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

No. 2218

Sir: Referring to the Embassy’s despatch no. 2018 of January 13, 1944,70 in regard to the “Join the Army Movement” among Chinese university students, I have the honor to enclose a translation70 of an article from the Sao Tang Pao of February 1, 1944, containing Chinese regulations governing the conscription of recent university graduates for service as interpreters with various Chinese military organizations and with the American armed forces.

Summary. The conscription of university graduates for service as interpreters with Chinese and American military units was introduced a few weeks ago in the five major universities in the Chungking area and training classes were started for these graduates on February 1. After a two months’ course in English, American history, government and geography and Chinese history, government and geography, these graduates are to be attached to the Staff Training Corps (San Min Chu I Youth Corps), to Allied forces, to the Chinese Expeditionary Army and to the Aeronautical Affairs Commission with ranks ranging from captain to lieutenant colonel. It is understood that these students will be sent for service in India, Kunming and Kweilin. All recent graduates of Chinese universities are said to be subject to conscription for this service except those in medical and teachers colleges and women students. One-tenth of the number will be selected for study abroad at Government expense after two years’ service and it is understood that all of the students will be eligible without further examination to go abroad at their own expense for study. End of Summary.

It is believed that the conscription of university graduates for service as interpreters with the Chinese and American military units may have arisen from the desire of the Chinese authorities to meet the anti-Chinese feeling among American troops as well as to provide necessary interpreters for the armed forces. Chinese student reaction has been one of mixed approval. Chinese observers state that the students are pleased to have an opportunity to go to India and possibly the United States for further study after the completion of the service but that many of the students whose English is insufficient for work as interpreters are distressed at the prospect of such service, as they realize that a two months’ course of training is scarcely likely to enable them to acquire any great facility in the English language.

Respectfully yours,

C. E. Gauss
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