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

No. 1015

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s top secret air mail instruction No. 419 of September 10, 1947, regarding the interest of the United States Government in Chinese deposits of radioactive [Page 1020] minerals, and containing comment on the Embassy’s secret despatch No. 840 of June 27, 1947,9 subject: “Information on Deposits of Radioactive Minerals in China.”

During the course of several conversations in July with Dr. Wong Wen-hao, Chairman of the National Resources Commission, an officer of the Embassy discussed with him the possibility of having the Chinese Government supply to the Embassy detailed information on deposits of radioactive minerals in China. Dr. Wong said that he would have to take up that suggestion with the Generalissimo and suggested that the Embassy send a letter to him, signed by Ambassador Stuart, formally requesting such information. A letter, drawn up as suggested by Dr. Wong, was sent to him by the Embassy on July 28.

There is now enclosed a copy of Dr. Wong’s reply dated August 5, 1947,9 stating that he had obtained the Generalissimo’s permission to supply to the Embassy, for reference to the United States Government, certain documents regarding deposits of uranium and other rare minerals in China. At the same time, Dr. Wong enclosed copies of five reports, three of which are unpublished documents and two published papers. Copies of these five reports are enclosed with this despatch.10 A list of the reports is attached to the enclosed copy of Dr. Wong’s letter.

The most comprehensive and up-to-date report is the one entitled “Note on the Uranium and other Rare Metal Deposits in China,” prepared in the spring of 1947 by Dr. C. Y. Hsieh (Hsieh Chia-yung), Director of the Mineral Exploration Bureau of the National Resources Commission.* Dr. Hsieh states that deposits of uranium and other rare metals have thus far been found in the following three regions of China: (1) the Liaotung Bay region including localities in Hopei and Liaoning Provinces; (2) the Yinshan region of east Suiyuan and north Shansi; and (3) the Nanling mountain area including localities in northeast Kwangsi and Kwangtung Provinces.

Dr. Hsieh gives information regarding the Haicheng deposits in the Liaotung Bay region, these deposits assertedly having been worked by the Japanese in the early part of 1944 and up to March 1945, during which period a total of 4.4472 tons of hand-picked concentrates were produced. The average content of the concentrate in the ore was one to 5,000, equivalent to 0.02 percent. The uranium (UO2) content of the concentrate is said to average 8 percent.

[Page 1021]

Dr. Hsieh states that the Yinshan mountain region “is one of the richest store houses of rare metals deposits in China,” the most important locality being Shamentien. Regarding the deposits in the Nanling mountain area, Dr. Hsieh states that a uranium deposit has been discovered at Huangchanping, about 60 kilometers northwest of Paipu, which is the center of the Fuhochung tin placer mining in northeast Kwangsi Province.

The remaining four articles appear to be of secondary importance, especially when compared with Dr. Hsieh’s comprehensive and recently prepared treatise. Some of the geological information contained therein, however, may prove useful to the concerned agencies of the United States Government.

Regarding the statements made in the Department’s instruction under reference, the Embassy notes with interest that a competent American geologist may soon be appointed to visit China for the purpose of conducting a series of interviews with Dr. Wong Wen-hao and Dr. Sa Pen-tung, and possibly other Chinese officials. The Embassy hesitates in making this information available to Drs. Wong and Sa, and will not do so until so instructed by the Department, possibly when the aforementioned geologist has been selected.

The Embassy appreciates receiving the copy of a letter dated January 9, 1947, addressed to Mr. Penfield by Mr. E. A. Bayne.11 The Department’s assumption that the Embassy did not receive a copy of this letter is correct.

In closing, the Embassy ventures to express the opinion that the material supplied by Dr. Wong should prove valuable for the purpose of properly assessing the extent and importance of the known deposits of radioactive minerals in China, and also the extent and type of geological and other research work thus far done in regard to such deposits.

Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
William T. Turner

First Secretary of Embassy
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. None printed.
  4. According to the 1944 edition of the official China Handbook, Dr. Hsieh was born at Shanghai in 1900, and received his M. S. from the University of Wisconsin in 1920. From 1940 to 1941 he held the position of director of the mining survey department of the Geological Survey of China; since 1941 he has served as director of the Mining Exploration Bureau of the NRC. [Footnote in the original.]
  5. Supra.