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

No. 419

The Secretary of State refers to the Embassy’s despatch No. 840 of June 27, 1947,1 transmitting information on deposits of radioactive minerals in China and indicating a willingness on the part of certain Chinese officials to discuss United States surveys for such minerals with representatives of the United States Government. The Department and other agencies of the government are deeply interested in possibilities of this character and the Department appreciates the work of the Embassy and of the Consular Offices in China in this connection. The subject has been discussed in some detail by representatives of the Department, including Mr. Walton Butterworth,2 and the Atomic Energy Commission.

It has been decided that the first step toward effective operations in China should be a series of interviews with Dr. Wong Wen-hao3 and Dr. Sa Pen-tung,4 and possibly other Chinese officials, by a competent geologist selected and briefed by the Atomic Energy Commission. An effort is now under way to select the right man. When he is chosen you will be notified promptly.

Obviously the mission would be of great importance and the Department knows that it can count on the Embassy’s fullest cooperation.

There is enclosed for the information of the Embassy a copy of a letter from the Special Adviser on Enemy Property Affairs, Mr. E. A. Bayne, with respect to this same subject, which the Embassy does not appear to have received. This letter was acknowledged by a personal note5 from Mr. Penfield.6

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The Special Adviser to the Chinese Executive Yuan on Enemy Property Affairs (Bayne) to the Deputy Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs (Penfield)

Dear Jim: Not long ago some enterprising foreign correspondent published the story that uranium deposits existed in Manchuria, and that these deposits had been exploited by the Japanese. The deposits lie within fifty kilometers north of Yingkow, are relatively easy to work and reasonably close to rail transportation. Production during the last year of the Japanese control was in the neighborhood of 1,000 tons.

At a dinner conversation with Drs. Wong Wen-hao and Y. C. Sun last night, the continued exploitation of the deposit was brought up. Dr. Sun, deputy director of the National Resources Commission and generally recognized top Chinese mining executive, remarked that the area was free of Communists now and could be worked. Dr. Wong immediately urged that it be fully exploited and ore shipped out of the area as soon as possible, if necessary taking the matter of priority up with the Generalissimo.7 Shipments would be small, Dr. Sun said, but the quality of ore relatively good. I remarked that the United States would probably be interested in the ore and the general assumption was that the ore would be transported to the United States. Greatest production would probably be about 2,000 tons per year.

Other deposits of this ore are known to exist in Kwangsi and Yunnan, but the survey shows only small amounts and not to be compared with this Manchurian deposit. If the Department desires additional information and any further action on this subject, I would be happy to handle it. These two gentlemen are very close friends.

Sincerely yours,

E. A. Bayne
  1. Not printed.
  2. Assigned to the Department, August 6; appointed Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs, September 15.
  3. Chairman of the Chinese National Resources Commission.
  4. Permanent member of the Chinese National Research Council.
  5. Not found in Department files.
  6. James K. Penfield, Deputy Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs.
  7. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, President of the National Government of the Republic of China.