123 Richards, J. Bartlett/36: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in China (Gauss)

1178. Your 1403, November 30, 10 a.m.7 In view of the longstanding need of the Department and of other agencies of the Government for an expansion of the economic and commercial informational service from Chungking and in the light of the present increasing demand on the Department by other agencies of the Government for specialized information within the economic warfare as well as the general economic field, the Department believes that it is necessary that the Embassy be augmented by an adequately staffed Commercial Attaché’s office if the Foreign Service in China is to fulfill one of its important functions. The Department realizes, of course, that quarters are cramped and facilities in general are meager at Chungking. [Page 696]We believe, however, that the interests of the Government will be better served by a Commercial Attaché’s office than by an expansion of field personnel representing other Government agencies and operating without the coordinating and other benefits of a single unit within the Embassy. The situation to be met is such, in the Department’s opinion, that the Commercial Attaché should proceed to establish his office as soon as practicable. If necessary he might utilize office and residential quarters on the city side of the river.

While it would, of course, be preferable that the Commercial Attaché have a working knowledge of the Chinese language, there are not any China language officers available for this duty. It is believed that Mr. Richards8 will not greatly feel the lack of a knowledge of the Chinese language in his contacts with important officials at Chungking, many of whom are understood to speak English; that he will be able to get along with an interpreter in such travel as he may undertake; and that his economic reporting experience, together with a fresh point of view, makes him a suitable choice for the assignment.

We should appreciate your recommendations as to personnel and office equipment for the office of the Commercial Attaché. It is our thought that in addition to an Assistant Commercial Attaché (who is expected to be designated shortly) the office will probably require an American clerk-stenographer, a Chinese interpreter-translator, two or three typists and perhaps messengers. It is expected that it will be practicable to arrange for the personnel proceeding from Washington to take with them portable typewriters.

  1. Not printed.
  2. J. Bartlett Richards.