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

No. 2084

Sir: I have the honor to enclose copy of a memorandum report entitled “Apparent Sabotage and Fifth Column Activity”33 submitted to me by Third Secretary Freeman34 of the Embassy, recording his observations during a recent visit to Foochow, Fukien.

Mr. Freeman reports several instances of apparent sabotage operations; also indications that fifth column activity is assisting the Japanese in air raids on American advanced bases.

He recommends that consideration be given by the armed services to the use of Americans with a knowledge of Chinese and China in connection with security and other measures at advanced bases.

[Here follows summary of this despatch.]

The Department will recall that several reports have recently been transmitted by the Embassy from consular officers in reference to the exploitation of the U. S. Army by local merchants, contractors, et cetera.

I have long been of the opinion that our Army would do well to give thought to the recruitment and intelligent use in China of Americans—both missionaries and business men—having a knowledge of Chinese and an understanding of the Chinese people and conditions in China—in the services of supply, quartermaster corps, and similar organizations. This report from Secretary Freeman leads to the suggestion that they may also be extremely useful in matters of security and general liaison and contact work at our military bases.

Dr. Frank W. Price, an American missionary of Chengtu, who has from time to time been entrusted with special missions by Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek, has informed me that he is leaving soon for the United States and has been entrusted by the Generalissimo with a commission to recruit a number of qualified Americans amongst American missionaries now in the United States, to serve in China with the Chinese War Area Service Corps, the Chinese organization which operates the hostels and mess halls providing for our armed forces in this country. The object of the Chinese is to obtain the services of Americans who know China and the Chinese in an effort to improve the relations between Chinese and Americans at such hostels and similar establishments.

The Embassy is of the opinion that Americans with a knowledge of Chinese and familiar with China and Chinese conditions—of whom [Page 10] a substantial number may readily be found amongst the missionaries now in the United States—might successfully be employed by our Army in China in connection with its security measures, and its procurement problems. Not only missionaries, but American business men could be successfully employed in this way. Amongst the missionaries will be found many who have been administrators of mission stations, hospitals, educational institutions, and other large scale mission activities in China. Many of these men are sound business men. There must also be a number of American business men with China experience who are available in the United States for useful employment in the China field.

I have discussed this matter with Major General Hearn, the Chief of Staff, U. S. Army Forces, Chungking, in the absence of Lieutenant General Stilwell.35 I have also discussed it with Mr. Price. It is my hope that something may be done in this connection while Mr. Price is in the United States.

Many missionaries and China business men may be over age for active military duty and may not be subject to selective service draft. I believe however that a substantial corps of such men could be found ready to volunteer for service in China and that they would be of the greatest possible assistance to our Army forces in their many difficult problems in this country. I believe it would be preferable that these persons be commissioned in the Army. If this cannot be done, they might be employed in civilian status.

Respectfully yours,

C. E. Gauss
  1. Memorandum dated January 22, 1944, not printed.
  2. Fulton Freeman.
  3. Commanding General, U. S. Army Forces in China, Burma, and India.