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

No. 557

Sir: The Department has received the Embassy’s despatch No. 2077 of January 27, 1944, enclosing a copy of a memorandum dated January 15, 1944,25 written by Professor Harold L. Cross of the School of Journalism, regarding the attitude of the students of this institution toward the American conception of the freedom of the press.

The Department requests that the Embassy thank Professor Cross for his courtesy in making this interesting information available. The Department agrees with the Embassy that the establishment of [Page 1125]the School of Journalism probably has a beneficial effect, especially in the way through which contact between the American members of the faculty and the students may affect the point of view of the students.

It is noted that Professor Cross has misgivings because the School is a part of the Central Political Institute and is, therefore, in a Party rather than a Government institution. The Department realizes that the Nationalist Party operates in accordance with rules that in some cases are repugnant, both in theory and in practice, to American citizens accustomed to freedom of the press. The Department sympathizes with his dissatisfaction if he feels that the School of Journalism is being used to strengthen a system of press control in China. It would be interesting to learn, however, whether he does not feel that the opportunity to serve in a Party institution has advantages.

Since very few foreigners have been admitted to membership in the Kuomintang and since Party agencies are generally closed to foreigners, it might be inferred that appointments to serve in Party institutions offer exceptional opportunities to influence Chinese persons not ordinarily accessible to foreigners. The Department would like to know whether the Embassy thinks that the value of these opportunities exists in theory only, or whether it is actually worth while for American citizens to render this type of service, in spite of the annoyances they encounter, in the hope that during the period of Party tutelage American democratic influence may be brought to bear on the Party itself, thus modifying Chinese policy at its source.

So far as the Department is aware, through the conduct of the program of cultural relations more American citizens than nationals of any other one country are working in Kuomintang and National Government agencies in China. Again, in theory, this would seem to lay the foundation for a continuing intellectual collaboration between American institutions, both official and private, and Chinese Government agencies. Does the Embassy think that this practical result is being achieved?

It is desirable from the standpoint of harmony between the Western Hemisphere and the Far East and from the standpoint of American interests in the Far East that whatever intellectual cooperation between Chinese and American citizens has gone on in the past shall continue and expand. In the past American citizens on their private initiative have created strong cultural bonds between the two countries, but the present tendency of the Chinese Government is to circumscribe private initiative in fields formerly open to it. It may be advantagous, therefore, for the American Government to supplement American private initiative in various directions. Enabling [Page 1126]legislation has been introduced into Congress designed to authorize the extension to other areas of the Department’s present cultural activities in the American republics. Until the Congress has declared its attitude in regard to the broad policy involved no plans for the continuance of the cultural program with China can be made.

In the meantime, the Department would welcome the Embassy’s comments on specific questions raised in this instruction relating to service by American citizens in Party and Government agencies in China.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
G. Howland Shaw
  1. Neither printed.