123 Sumner, John: Telegram

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

1428. 1. John Sumner departed from Washington for Miami October 18 en route to Chungking. As you know, Sumner is proceeding to Chungking as Adviser on Economic Affairs to the Embassy. He will, as a member of your staff, work under your direction. Subject to modification by such ideas as you may have for his work, the following is a general statement of the Department’s conception of the scope of Sumner’s work:

He will concern himself primarily with investigation of Chinese plans for post-war reconstruction with particular reference to industrialization. He will endeavor to obtain from the Chinese their plans for industrialization, analyze those plans, assess their practicability, and relate them to other phases of Chinese economic life, for example, agriculture, trade and finance. He will report from time to time through the Embassy to the Department with regard to his findings and at the conclusion of his assignment, which is expected to last at least 6 months, he will prepare a full report with recommendations.

Mr. Sumner will not be concerned directly with plans for relief and rehabilitation but he will make a study of UNRRA’s52a plans for China and keep in touch with the Administration’s representatives in China. He will also maintain close contact in China with the representatives of FEA who are to keep him informed of such plans and operations as they may have which have a bearing on his work.

2. In your communications concerning Chinese economic plans, including your valuable despatch 2955 of September 4 reference is made to the possibility that the Chinese Government may propose that we send an economic mission to China. The attitude of the Department toward such a proposal would depend in large part on the availability of information as to the nature and state of Chinese plans [Page 1083]for economic reconstruction. The Department does not feel it would be advisable at this time to give the Chinese any encouragement for making such a proposal. It hopes that Sumner will be able to obtain information which will be helpful in the event a decision is required in the matter.

3. American business groups are evidencing a growing and critical interest in Chinese plans for reconstruction. It is clear that China looks chiefly to the United States for assistance at the end of the war in carrying out reconstruction. This situation calls for alertness and diligence on the Department’s part in keeping itself currently, correctly and fully informed of developments in the economic field in China. It is expected that Chinese Government agencies in Chungking will make available to Mr. Sumner such plans and studies as they may have or may subsequently prepare in the field of reconstruction.

4. Chinese plans will, it is hoped, be in harmony with our general post-war economic objectives, including an increase in the interchange of goods and services under non-discriminatory conditions and the establishment of a stable and prosperous Chinese economy. The attainment of these broad objectives will be aided by the development, through more complete understanding, of general tests of the soundness of proposed plans for economic development.

  1. United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.