Memorandum by Mr. Willys R. Peck of the Division of Cultural Relations
- RC,18 China Section, feels that there is urgent need at Chungking for a special Cultural Relations officer, preferably a senior Foreign Service officer, but if such an officer is not available, for an Auxiliary Foreign Service officer. A Foreign Service officer would be preferred for this position, because his knowledge of State Department usage and procedures would make the Department’s relations with the cultural relations program in China run more smoothly and with less risk of unexpected occurrences, than would be the case if a man lacking this background were appointed to the post. The Chief of Mission would undoubtedly be able to delegate duties to an experienced Foreign Service officer with greater confidence than he would feel in the case of a man appointed from outside the Service.
- Some of the special duties awaiting the appointment of a Cultural Relations officer at Chungking are described below:
Experts. Eleven technical experts are in China or
have left the United States, and five more are now being appointed.
These [Page 741] men, in order to set to
work immediately on arrival, should be introduced by the Embassy to a
number of Chinese Government offices and certain information should be
gathered by the Embassy in advance of the arrival of each expert. Dr.
Ralph Phillips, animal breeding specialist recently wrote in a personal
letter to RC:
“One of the obvious needs, here, is for a man on the Embassy staff whose primary and only interest is the Cultural Relations program. If the program is to work effectively there should be someone who can see that the specialists are properly introduced to the Chinese workers and the field of work, and also to see that the needs of the specialists are met, in so far as that is possible under present conditions. At present there is no one at the Embassy who has either the time or the interest to give the experts more than passing notice, and we are obviously not considered a part of the Embassy organization. Even such minor items as stationery become major problems out here. Another very useful function that a staff member could perform is supplying information on what is really needed out here. In my case, for example, such a man could have spent two or three days with the Ministry of Agriculture officials and then advised you of the type of organization and the facilities available, and also the specific kinds of help and information that were needed. This information could have been obtained quite easily, and if it had been available I would have been in much better position to do the job here. As the number of specialists increases, the need for such a man will become more acute.”
- Motion Pictures. The Division of Cultural Relations is completing the Chinese soundtracks for about thirty reels of motion pictures and is producing about seven reels of new films for China. This work represents an investment of about $20,000. An additional 70 pictures are planned for the 1944 fiscal year. When the prints of the present pictures, numbering about 150, are shipped to China, it is essential that an officer of the Embassy should supervise distribution. These films are all 16 mm. and cannot be shown in commercial theaters. They are intended for schools, clubs, and Government offices. In South American capitals some Cultural Relations officers have achieved a total attendance of 250,000 persons a month for American non-theatrical picture shows. Only two or three projectors are used in each Latin American country. In China there are at least a dozen projectors available. The Embassy has already stated that motion pictures can serve as a very useful form of influence.
- Microfilm. The distribution of microfilms has been at least a half-time job for John Fairbank. He is expecting to leave for the United States shortly. An officer of the Embassy must be assigned to take over these duties.
- Cooperation between Chinese and American Societies. The building of cooperation between Chinese and American professional [Page 742] and scientific groups should be stimulated by a Cultural Relations officer in Chungking. American medical societies, engineering societies and agricultural bodies are already extending assistance to corresponding groups in the other American republics, in cooperation with this Department, but at no cost to the Government except for the occasional use of the pouch. RC believes that this building of a community of interest by the Chinese and American doctors, scientists, and engineers will reinforce the past benefits of American education acquired by Chinese, and will serve to counteract the tendency of some Chinese toward an isolationist attitude.
- It is the hope of the China Section that funds will be available with which to send to China three American citizens of high academic standing to promote general cultural relations activities. These men, however, will spend most of their time traveling to educational centers. It is essential that there be an officer residing in Chungking to look after day to day operations and to serve as informal liaison with the branches of the Chinese Government concerned.
- If FE19 approves the designation of a Foreign Service officer as Cultural Relations officer at Chungking, the China Section will be glad to discuss with FE the selection of a candidate and subsequently to take up the matter with FP.20