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Propaganda and Sovereignty in Wartime China: Morale Operations and Psychological Warfare under the Office of War Information*

  • MATTHEW D. JOHNSON (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

During the later years of the War of Resistance to Japan (1937–1945), United States (US) propaganda activities intensified in both Japanese military-occupied and ‘free’ regions of China. One of the most important organizations behind these activities was the Office of War Information (OWI). This paper examines the OWI, and particularly its Overseas Office, as key institutional actors within a broader US total war effort which touched the lives of civilian populations in East Asia as well as combatants, arguing that:

US propaganda institutions and propagandists played demonstrable roles in representing and shaping the experience of war in China;

these institutions, which included Asians and individuals of Asian descent, simultaneously acted to advance US goals in the wartime ‘Far East’;

while cooperation between US and Chinese governments was sporadic in the area of psychological warfare, conflicts over control often undermined or limited operations;

despite these shortcomings, US propaganda institutions (which included both the OWI and offices within the Department of State) had developed comparatively wide-ranging capabilities by the end of the war, and continued operations into the Civil War of 1945–1949.

By 1945 propaganda had become an activity which regularly targeted allied populations as well as enemies. This process was facilitated by the early twentieth-century communications revolution, but was planned and controlled by the new engineers of the post-war order.

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1 The Office of War Information (OWI) was created on 13 July, 1942, by Executive Order 9182, and also amalgamated the Office of Fact and Figures, Office of Government Reports, and Office for Emergency Management Division of Information into a single organization. The core of its Overseas Branch, however, was the Foreign Information Service of the Coordinator of Information, predecessor to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). See Hawkins L. Jr. and Pettee G. (1943). OWI – Organisation and Problems, The Public Opinion Quarterly, 7:1, 1533; Thompson C. (1948). Overseas Information Service of the United States Government, The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC; Bishop, R. (1966). The Overseas Branch of the Office of War Information, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Wisconsin; Winkler A. (1978). The Politics of Propaganda: The Office of War Information, 1942–1945, Yale University Press, New Haven. On the OSS see Caldwell O. (1972). A Secret War: Americans in China, 1944–1945 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press); Smith R. (1972). OSS: The Secret History of America's First Intelligence Agency, University of California Press, Berkeley; Yu M. (1996). OSS in China: Prelude to a Cold War, Yale University Press, New Haven. More recent scholarship on the post-OWI US Information Agency (USIA) includes Hixson W. (1997). Parting the Curtain: Propaganda, Culture, and the Cold War, 1945–1961, St. Martin's Press, New York; Dizard W. (2004). Inventing Public Diplomacy: The Story of the US Information Agency, Lynne Reinner, Boulder; Guo Y. (2003). ‘Jianxi Leng zhan chuqi Meiguo zhengfu duiwai xuanchuan de zhuanxing’, Dongnan yanjiu, 3, 3337; Guo Y. (2004). ‘Cong guoji xinwen zhu dao Meiguo xinwen zhu—Meiguo duiwai xuanchuan jigou de yanbian’, Dongnan yanjiu, 5, 5862; Osgood K. (2006). Total Cold War: Eisenhower's Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad, University Press of Kansas, Lawrence; Cull N. (2008). The Cold War and the United States Information Agency: American Propaganda and Public Diplomacy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

2 Hawkins and Pettee, ‘OWI’, p. 17.

3 Yu, The Dragon's War, p. 156.

4 For a persuasive and influential statement concerning the centrality of all of these themes, see Hung C. (1994). War and Popular Culture: Resistance in Modern China, 1937–1945, University of California Press, Berkeley.

