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

No. 1914

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Embassy’s despatch no. 1915, December 15, 1943, in regard to the assistance rendered the Embassy by Dr. John K. Fairbank in connection with the cultural relations program.

In addition to the apparent misunderstanding, mentioned in the reference despatch, as to the relationship among Dr. Kates, Dr. George B. Cressey, the Department and the Embassy, confusion seems now to have arisen in regard to Dr. Kates’ functions under IDC and OSS. It is our understanding from conversations with Dr. Kates that in taking over Dr. Fairbank’s work he has considered that he should more narrowly confine himself to the official purposes for which he was assigned here by IDC (and/or OSS) and by the Library of Congress and should devote his chief interests to matters having direct relation to the war effort in his field: i. e. to the procurement of enemy publications. The carrying on of the cultural relations microfilm program (which was entrusted to Dr. Fairbank in order to give him some quid pro quo to offer possible sources of enemy publications) he feels is somewhat outside the technical scope of his appropriate activities but he is agreeable to continuing with it for the time being. [Page 761] As the Embassy can not under present staff conditions assign an officer to full-time cultural relations duties and as under present housing and office conditions we can not take care of a cultural attaché, we have expressed to Dr. Kates our hope that he will find it feasible and profitable to continue Dr. Fairbank’s excellent work with the microfilm program until the Embassy is in position to take over the operation of the program from him.

We believe that Dr. Kates is earnestly desirous of cooperating with the Embassy in every way but we feel that the question of his functions and his relationships with various organizations and persons has been left so unclear that inevitable problems are beginning to arise. We understand, for example, that during Brigadier General Donovan’s42 recent visit to Chungking (Embassy’s 2332, December 6, 4 p.m.43) he instructed Dr. Kates to have nothing whatsoever to do with representatives of the Chinese Communist party in Chungking, including individuals to whom he had been introduced by Dr. Fairbank and from whom Dr. Fairbank expected to obtain publications and information thought to be of interest to IDC or to other agencies of the Government; and that General Donovan also instructed Dr. Kates to hold in abeyance a program (of which the Embassy had not previously been informed) of purchasing enemy publications from the British Military Attaché and from General Wang Peng-sheng, adviser to the Generalissimo on Japanese affairs and head of one of the Chinese secret gestapo services which is in some respects a rival of General Tai Li’s organization with which OSS and the Navy Department (or some section of the Navy Department) are endeavoring to operate.

General Donovan did not mention to us in our discussion with him of OSS activities as they have relation to the Embassy any matters connected with Dr. Fairbank’s or Dr. Kates’ work. He indicated that Captain M. E. Miles, U.S.N., who unfortunately has designation as Naval Observer to the Embassy and who has been the principal OSS representative here, was no longer connected with OSS although he was continuing certain activities under General Tai Li’s direction pursuant to an agreement between Tai Li and the Navy Department. General Donovan stated that a Major Hoffman, who accompanied him to China, would be chief OSS man here and that Major Hoffman would call at the Embassy with a view to clarifying any matters of appropriate interest to this Mission. (Major Hoffman has not called and we have not encountered him.)

What relationship is supposed to exist between Major Hoffman and Dr. Kates seems obscure. Dr. Kates understands that he is in some [Page 762] respects under Major Hoffman’s instructions and, as the Embassy should be divorced from OSS operations (which in our opinion should be under the control of the American Theater Commander44), the question arises whether Dr. Kates should continue to have the formal affiliation with the Embassy involved in his designation as Special Assistant so long as he operates under the instructions of the OSS military group and may, for all we know, be called upon to engage in activities with which the Embassy has no concern and over which it has no control. (Similarly Captain Miles should not, of course, have any designation formally affiliating him with the Embassy.)

We feel that Dr. Kates can be of service to the American Government in the procurement of enemy publications and publications for the Library of Congress, and also in cultural relations—the handling of the microfilm program as a Special Assistant to the Embassy. But the confusing or intermixing of these activities with what are generally understood to be OSS operations and activities, which places him in the unhappy position of endeavoring to please several masters, is bound to work out most unsatisfactorily.

The question of Dr. Kates’ relationship with Dr. Cressey, mentioned in the reference despatch, appears to have arisen from a misunderstanding which in turn possibly grew out of oral comment or remarks made to Dr. Cressey by officers of the Cultural Relations Division of the Department and also possibly out of oral remarks made to Dr. Kates and Dr. Cressey by Dr. Fairbank. So far as we are informed, Dr. Cressey and Dr. Kates have no official relationship and Dr. Kates now understands that he does not “represent” Dr. Cressey as “representative of the Department of State” during the latter’s absence from Chungking. Furthermore, the Embassy does not understand that Dr. Cressey is in fact a “representative of the Department of State” but that he is a visiting professor of the Cultural Relations Division of the Department. (We have just received, as we were closing this despatch, the Department’s mail instruction no. 450, November 17, 1943,44a enclosing a copy of Mr. Peck’s memorandum45 in regard to Dr. Cressey and his functions; that subject will accordingly be treated in a separate despatch.)

We do not have specific recommendations to submit at this time as to possible solution of these various confusions and difficulties in regard to relationships, jurisdictions, etc., except that if Dr. Kates is to be under the orders of Major Hoffman of OSS to perform functions of OSS over which the Embassy does not have (and does not desire to have) any supervision or control, his designation as Special Assistant [Page 763] to the Embassy should be canceled. If he is to continue to serve under such designation, or under any designation affiliating him with the Embassy, we believe that arrangements should be effected in Washington whereby his functions are clearly defined within a framework of activities over which the Embassy may appropriately exercise supervision and control.

In general it would be helpful to the Embassy and also to the persons concerned if the Department could see its way clear, before cultural relations specialists or other persons whose duties have bearing on cultural relations depart from the United States for China, to formulating in consultation with the Embassy specific instructions for their guidance and to making sure that all possible questions of this nature are completely clarified in the employee’s mind.

Respectfully yours,

C. E. Gauss
  1. William J. Donovan, Director of the Office of Strategic Services.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Of October 12, p. 751.