The Chargé in China (Atcheson) to the Secretary of State

No. 1320

Sir: With reference to the Embassy’s telegram no. 956, June 18, 9 a.m.29 regarding famine conditions in Kwangtung Province, there is enclosed a copy of a memorandum of conversation of June 21, 194330 with Dr. T. F. Tsiang, Director of the Political Affairs Department of the Executive Yuan, in regard to the food shortage in Kwangtung and the food problem in other areas in Free China.

Dr. Tsiang states that the high prices offered by the Japanese in areas adjacent to the famine region in Kwangtung are resulting in shipments of rice from unoccupied to occupied areas and that, unless this trade is stopped, the shipment of large quantities of rice to the famine area will not solve the food problem there. He points out that the area has never been self-supporting in foodstuffs and that the influx of refugees from Japanese-occupied areas has made the situation more serious. The people of this area who formerly depended upon remittances from abroad are particularly hard hit due to the cessation of overseas remittances from the South Seas. Those who receive remittances from the United States have further increased the seriousness of the problem through their purchases and hoarding of rice. Dr. Tsiang is of the opinion that even favorable harvests will not give adequate relief to famine sufferers in this area and states that the Central Government is giving serious attention to the situation.

According to Dr. Tsiang, timely rainfall has improved the prospects for good harvests in Fukien, Honan and Szechuan and there [Page 422] seems to be no cause for alarm with respect to the food supply in these provinces.

Respectfully yours,

George Atcheson, Jr.
  1. Not printed; it reported famine conditions “exist in some degree throughout whole of Kwangtung with East and West River areas most seriously affected.” (893.5018/42)
  2. Not printed.