5 On cultural and popular mobilization under the Reorganised Nationalist Government and its predecessors, see Zhang, Q. and Qi, R. (1990). ‘Jian lun Wang wei jituan de wenhua xuanchuan’ [Brief Consideration of the Cultural Propaganda of the Illegitimate Wang (Jingwei) Clique], Minguo dang'an [Republican Archives], 3; Guo, G. and Tao, Q. (2003), ‘Ri wei zai Huabei xinwen tongzhi shulüe’ [Description of the Illegitimate Japanese (Government) News Control in North China], Minguo dang'an, 4. On Communist-Nationalist united front propaganda efforts see (1990) ‘Di san ting zuzhi jigou yu ganbu yi lan’ [An Overview of (Military Affairs Commission) Third Office Organisation, Institutions, and Personnel], Wuhan wenshi ziliao, 3; (1990) ‘Di san ting zai Wuhan huodong gaikuang (jielu)’ [General Conditions of the (Military Affairs Commission) Third Office's Activities in Wuhan – Notes], Wuhan wenshi ziliao, 3; MacKinnon S. (2008). Wuhan, 1938: War, Refugees, and the Making of Modern China, University of California Press, Berkeley.

6 Kushner B. (2006). The Thought War: Japanese Imperial Propaganda, University of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu. Similar efforts were carried out, with greater demonstrable success, amongst Mongols banners in the provinces of Rehe, Chaha'er, and Suiyuan.

7 Taylor P. (2003). Munitions of the Mind: A History of Propaganda from the Ancient World to the Present Day, 3rd edition, Manchester University Press, Manchester, p. 208.

8 Thompson, Overseas Information Service, p. 17.

9 On US educational and cultural programmes in China after to 1942, see Fairbank W. (1976). America's Cultural Experiment in China, 1942–1949, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, US Department of State, Washington, DC; Ninkovich F. (1980). ‘Cultural Relations and American China Policy, 1942–1945’, The Pacific Historical Review, 49:3; Yuan. Z. and Elliker C. (1997). ‘From the People of the United States of America: The Books for China Programs during World War II’, Libraries and Culture, 32, 191226. Ninkovich, in particular, draws important connections between the state-sponsored, post-1942 programmes and informal pre-1942 organizations such as the China Foundation (established with Boxer Indemnity remissions in 1924), Rockefeller Foundation, Chinese National Association for the Promotion of Education, American Library Association, and programme of Chinese Studies created by the American Council of Learned Societies.

10 Ninkovich, ‘Cultural Relations’, p. 495.

11 Within the Chengdu branch, 18 Chinese staff members were employed in the Administrative Division, three in the Library, nine in the News-Photo Department, five in Radio-Monitoring, and six in the Movie Department. Americans in the office—a total of four individuals—occupied the branch's managerial positions, but remained a numerical minority. F. McCracken Fisher, ‘Notes on American Psychological Warfare in the China Theatre’ (November 1944), 190/8/27/3–4, RG 226, p. 1.

12 For additional perspectives on policy-driven US psychological research and its application during World War Two, see, Simpson C. (1994). Science of Coercion: Communication Research and Psychological Warfare, 1945–1960, Oxford University Press, Oxford; Gilmore A. (1998). You Can't Fight Tanks with Bayonets: Psychological Warfare against the Japanese Army in the Southwest Pacific, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London.

13 Iriye A. (2004). ‘Transnational History’, Contemporary European History, 13:2, 211–22.

14 Simpson, Science of Coercion, pp. 15–22. Mass communications pioneers Harold Lasswell and Walter Lippmann were two of the most important figures within this emerging field which, during the 1930s, was used to ‘immunise the United States’ large immigrant population from the effects of Soviet and Axis propaganda’. ‘Psychological warfare’, a term whose meaning is closely related to the Nazi doctrine of ‘worldview warfare’ (Weltenschauungskreig), denoted application of the new communication science to wartime national goals.

15 Childs H. (1943). Public Information and Opinion, The American Political Science Review, 37:1, 60. Inter-American affairs, by contrast, were handled primarily by the US Department of State Division of Cultural Relations, established in 1938, and Office of the Coordinator of Commercial and Cultural Relations between the American Republics, established in 1940.

16 See Barnes J. (1943). Fighting with Information: OWI Overseas, The Public Opinion Quarterly, 7:1, 3445.

17 Memorandum (1942). Liaison between the Department of State and other Agencies Concerning Cultural Relations with China’, 15 July, 1942, in US Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1942: China, p. 719. Other agencies supporting cultural relations with China included the Bureau of Economic Warfare and Lend-Lease Administration.

