124.93/1–1345: Telegram

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

53. Coordination of U. S. civil establishments at Chungking and Embassy staff requirements.

1. Donald Nelson recommended to the President by letter October 1936 that man of outstanding qualifications be appointed to head FEA37 establishment at Chungking and be given rate [rank] of Minister to work under general direction of the Ambassador. President indicated he approved.

I do not believe that this recommendation goes far enough. I suggest that what we must consider is the broad basis of (a) our needs for active, day to day supervision and coordination of the related [Page 32] functions and operations of all U. S. Civil Government agencies here; (b) our needs for (1) coordinating those activities with the requirements of American political and economic policy as invested in the Embassy and for (2) coordinating all appropriate activities with the needs of the theater commander and directing them into channels concretely helpful to our armed forces in the war against Japan.

Accordingly I recommend that a qualified Foreign Service Officer or auxiliary officer (such as a mature, experienced business executive who is politically as well as economically minded) be assigned here to act as over-all coordinator and supervisor of the various civil agencies, or civil branches of other agencies, with which Embassy has affiliation or relations, including the American advisers on Chinese War Production Board, leaving for the time being the present administrative structures of those agencies as they are. I am mindful in this respect of the need of fair recognition of the work of the heads of agencies and their position vis-à-vis Chinese officials with whom they deal. For example, Stanton40 who heads FEA here is doing a very good job and his personal position should not be lowered in the eyes of the Chinese.

In accordance with Nelson’s recommendation that the new appointee operate under the direction of the Ambassador, and as the direction and coordination of American Civil Affairs should logically rest in the Embassy, I recommend that the new appointee be assigned as staff officer of the Embassy. I feel that this could be most appropriately accomplished by following precedents we have established in other countries by assigning him here as Counselor for Economic Affairs with personal rank of Minister. As such he could under my direction and in my behalf (a) preside over the weekly meetings we have inaugurated of representatives here of all American civil and military agencies; (b) carry on, expand and make more effective the much needed work of coordination which we have started; and (c) enter into active supervision of appropriate activities as a full time job. Atcheson41 and senior officers of the Embassy concur fully in these recommendations.

2. Embassy has a number of additional urgent staff needs, some of which have been previously brought to Department’s attention. These needs are daily growing more urgent, as follows:

a thoroughly qualified Commercial Attaché having intellectual and technical capacity to study and report on China’s vital economic [and] financial problems as well as to continue Sumner’s42 work after latter’s departure. With present needs in this respect being augmented [Page 33] by increasing requests from Commerce Department for wide variety of economic and commercial reporting. Commercial Attaché should have at least two officers to assist him, at least one American confidential typist, and a number of Chinese assistants and typists. Boehringer,43 who has been in charge of Embassy’s Commercial Section, is due to be returned to U.S. in 2 months and should in any case be relieved of this work in order that he might devote himself to wartime economic reporting on occupied areas. (His replacement should be qualified to do such reporting.) Howard,44 who has been handling visas and citizenship, should have his commercial reporting training utilized in the Commercial Attaché’s office. (See (e) below.45)
First Secretary with demonstrated capacity for administrative work and with both Embassy and Consular experience to replace Yunj46 as result of latter’s resignation. None of the other second secretaries assigned here have had the all-around administrative experience in large diplomatic and consular offices necessary to take over our administrative desk with its wide variety of duties and problems arising from peculiar situation here and our close relations with the U. S. Army and other Government agencies. It is a task which requires quick thinking, accuracy, decisiveness and great versatility.
Political officers. Our highly important Political Section must be adequately staffed. We are handicapped at the present time because of the detail of so many officers to the army and at the same time the ordering home of two of our best political reporters simultaneously. Under present staff conditions the two officers at present assigned to the Political Section necessarily devote a major portion of their time to such time-consuming problems as withdrawal of American citizens, protection cases and Chinese translation work. We should have at least one additional and competent political reporting officer.
[Here follows an outline of clerical requirements.]

4. I make these recommendations after full consideration and consultation with my staff officers. Ever since my assumption of charge of this Embassy it has been a matter my daily wonder to me how the present inadequate staff manages to carry on under present conditions. I express the hope that the Department will be able to give immediate attention to these matters.

  1. Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. vi, p. 280.
  2. Foreign Economic Administration.
  3. W. T. Stanton.
  4. George Atcheson, Jr., Counselor of Embassy.
  5. John D. Sumner, Adviser on Economic Affairs.
  6. Carl H. Boehringer, Second Secretary of Embassy.
  7. Hungerford B. Howard, Third Secretary of Embassy.
  8. Not printed.
  9. William E. Yuni, Second Secretary of Embassy.