The Secretary of War (Patterson) to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: Your letter, OIC/IDC of January 7, 1946, concerning the State Department’s proposal to dispatch a mission of three survey and mapping experts to China, has been received. The War Department is eager to establish intimate diplomatic relations with China on the basis of freely rendering technical assistance and material aid in support of the Chinese Government’s mapping project, in return for copies of maps and the privilege to establish aerial photographic units and ground survey troops in China for the purpose of extending and improving certain mapping in China.

Diplomatic negotiations are now under way in connection with the China aspects of the War Department’s post hostilities mapping plan. These negotiations are being carried forth by your Department in accordance with the War Department’s memoranda to Mr. Frederick B. Lyon, Chief of the Division of Foreign Activity Correlation, under dates of October 16 and October 29, 1945.5 These negotiations have in view the accomplishment of the War Department’s objectives in mapping negotiations with China.

The War Department prefers, for the present, to defer action on any additional project involving mapping aid to China until the results of the current negotiations become apparent. It is held that further cooperation in mapping with the Chinese should be dependent upon the successful completion of the negotiations already undertaken.

Upon the receipt of information that the aims sought by the War Department in the referenced memoranda have been agreed upon with the Government of China, this department will be prepared to give material support to the proposal to dispatch both technical personnel [Page 1265] and other assistance to the mapping organization of the Chinese Government.

However, it is felt that the impetus for reorganization of the Chinese survey service, if required, should stem from the Chinese Government. Such a move may be made as a result of negotiations now being undertaken to secure bases in China for photographic aircraft and field survey parties, and from this department’s point of view it would appear preferable to permit a Chinese delegation to examine our own modern mapping facilities, their organization and equipment, with a view toward improving their own service on the basis of this new knowledge, rather than to attempt to accomplish this purpose by means of a mission to China of American experts in this field.

It is believed that the best results will be obtained if China accedes to our desires to perform necessary aerial mapping photography thereof and a minimum of field control, with the matter of further participation in the program being left to the Chinese Government.

Sincerely yours,

Robert P. Patterson
  1. Neither found in Department files, but see telegram No. 1776, November 1, 1945, 4 p.m., to the Chargé in China, p. 1261.