18 Overseas Branch, Pacific Operations, Office of Deputy Director draft historical report, n.d. [1944], 350/71/16/3, RG 208, p. 9.

19 RG 208, 350/71/14/4.

20 Minister-Counsellor of Embassy in China (Clark) to Secretary of State, 17 June, 1949, in US Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, Diplomatic Papers, 1949: The Far East, China (Vol. VIII), p. 1091; Memorandum by the Chargé in China (Vincent), 23 April, 1943, in US Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, Diplomatic Papers, 1943: China, p. 847. Fisher himself argued that a more literal translation of the OWI's title, rendered as ‘Wartime Intelligence Bureau’ (Zhanshi qingbao ju), would hinder the organization's operation by attracting additional Chongqing government scrutiny to its activities.

21 Overseas Branch, Pacific Operations, Office of Deputy Director draft historical report, n.d. [1944], 350/71/16/3, RG 208, p. 4.

22 Memorandum, ‘Liaison between the Department of State and other Agencies Concerning Cultural Relations with China’, 15 July, 1942, in US Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1942: China, p. 720. In contrast, the Department of State was engaged primarily in dissemination of scientific and learned journals, and specialist publications in keeping with the US programme of technical assistance.

23 Memorandum, ‘History of Pacific Section, Overseas OWI, Washington’, 20 March, 1944, 350/71/16/3, RG 208, p. 6.

24 For an anecdotal perspective on Chinese Communist Party underground activity carried out within the Yong'an outpost, see Cai L. (2001). ‘Wo zai Meiguo xinwen chu de dixia douzheng’ [My Underground Struggle in the American Information Office], Fujian dang shi yuekan [Fujian Party History Monthly], 1, 3233. A systematic chronology of OWI activities within Fujian province during the War of Resistance also appears in Zhong Gong Yong'an shi wei dang shi ban [Chinese Communist Party Yong'an Municipal Committee Party History Office] (1985). ‘Kang zhan shiqi Fujian sheng hui Yong'an de jinbu wenhua huodong’ [Progressive Cultural Activities of Yong'an in Fujian Province During the War of Resistance Period], Fujian dang shi yuekan, 3–4.

25 ‘Notes on American Psychological Warfare in China’, F. McCracken Fisher, Chief, China Division, OWI, n.d. (4 November, 1944), 190/8/27/3–4, RG 226, p. 1.

26 On Davies and Service see, respectively, Davies J. Jr. (1972). Dragon By the Tail: American, British, Japanese, and Russian Encounters with China and One Another, W.W. Norton and Company, New York; Service J. and Esherick J. (1974). Lost Chance in China: The World War II Despatches of John S. Service, Random House, New York.

27 See also Newman R. (1992). Owen Lattimore and the ‘Loss’ of China (Berkeley: University of California Press), pp. 98107.

28 Overseas Branch, Pacific Operations, Office of Deputy Director draft historical report, n.d. (1944), p. 14. Lattimore also made head of San Francisco-based Intelligence Panel. With his departure for Washington in 1944, the directorship of the Pacific Bureau was turned over to Claude Buss. Intelligence and propaganda policy from the British Ministry of Information was also a key part of production insofar as US agencies both utilized British information and attempted to avoid contradicting British propaganda directives. On relations between the OWI and the British Psychological Warfare Executive more generally see Cruickshank C. (1977). The Fourth Arm: Psychological Warfare, 1938–1945, Davis-Poynter, London, p. 38. Additional OWI allusions to the use of British models appear in H. Preston Peters (OWI Outpost Manager, Area III) to Edward Barrett (OWI Overseas Branch), ‘Report on Trip to London, China, and India’, (24 January, 1945), 350/71/16/4, RG 206, p. 2.

29 The Office of the Deputy Director for Pacific Operations oversaw all OWI propaganda warfare operations against Japan, and informational activities in China.

30 Smith, OSS, pp 12–13; ‘Second Draft, China Theater Psychological Warfare Directive’, (9 February, 1945), 190/8/27/3–4, RG 226, pp. 1–2.

