operations, American National Red Cross.
  2. Brig. Gen. George R. Spalding, Assistant Chief of Staff G–4 (Supply), War Department.
  3. Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department.
  4. Capt. Dallas G. Sutton, Medical Corps, Assistant to the Chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Navy Department.
  5. Rear Adm. Gary T. Grayson (retired), Chairman of the American National Red Cross.