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

No. 526

Sir: The Department refers to the Embassy’s despatch No. 1901 of December 11, 1943 and earlier despatches No. 1867 and No. 183113 dealing with the complaint made by Professor Paul B. Eaton that the staff of the Embassy has not been concerned about his welfare.

In its despatch No. 1867 of November 30, 1943 the Embassy indicates its impression that “some of the specialists tend to lack comprehensive and definitive information in regard to various phases of their work and as to their exact status”. The Department believes that it would be useful if the Embassy would suggest the draft of a statement fully explaining all those practical details that the Embassy believes should be impressed upon the specialists while they are still in Washington prior to their departure for China.

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In case the Embassy does not realize the manner in which its relations with the American specialists may affect the Department it is desirable to view the picture as a whole. The promotion of cultural relations between corresponding elements of the populations of different countries is becoming a recognized function of government. The Buenos Aires Convention of 1936,14 to which the United States is a signatory, is a step in this direction. In promoting such relations this Government necessarily relies upon assistance from American citizens, and upon technical, educational and research organizations. There is, for example, a General Advisory Committee set up to assist the Department in these matters, composed of prominent scholars and educators. The specialists sent to China for the assistance of the Chinese Government are a factor in promoting cultural relations. Their services represent not only a voluntary contribution on their part, but also, in most cases, a contribution on the part of organizations that have consented to their temporary separation for this purpose. In many cases the specialists are members of influential technical societies and these societies follow their cultural activities with interest. In the case of Professor Eaton, for example, the Department is led to believe from correspondence in its files that he is a highly thought of member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He conveyed a message from his Society to the Chinese Institute of Engineers. In the case of Mr. Kintner, the Timken Roller Bearing Company, his employers, not only consented to release him temporarily, but also paid $2,000 for a set of plans for a steam hammer, in order that he might make the plans available to the Chinese Government. The Department desires that, if possible, the reports made by the specialists to the organizations with which they have affiliations shall reflect amicable relations with the Department and its officers. This is one means by which the activities of the Department may become widely and favorably known to the American public.

When considerable numbers of men unacquainted with practices in official life and with existing conditions in a foreign country are sent abroad it is inevitable that some of them may find it difficult to adjust themselves to the conditions they meet. Out of the 20 specialists who have gone to China the Department is gratified to note that the Embassy has reported embarrassment with only 2 or 3. When exceptions to the general rule occur the Department hopes that the officers of the Embassy will draw upon their resources of forbearance and tact and endeavor to make these temporary collaborators with the Department aware that the Embassy is anxious to do what it can to ameliorate the hardships of their life abroad and is, in fact, taking [Page 1119]all such steps in that direction as may be possible. A reading of the correspondence would indicate that it is not so much the lack of certain specific advantages that troubles Professor Eaton as his erroneous idea that the Embassy is indifferent to the welfare of himself and the other specialists.

The Department is aware that the officers of the Embassy have numerous and difficult duties to perform and that the conditions of living in Chungking are uncomfortable for them as well as for the specialists. The Department will, therefore, the more appreciate the exercise of such patience and tact as may be necessary in relations between the Embassy staff and these employees on temporary assignments.

With the receipt from the Embassy of the draft statement suggested earlier in this despatch and of the corrections and additions to the mimeographed “Information for American Officials Going to China”, the Department will be better equipped to orient the specialists before they leave the United States in regard to the duties they will perform and the conditions they will meet on arrival at Chungking.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
G. Howland Shaw
  1. None printed.
  2. Signed December 23, 1936, Department of State Treaty Series No. 928, or 51 Stat. 178.