31 Wakeman F. Jr. (2003). Spymaster: Dai Li and the Chinese Secret Service, University of California Press, Berkeley, p. 287.

32 Smith, OSS; Yu, OSS in China, pp. 146–147.

33 Price D. (2002). Lessons from Second World War anthropology: Peripheral, persuasive, and ignored contributions, Anthropology Today, 18:3, 1420. The Foreign Morale Analysis Division, headed by Taylor, built up psychological and cultural profiles of enemy combatants and some of these studies were the basis for Ruth Benedict's The Chrysanthemum and the Sword. Benedict R. (2005 [1946]), The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture, Houghton Mifflin, New York.

34 See Fairbank J. (1982). Chinabound: A Fifty-Year Memoir, Harper and Row, New York. Prior to joining the OWI, Taylor was chair of the Department of Oriental Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. See also Minear R. (1980). ‘Cultural Perception and World War II: American Japanists of the 1940s and Their Images of Japan’, International Studies Quarterly, 24:4, 555580.

35 Overseas Branch, Pacific Operations, Office of Deputy Director draft historical report, n.d. (1944), p. 1. OWI activities, in turn, were based on directives received from an Overseas Planning Board which included representatives of the OWI, Department of State, War and Navy Departments, and Joint Chiefs of Staff.

36 ‘OWI in the Far East’, 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 33. This is an important example of divergence between the types of domestic and military propaganda analysed in Dower J. (1986). War Without Mercy, Pantheon Books, New York, and those distributed by US information and military intelligence operations in the Pacific and CBI theatres. A similar qualification of Dower's conclusions is raised in Gilmore, You Can't Fight Tanks with Bayonets. On foreign policy anxieties concerning perception of the US as a country in which racist discrimination was common during the war years, see Hart J. (2004). Making Democracy Safe for the World: Race, Propaganda, and the Transformation of US Foreign Policy during World War II, The Pacific Historical Review, 73:1, 4984.

37 Office of War Information, Office Memorandum, 9 March, 1945, 350/71/14/4, RG 208.

38 Office of War Information Overseas Operations Branch, ‘Guidance for OWI Informational Work in Unoccupied China’, 24 October, 1944, 350/71/14/4, RG 208, 350/71/14/4, p. 1.

39 Kunming Branch Office (OWI), The Kunming United States Office of War Information’ (translation of article appearing in the Liberty Forum, Kunming), (May, 1945), 350/71/14/4, RG 208, p. 1.

40 ‘The Chungking Outpost’, n.d., 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 1.

41 ‘Draft Long Range Policy Directive for China’ (3 January, 1945), 350/71/14/4, RG 208, p. 2.

42 RG 208, 350/71/14/4.

43 China, Reports of OWI Activities 1943–1945, (22 August, 1944), 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 1.

44 ‘OWI in the Far East’, n.d., 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 14.

45 RG 208, 350/71/16/4.

46 RG 208, 350/71/14/4, Office of the Director of Information (OWI China Division), Monthly Report (March, 1945), p. 1.

47 A similar organization, the United Nations Pictorial Office, reported over half a million audience members for 2,809 filmstrip showings in the same month.

48 Donald M. Nelson to President Roosevelt (20 December, 1944), in US Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, Diplomatic Papers, 1944: China (Vol. VI), p. 292.

49 RG 208, 350/71/14/4, Office of War Information China Division, Summary of May Report, (May, 1945), p. 1.

50 RG 208, 350/71/14/4, Kunming Branch Office (OWI), ‘The Kunming United States Office of War Information’ (translation of article appearing in the Liberty Forum, Kunming), (May, 1945), p. 1.

51 Kunming Branch Office (OWI), ‘The Kunming United States Office of War Information’ (translation of article appearing in the Liberty Forum, Kunming), (May, 1945), 350/71/14/4, RG 208, p. 2.

52 ‘China, Mopix’, ‘China, Filmstrips’ (May, 1945), 250/46/4/1, RG 59. By way of comparison, urban audiences for OWI films in Chongqing averaged approximately 5,000 per day in February, 1945. Outdoor screenings were often larger, with films projected on two-way translucent screens.

