Nanking Embassy Files, Lot F79, 861 Agricultural Mission

Mr. Leslie A. Wheeler 21 to the Agricultural Attaché in China ( Dawson ), at Shanghai

Dear Mr. Dawson: In preparing for the Agricultural Mission to be sent to China, Messrs. Moore, Buck, and Moyer,22 who are working on this matter, have found certain questions on which clarification [Page 1277] with the Chinese Government seems required. A statement of these points is given in a separate memorandum, attached.

Objectives of the Mission. These are in general consistent with your statement of them in the memorandum presented to General Marshall, January 23, 1946;23 and the same ideas are brought out in our reply to the Chinese Government request, Cable No. 239, February 6, 1946. In emphasis, however, they may differ from what is implied in the Chinese request; so we wish to be certain that an understanding exists.

There follow the reasons why we favor the objectives as stated:

In respect to objective 1, we feel that a strong central agency organized to include and integrate national action in the implementation of China’s agricultural program is of first importance to the effectiveness of her unilateral effort and to the success of the proposed technical collaboration between our two countries. Therefore, along with the determination of the agricultural program, we are emphasizing organization and administrative considerations to implement it. If this is accepted, the “Research Specialist” requested for the Mission should be a man especially qualified in the organization and administration of public services in agriculture rather than one who would confine himself to a research program. Although advice in a research program will be provided for specific commodities by the “special commodities group,” in a national program, research is only a part of objectives 1 and 2 and the long-term collaborative program may subsequently require a research consultant as well as consultants in such fields as extension, education, and other subject-matter disciplines.
In respect to objective 2, President Truman has stated:24 “As China moves towards peace and unity …25 the United States would be prepared to assist the National Government of China in every possible way … to improve the agrarian economy.” With this statement in mind, it seems probable that the scope of collaboration may include other fields of effort than those included in the present request of the Chinese government. Therefore, we would prefer that this Mission help develop the probable over-all agricultural program of China, and within this program recommend specific fields for comprehensive collaboration.
Although funds available to the Department of Agriculture do not extend beyond the six months’ period allowed to the Mission, it is anticipated that authority and funds will be available for long-term collaboration. Therefore, it seems wiser that the efforts of the Mission be largely confined to planning, as stated in objectives 1 and 2, along with such immediate assistance as might be given under objective 3.

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Members of the Mission and Their Qualifications follow pretty closely the suggestions made in communications which you have forwarded from China, with the exception of the “Research Specialist” already discussed. We have set up qualifications in the personnel for special commodities which will provide an integrated Mission and enable it to advise on basic problems other than those specifically requested as foreseen in (b) above.

Our conversations here, especially with Mr. K. S. Sie, in respect to special commodities, have emphasized that comprehensive advice for each commodity should be supplied insofar as possible. We of course agree with this position and our programs in Latin America are carried out on this basis. Competence in credit and marketing and in extension—essential fields in a comprehensive program—is lacking in the special commodities group if only a specialist for each commodity is supplied. Therefore, we are suggesting the addition of a credit and marketing specialist and of an extension specialist to this group. (It will be noted that the special commodities group, if desired, will be able to advise on certain interrelated problems in the fields of chemical processing, agricultural engineering, animal husbandry, credit and marketing, and extension.)

In regard to the extension specialist, we will be unable to include a ninth member of the Mission. You have been requested by cable to investigate the possibility of making available to this Mission the assistance of Mr. B. L. Hummel. We understand that Mr. Hummel has been assigned to the Chinese National Government by UNRRA26 as Extension Specialist to advise on problems of a national program. His advice should be available to the Mission without detracting from the rehabilitation program.

In view of the policy as stated by President Truman and the importance of this Mission, we are considering taking steps here to have the Mission accredited to the National Government rather than to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. We hope to consult with General Marshall in this regard before his departure from the United States.

Will you kindly consult with appropriate officials to assure that there is complete understanding of the program as outlined herein, and cable us as to its acceptance resulting from your discussions. Since time will not allow that we delay all action in obtaining personnel for this Mission until a reply to these questions has been received, we shall begin shortly with preliminary steps. If your knowledge of the situation makes you think that a serious difference of opinion may exist on any point covered in this communication, we think it well that [Page 1279] you advise us to this effect at once. The Mission will not finally be made up until word on all questions raised has been received.

With kind regards [etc.],

L. A. Wheeler

Objectives of a Program of Technical Collaboration in Agriculture *

Assuming that the general objectives of the United States with regard to China include the development of a strong and unified China and the growth of an expanding trade between these countries, it must be our more specific objective to encourage a simultaneous development of China’s agriculture and industry, for the following reasons:
The market for American goods in China is largely a potential market, which will exist only after it has been developed. For this development there is required the establishment of a greatly expanded industry to utilize the goods which we wish to sell.
Large-scale and sustained developments in industry, on the other hand, will take place only if there is a large increase in the domestic demand for goods and services that industry can provide, and this demand will be created only when the rural population of China has the surplus purchasing power brought about by an increased per capita output of farm products.
The development of China’s agriculture also will help: (1) to produce materials for export, in order to pay for goods imported; and (2) to establish the more favorable economic basis necessary to the achievement of internal stability and unity.
In addition to serving these general interests of the United States, it would be the further objective of a program of technical collaboration to serve the following particular interests of American industry and agriculture:
The United States, in the past, has been a large consumer of certain, largely non-competitive, agricultural commodities produced in China, such as tung oil, silk, tea and carpet wool, and a considerable quantity of some of these products might be brought from China after the war, to the advantage of both countries, if improvements are made in their production, standardization, processing and marketing.
The United States has been greatly benefited in the past by developments based on plant material originating in China—the soybean and the citrus industries being notable examples—and it is certain that there might still be brought from China a great deal which [Page 1280] potentially is of value to American agriculture, in plant and animal materials as well as in farm practices developed in the course of centuries of trial and error.

To assist in accomplishing these ends, deemed favorable to the two countries concerned, and without an intention to exploit any potential resource for the benefit of our country alone, the Department of Agriculture favors the lending of assistance to China in developing its agriculture through programs of technical collaboration, in line with the stated objectives.

  1. Director of the Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations (O. F. A. R.), Department of Agriculture.
  2. Ross E. Moore, J. Lossing Buck, and Raymond T. Moyer, O. F. A. R., Department of Agriculture.
  3. Memorandum by Mr. Dawson to the Counselor of Embassy in China, not printed; marginal notation by Mr. Smyth to Mr. Dawson stated: “Shown to Gen. Marshall Jan. 24 who says he has no objection. RLS”.
  4. Statement of December 15, 1945, on United States policy toward China, Department of State, United States Relations With China (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1949), p. 607.
  5. Omissions indicated in the original.
  6. United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.
  7. Set forth by the Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations, United States Department of Agriculture. [Footnote in the original.]