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

No. 1915

Sir: Upon departure from Chungking of Dr. John K. Fairbank, a representative of the “Interdepartmental Committee” and of the Office of Strategic Services also designated a Special Assistant of the Embassy, I wish to submit an expression of the Embassy’s appreciation of Dr. Fairbank’s assistance to the Department’s cultural relations program.

While Dr. Fairbank’s principal official function here is understood to have been the procurement of enemy publications for IDC,39 he has shown a wide and vigorous interest in cultural relations matters. In an endeavor to assist him in the procurement of enemy publications by furnishing him something in the nature of a quid pro quo to offer possible or prospective sources for such publications, he has had supervision of the administration of the Embassy microfilm program, and the success of that program has been due largely to his efforts with it. In addition, he has assumed a number of “extra-curricula” activities (which, although not enjoying a forthright connection with the war effort, have had bearing on Sino-American cultural relations in general) such as projects for rendering financial assistance to Chinese professors and other matters tending to further Chinese reliance upon American generosity and friendship. He also consulted frequently with the cultural relations specialists sent by the Department for service with the Chinese Government, and while his advice and counsel may not always have conformed to settled usual Government standards, he was undoubtedly of assistance and encouragement to some of them. In all of these activities Dr. Fairbank exerted himself with such energy that he was generally regarded as representing the Division of Cultural Relations of the Department rather than OSS (or IDC). In the course of a speech by Dr. [Page 760] Chu Chia-hua, at a tea party given to welcome Dr. Cressey and to say farewell to Dr. Fairbank, the latter’s able “representation” of the Cultural Relations Division was referred to in complimentary terms and on the same occasion announcement was made that Dr. Cressey has come to China as “representative of the Department of State” and that Dr. Kates,40 successor to Dr. Fairbank, would act as Dr. Cressey’s “representative” when the latter should be absent from Chungking. The question of Dr. Kates’ functions, in relation to the Embassy and to Dr. Cressey, is being made the subject of a separate despatch;41 the point here is that Dr. Fairbank has served in part to meet the Embassy’s need for a Cultural Attaché—a need which cannot of course be filled under present housing and staff conditions—and that he has rendered valuable service to the Embassy. We feel that Dr. Fairbank should be commended for his assistance to us in the cultural relations program.

Respectfully yours,

C. E. Gauss
  1. Interdepartmental Committee for the Acquisition of Foreign Publications.
  2. George N. Kates, Special Assistant to the Embassy in China, representing the Interdepartmental Committee and the Library of Congress.
  3. Infra.