53 ‘OWI in the Far East’, n.d., 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 13

54 Ibid., p. 14.

55 Taylor M. Mills, OWI Motion Picture Division, ‘History of the Overseas Motion Picture Bureau's Early Operations’, n.d., 350/17/16/3, RG 208, p. 12.

56 Ibid., pp. 31–32.

57 Office of the Outpost Representative for China (OWI), transmitted report dated 13 June, 1945, 350/71/14/4, RG 208, p. 1.

58 China Division (OWI), Weekly Operational Report (31 May to 6 June 1945), 350/71/14/4, RG 208, p. 1. At the time of the report the teams were still awaiting dispatch to the ‘liberated areas’ of those provinces.

59 ‘OWI in the Far East’, n.d., 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 13.

60 Harry S. Hudson (OWI, Washington) to John K. Fairbank, ‘OWI Radio Operations in China’ (10 January, 1945), 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 2. In November, 1944, F. McCracken Fisher had expressed hope that OWI operations might include both Chinese- and English-language broadcasting, but these plans seem to have been frustrated by lack of US control over Chongqing and Kunming stations, coupled with a general lack of programming content.

61 Memorandum, ‘Brief Progress Record of the China Cultural Relations Program, January–June 1942’ (10 July, 1942), in US Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1942: China, p. 717.

62 Overseas Branch Pacific Operations Office of Deputy Director draft historical report (1944), 350/71/16/3, RG 208, pp. 1–5. KGEI was owned by the General Electric Company, and exempted from blackouts and prohibitions of foreign-language broadcast which affected most other US radio stations during the war.

63 ‘OWI in the Far East’, n.d., 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 1. Description is of operations of OWI Overseas Branch Area III (Far East).

64 ‘The Chungking Outpost’, 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 3.

65 ‘OWI in the Far East’, n.d., 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 15.

66 Ibid., p. 12.

67 ‘Brief Resume of PW Operations in This Theatre’, OWI Psychological Warfare Branch, China Theater (3 November, 1944), in ‘Chungking-Reg-Op-3 PWB-Misc 95’, 190/8/27/3–4, RG 226, p. 1.

68 RG 208, 350/71/16/4, F. McCracken Fisher to George E. Taylor and John K. Fairbank, Inclosure (1 November, 1944), p. 1.

69 In Chongqing this work fell primarily to John Davies and John S. Service, both of whom served as State Department political advisors to the Theatre Commander (CBI), and required additional clearance from G-2 (Military Intelligence) Forward Echelon.

70 ‘OWI in the Far East’, n.d., 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 16.

71 F. McCracken Fisher to George E. Taylor and John K. Fairbank, Inclosure (1 November, 1944), 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 6.

72 See Fairbank to IDC for Langer-Kilgour, (20 June, 1943), 350/71/16/4, RG 208.

73 See Ariyoshi K. (2000). From Kona to Yenan: The Political Memoirs of Koji Ariyoshi, University of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu; Ariyoshi K. and Deane H. (1978). Koji Ariyoshi: An American GI in Yenan, Foreign Languages Press, Beijing; Liu, Y. (1997). Koji Ariyoshi's Role in the US-China Peoples Friendship Association, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Hawai'i, Manoa. Following the Pacific War, Ariyoshi first became active in the Committee for a Democratic Far Eastern Policy before being put on trial for harbouring pro-Communist sympathies during the early 1950s.

74 Chinese Ministry of Information (Chongqing), ‘Statement Made by Vice-Minister Hsu on (February 16, 1945), Regarding Anti-Enemy Propaganda’ (copy), 350/71/16/4, RG 226.

75 In keeping with the policy of not offering cooperation to Nationalist Party elements within the Chinese military, US Forward Echelon Headquarters routinely refused requests that American planes drop propaganda printed by either the National Revolutionary Army or the Nationalists themselves. See F. McCracken Fisher to George E. Taylor and John K. Fairbank, Inclosure (1 November, 1944), 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 9.

77 ‘Report of Committee to Study Chinese Proposal Regarding Psychological Warfare Cooperation’, enclosure to letter from F. McCracken Fisher to James Stewart (24 February, 1945), 350/71/16/5, RG 208.

