Memorandum by Mr. Haldore Ramon of the Division of Cultural Relations

Liaison between the Department of State and other Agencies Concerning Cultural Relations with China

The China Cultural Relations program contains certain projects which have some apparent similarity to those of other agencies. The [Page 718] Department has established liaison with each of these agencies through a formal letter or official call, and continued its collaboration by frequent and in some cases almost daily consultation. A brief summary of this liaison work follows:

1. Board of Economic Warfare.

Both the Department and the B. E. W. have considered plans to send one or more experts to China, but the functions of the experts sent by these two branches of the Government would be quite different. Specialists sent by the Department will serve the Chinese Government; those sent by the B. E. W. will serve our Government.

The Department, under its 1942 cultural relations budget, offered to give to the Chinese Government the services of ten American specialists. The Chinese Government was permitted to state the types of experts which it needed. These Americans would undertake work prescribed by the Chinese, not by this Government. They would perform a service comparable to our Government employees who were loaned to Latin American governments under Public Law 6320—76th Congress.

The B. E. W., on the other hand, has proposed the sending of Americans to do work for this Government as gatherers of economic information, as expediters of strategic materials being shipped to the United States, and as advisers on the foreign production of war materials which will reduce American exports.

In practice the B. E. W. has asked to send only one American to China—a petroleum expert to be attached to the Embassy at Chungking. This man has not yet been sent; therefore, the B. E. W. has no American technicians as yet in China. That agency now has no plans to send specialists other than the petroleum expert to China.

There appears to be no conflict or overlapping in the functions which these two branches of the Government seek to perform. It is possible that a man sent to China for one function might remain there to carry out the function of the other organization, thus saving travel costs from the United States.

The Department’s Cultural Relations officers have collaborated closely with the B. E. W. in the selection of specialists who will serve in China under the Department. For example, when the list of ten experts requested by the Chinese was received by the Department on March 27, the B. E. W. was apprised of its content. Higher officers of the Department consulted with the B. E. W. and authorized the Division of Cultural Relations to proceed with its plans.

Mr. Alex Taub, Chief of the Engineering Branch, Imports Office of the B. E. W., has assigned three of his officers to interview candidates [Page 719] for service under the Department’s Cultural Relations program in China.

Mr. Charles Rayner, Chief of the Far Eastern Division in the B. E. W., has been kept informed of the progress in this selection.

Aside from this informal type of liaison, an automatic channel of collaboration has been in force.

On February 26, 1942, the Department notified most executive agencies, including the B. E. W., that any plans for sending personnel on foreign assignments must first be submitted to a committee composed of Mr. Sumner Welles, Mr. Dean Acheson, and Mr. G. Howland Shaw, all of the Department. (See attached copy of Departmental Order 1052.20a) The Department set up in the Division of Foreign Service Administration a file of all government representatives abroad. This would prevent any duplication in plans or in personnel already abroad for the various branches of the Government.

2. Lend-Lease Administration.

Lend-Lease is authorized to send to China only the type of specialists who can contribute directly to the Chinese military effort.

In practice, Lend-Lease has paid the cost of seventeen Americans in China. Sixteen were in the Public Health antimalarial mission which worked along the communication lines that were bringing military supplies from Burma. The only other specialist was an Army veterinary doctor who was sent to work among the pack animals bringing military supplies from Russia.

Lend-Lease and the cultural relations officers have maintained close collaboration on questions involving American experts. Dr. Lauchlin Currie, Administrative Assistant to the President, and adviser on Lend-Lease aid to China, was consulted even before the cultural relations program was set up. He has received copies of all important telegrams to and from Chungking on this subject.

Mr. Benjamin Schaberg, liaison officer in the China section of the Lend-Lease Administration, has notified the cultural relations officer whenever Chinese officials in Washington have inquired about American experts.

3. Office of “War Information.

The Department and the O. W. I. both have plans for sending to China microfilms, motion pictures, radio programs, and magazines, but the content matter would be entirely different and in most cases the two programs would reach a different economic and social level in China.

The O. W. I. sends war information and current opinion of propaganda value. The Department sends educational and scientific materials of value to Chinese universities and to those intellectual leaders who are guiding the Chinese war effort.

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The Department has been in constant touch with the following officials of the Foreign Information Service in the O. W. I.: Mr. Carl Crow, Coordinator for the Far East; Mr. Walter Wilgus, chief of the Far Eastern Radio staff in Washington; Mr. Edward Stanley, in charge of publications in New York; and Mr. Lacy Kastner, in charge of motion pictures in New York.

One cultural relations officer spent three days during June discussing with the O. W. I. staff in New York their plans. The conclusions reached were:

(a) Microfilm. The O. W. I. is microfilming only selected magazines of current news and opinion. The cultural relations program is microfilming only scientific and learned journals and materials of special interest to Chinese universities.

The O. W. I. has its microfilming done under contract by the New York Public Library and by Recordak Corporation; the cultural relations microfilming is done by the Library of Congress and by the Department of Agriculture, both on a reimbursable basis. It is understood that the Government microfilming in Washington is less expensive, but slower.

Since the O. W. I. microfilms are intended only for delivery to Chinese newspapers and magazines, to be translated into Chinese, that requires only one microfilm reader. The cultural relations microfilms are being distributed widely to Chinese college campuses where they will be read from the film; therefore, the cultural relations program provides funds for one hundred reading machines in the current budget. (It is important to note that the O. W. I. is sending a few film strip projectors to be used for propaganda pictures, but which are unsuitable for microfilm purposes.)

(b) Magazines. The O. W. I. is sending no magazines to China except those in microfilm for Chinese translation. The Department is sending a few journals of educational value in paper form for Chinese reading rooms on university campuses.

(c) Motion Pictures. The O. W. I. is sending newsreels and some war propaganda pictures to China. The cultural relations program is restricting its films to educational pictures on such subjects as health, agriculture, science, and the American way of life. The O. W. I. films all have a military bearing. The cultural relations pictures all would be suitable for a permanent educational film library in China, although they are now being selected on the basis of their scientific or educational value in China’s war effort.

Both the O. W. I. and the cultural relations program are relying upon Chinese Government projectors.

(d) Radio Programs. The O. W. I. is now sending only news broadcasts to China. The programs go by shortwave from San Francisco [Page 721] to Chungking, where some are rebroadcast by medium wave. The cultural relations program proposes to have scripts written on scientific and educational subjects, comparable to the subject matter of the motion picture films, and to send to Chungking either a recording in Chinese of such programs or the scripts, which can be translated and prepared for broadcast there. The Department of Interior has offered to do the recordings on a reimbursable basis if the Ambassador at Chungking advises that recordings are suitable.

  1. Approved May 3, 1939; 53 Stat. 652.
  2. Not printed.