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

No. 1371

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of an article appearing in the Daily Bulletin of the China Information Committee for June 12, 1943,25 proposing that agriculture be made the basis of post-war reconstruction in China.

This article, a condensation of an article originally published in the Ta Kung Pao, an influential independent Chungking newspaper, and written by Tung Shih-tsin, a well-known Chinese agriculturalist, is of particular interest because the agricultural point of view is rarely presented in discussions of post-war reconstruction. As the farmer is inarticulate and farming is unspectacular, it is natural that plans for large-scale industrialization should have a greater appeal to the imagination of writers and planners. A realistic reminder that agriculture is and must continue to be the first industry of China should serve a useful purpose.

The point is made in the article that industrial development in China after the war will depend on the availability of raw materials, including many of agricultural origin. An adequate textile industry, it is asserted, cannot be built up on China’s production of a little over a million bales of cotton and 50 million pounds of wool a year. The importance of agricultural production to other industries is equally obvious. With the progress of chemistry in the development of synthetic materials, including plastics, the reliance of industry on agriculture is greatly increased.

China, it is stated in the article, does not produce enough food and textile material for its own needs. The production of seven major agricultural products in Szechuan is said to have shown a downward trend since 1939. The first step toward becoming a modern country is to elevate the standard of living and this must be done by assuring the people enough food and clothing. The success of industries, moreover, will depend on the prosperity of the farming districts, which will be the principal markets for the products of industry.

Respectfully yours,

For the Chargé d’Affaires a. i.:
J. Bartlett Richards

Commercial Attaché
  1. Not reprinted.