The Second Secretary of Embassy in China (Drumright) to the Ambassador in China (Gauss)5
Sir: I have the honor to refer to my despatch no. 15, January 28, 19446 entitled “Journey to South Shensi”, and to enclose herewith a memorandum prepared on the subject “Colleges in Chengku, Shensi, Area”.7
Summary of memorandum. Northwestern University and Northwestern College of Engineering are located in or near Chengku; the graduating class of Northwestern Normal College is also at Chengku. The standards of all these schools have dropped since the beginning of the war. Chronic shortage of funds, lack of equipment and reference works, poor housing, inadequate lighting, and undernourishment are among the chief factors. Salaries of professors, instructors and administrative personnel are so low in terms of current costs of living that they live a precarious hand-to-mouth existence with a resultant lowering of initiative, spirit and efficiency. Formerly student disturbances were frequent at Northwestern University. The discipline and the standard of scholarship among the students of Northwestern Normal College and Northwestern College of Engineering are reported to be superior to those of Northwestern University. The greater part of Northwestern Normal College has already been removed to Lanchow and removal will be completed before the fall term commences. Northwestern University is planning to remove to Sian when the war is over. Present plans envisage the removal of Northwestern College of Engineering to Paoki or Tienshui when the war is over. The Kuomintang is active in these institutions through the agency of the San Min Chu Yi Youth Corps. Communism doubtless exists among the student body but has been driven underground. American microfilm equipment, books and periodicals are urgently desired by these institutions. End of summary.
Comment. The chief impression I derived from my visit to these schools and discussions held with professors or others with a knowledge thereof was that the faculties and students are carrying on under what are tantamount to incredible hardships and difficulties. Undoubtedly, the standard of scholarship in all these schools has fallen to an unprecedentedly low level, but it may be argued that a low level of learning is better than none at all. I feel that the American Government should do all that is within its power to assist these institutions to obtain up-to-date equipment, books, periodicals, et cetera. They need all the encouragement available in this hour of dire need.