78 F. McCracken Fisher to George E. Taylor and John K. Fairbank, Inclosure (1 November, 1944), 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 4.

79 Kaji Wataru and his Anti-War League were acknowledged by the OWI to have conducted one successful front-line propaganda operation on 28 December, 1939, but since that time had been primarily confined to the rear areas, where their work on behalf of the Central Government was described as ‘intermittent’. See John K. Emmerson, ‘Yanan Report #21’ (10 November, 1944), 350/73/30/1, RG 208, p. 4. Additional assistance to the OWI Psychological Warfare Team (Assam) was provided by a group of Japanese POWs interned in Ledo.

80 See Jin, D. (1944). Yan'an jianwen lu [Report from Yan'an] (Chongqing); Forman H. (1945). Report from Red China, Whittlesey House, New York; Stein G. (1945). The Challenge of Red China, New York. Additional descriptions of wartime cultural activity in the CCP base areas appear in Jiefang ribao [Liberation Daily], 1942–1945.

81 F. McCracken Fisher to OWI, Yenan Report 1 (attached memorandum dated 16 October, 1944), 350/71/17/7, RG 208, p. 1.

82 As the most important link between Okano Susumu and the OWI agencies, Koji Ariyoshi's central role in documenting the extent of CCP psychological warfare activities during the War of Resistance cannot be overemphasized. Ariyoshi, once an internee in the Manzanar Relocation Center, became involved in US military intelligence in December, 1942, when he took and passed an examination for Japanese language specialists. In late fall, 1943, the OWI requested a ten-man combat psychological warfare team to be assembled from the group of Nisei then gathered at Camp Savage. Ariyoshi, chosen to lead the team, recalled: When we were assigned to psychological warfare tasks, Washington was full of experts on Japan who had built and supported myths that the Japanese militarists and the people were incomprehensible, unpredictable, fanatic, treacherous, and so on. There was an extreme type of specialist who even tried to prove that the Japanese were unknowable. We felt that the psychology and behavior of the Japanese militarists were understandable. We were happy that we did not receive briefing from the OWI's Japanese experts. Ariyoshi was first stationed in Burma, where he claims to have advanced the idea of using Japanese POWs for psychological warfare to a member of General Stilwell's staff of State Department advisors. In June, 1944, he was transferred to China immediately following the lifting of a Chinese government ban on nisei operatives in Chongqing. See Ariyoshi, From Kona to Yenan, pp. 78–79, 85, 99.

83 F. McCracken Fisher to George E. Taylor and John K. Fairbank, Inclosure (1 November, 1944), 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 11.

84 Yu, OSS in China, 42, 288289 (n. 57). On the purge and execution of accused Japanese spies in Moscow between 1937 and 1939, including political rivals informed on by Nosaka most likely prior to his departure, see Kato Tetsuro (2000). ‘The Japanese Victims of Stalinist Terror in the USSR’, Hitotsubashi Journal of Social Studies, 32:1. For an early account of Nosaka's activities in China during the war, see Jaffe P. (1945). New Frontiers in Asia—A Challenge to the West, A. A. Knopf, New York, pp. 283287.

85 See Luo, R. (2006). Luo Ruiqing junshi wenxuan [Selected Documents from Luo Ruiqing], Dangdai Zhongguo chubanshe, Beijing. Luo was, at the time, Chief of Field Operations of the Political Affairs Department of the Eighth Route Army.

86 F. McCracken Fisher to OWI, ‘Yenan Report 12’, prepared by Technical Sergeant Koji Ariyoshi and OWI Psychological Warfare Intelligence Team, dated 7 November, 1944 (9 November, 1944), 350/73/30/1, RG 208, p. 3

87 The school in Yan'an enrolled approximately 100 students at the time of this survey. Additional League branches for Japanese POWs and psychological warfare workers were also organized in border areas closer to areas of Japanese occupation. See John K. Emmerson, ‘Yanan Report #21’ (10 November, 1944), 350/73/30/1, RG 208, p. 1.

