Memorandum by the Agricultural Attaché in China (Dawson)34

Memorandum for State and Agriculture

I am informed by the new Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Y. T. Tsur, that he has prepared a Proposal for Technical Collaboration in Agriculture between the United States and China.

It will take some days for it to come through the regular channels to the Embassy for transmittal to the State Department. The Minister has therefore let me see a draft of this proposal in the event that I had to be away when the formal document came through.

It contains a request for specialists to tea, silk, rough wool, tung oil fisheries and soy bean processing (especially for better utilization for [Page 1439]food purposes). These specialists are asked for three years. In addition, they ask for two men of high standing for general advice on planning—one on general agricultural research and one more specialized in agricultural economics and program planning. The latter two are asked for a period of four to six months.

These specialists are asked to come to Nanking some time between November and February. They will be furnished with collaborators and all facilities possible, including housing for themselves, and their families if necessary. Travel facilities and expenses will be furnished by the Ministry.

The proposal seems to cover the reservations regarding commitments by the United States outlined in the Department’s cable.35

No doubt the Departments of State and Agriculture have already given some thought to the type of specialists which would be most useful in some of the fields mentioned. I wish to present a few comments as of possible aid in this connection based upon talks with Dr. T. H. Shen and others:

In general the six technical specialists should know thoroughly the market requirements, research technique and problems of processing products in their field. The latter two are more for advising on the long-term programs of development relating to the broader phases of production and marketing programs, integration of agricultural research, extension and education.

The tung oil specialist needs to advise on problems related to harvesting, storage and pressing and if possible tung tree improvement.

As regards tea I think Mr. E. Vere Powers can give you some good advice as to the type of specialist most needed. He would be a good candidate for the mission himself if he is available. I am sending a copy of a program for China36 he gave me some time ago.

For silk, improved processing and standardizing is needed. A pathologist is also needed for silk worm breeding but I believe Dr. Shen figures the former is of less immediate importance. The special ist on silk at the Tariff Commission could make some recommendations as to a candidate on the processing and standardizing phases.

For wool, problems of production and standardization are of most importance. In connection with the former I had a long talk with C. C. Chang, Commissioner of Reconstruction in Kansu Province. He pointed out the importance of the following in wool improvement in order of emphasis:

Increasing the amount of feed.
Improving quality.
Disease prevention.
Improvement of breeds.

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He thinks there is a great potential demand for wool in China itself besides export demand. He does not believe standardizing wool for market needs so much emphasis as the production phases. Spring losses to sheep and other livestock in the North West are tremendous and to a large degree are attributed to nutritional deficiencies. Dr. Ralph Phillips who gave particular mention to the subject of wool improvement in China in his report can furnish some excellent advice on this subject. I hope to have some discussions with Mover37 on this topic in the near future.

The need for a specialist on marine fishing as well as some advice on fresh water fishing has been emphasized by several people. Among the trainees on the UNRRA38 program there was a fisheries expert, Dr. Wang, who has since returned to China. He was given some opportunity for studying fisheries technique in the States. I believe UNRRA is giving consideration to sending Mr. Fred Misness, an American fisheries expert, to China to advise on the rehabilitation program. If so, he should be consulted, or someone else in Washington familiar with their program, so that the two requests are coordinated.

I think it should not be difficult to find a specialist on soy bean processing, especially for improving their utilization for food purposes. The Japanese had some rather extensive work going on in Dairen and no doubt their laboratories and plants are still intact which would be very favorable factor in developing a program in this field.

Regarding the specialists for over-all advice on the broad program, for one, I wonder if Dr. Erie Englund could be spared. His experience in various fields of agricultural economics would be most helpful at this stage of China’s planning. In addition, he could help us decide on the ground what is best for expanding the work of O.F.A.R.39 in the China area in the post-war period.

I am informed that the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has started working on a program to implement the statements of their “General Principles of Agricultural Policy” passed by the Sixth National Congress of Kuomintang Delegates last May. We now have in the process of translation a paper on “China’s Potential Agricultural Resources”. These and numerous other data can be assembled for study by the Mission upon their arrival.

In my opinion conditions would be better for survey work after the first of the year. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry [Page 1441]would also be better set up at Nanking to receive the various specialists. Most of the Mission at least could well spend a month or two in the Nanking–Shanghai area and neighboring provinces, studying materials, conferring with agricultural specialists, industrialists and others. Some of the specialists might feel the need of going to more distant areas soon after arrival where travel conditions might be difficult until after February one.

As I have indicated before where laboratory facilities or testing devices are extensively required in a program of agricultural development some difficulties may be encountered in the immediate post-war period. That is a problem not now clear in view of the over-all problems of rehabilitation and reconstruction but the Ministry of Agriculture is working hard on the matter.

Owen L. Dawson
  1. Date of receipt not indicated.
  2. No. 1359, August 29, 8 p.m., p. 1437.
  3. Not found in Department files.
  4. Raymond T. Moyer, Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations, Department of Agriculture.
  5. United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.
  6. Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations, Department of Agriculture.