88 John K. Emmerson, ‘Yenan Report #22’, (25 November 1944), 350/73/30/1, RG 208, p. 3.

89 Koji Ariyoshi, ‘Yenan Report #27, Experiences of Japanese PW Workers at 8th Route Army Forward Areas’ (21 November, 1944), 350/73/30/1, RG 208, p. 9.

90 See Yenan Report #65, n.d. (1945), 350/71/17/7 RG 208. The report's appendix, entitled ‘Investigation of the radio sets of Japan’, also included information concerning Japanese radio distribution and listening patterns.

91 F. McCracken Fisher to George E. Taylor and John K. Fairbank, Inclosure (1 November, 1944), 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 8.

92 Theodore Herman (China Division, OWI), Outpost Report, ‘Conditions and Life in the Tientsin Area (as of April, 1945)’, (11 July, 1945), 350/73/27/01, RG 208, p. 1.

93 China Division, OWI, Outpost Report, ‘Report on Leaflets Prepared by the Third Section of the Political Dept. of the National Military Council, Chungking, 1943, 1944’, (6 April, 1945), 350/73/27/01, RG 208. It is unclear whether the leaflets, provided to an American agency, were widely distributed.

94 ‘Notes of the Conversation with Dr. Hsin P. Soh of the Operations Board (Chun Ling Pu) of the National Military Council, Feb. 23 and 24, 1945’, F. McCracken Fisher, Chief, China Division, OWI (24 February, 1945), in ‘China: Fisher Correspondence-Secret’, 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 1.

95 In May 1943, Chiang Kai-shek called on the National General Mobilization Commission to initiate a major study of ‘enemy and occupied territories, and [for] the pooling of information and materials’. See ‘Fairbank for IDC for Langer–Kilgour (20 June, 1943), 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 1. See also Richards P. (2007). Information Science in Wartime: Pioneer Documentation Activities in World War II, Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 39:5, 301306. IDC = Interdepartmental Committee for the Acquisition of Foreign Publications. BEW = Board of Economic Warfare. During his time in Chongqing as a representative of the IDC (and member of the OSS) Fairbank also made contact with Zhou Enlai, who promised ‘a flow of materials from North China if possible’.

96 Chinese Ministry of Information, ‘Copy-Statement Made by Vice Minister Hsu on February 16, 1945, Regarding Anti-Enemy Propaganda’, 350/71/16/4, Box 1, RG 208, p. 1.

97 Ibid., p. 2.

98 ‘Report on Leaflets Prepared by the Third Section of the Political Dept. of the National Military Council, Chungking. 1943, 1944’, Theodore Herman, Field Intelligence Officer, China Division, OWI (6 April, 1945), in ‘OWI Outpost Report China Div. Report #TH C: 0.1’, Entry 370, 350/73/30/1, Box 375, RG 208, 2.

99 Yu, The Dragon's War, p. 156. While it is difficult to reconcile Yu's view with the more pessimistic OWI reports, it is also possible that OWI observers were not fully aware of the extent of Nationalist disinformation activities.

100 For anecdotal accounts of the US Army Observer Section written from a participants’ perspective, see Barrett D. (1970). Dixie Mission: The United States Army Observer Group in Yenan, 1944, Centre for Chinese Studies, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley; Hart J. (1985). The Making of an Army ‘Old China Hand’: A Memoir of Colonel David D. Barrett, Center for Chinese Studies, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley; Carter C. (1997). Mission to Yenan: American Liaison with the Chinese Communists, 1944–1947, University Press of Kentucky, Lexington; Deane H. (2004 [1978]), Remembering Koji Ariyoshi: An American GI in Yenan, Foreign Languages Press, Beijing.

101 Koji Ariyoshi (US Army Observer Section) to Bill Holland, Jim Steward, and Gus Carlson (22 May, 1945), 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 4.

102 Ibid., p. 2.

103 Agents conducting the operations included FEA and OWI representatives. Operating individually and as teams, each agent required security protection from Chinese soldiers while in the field.

104 Ariyoshi, From Kona to Yenan, p. 113.

105 Not all OWI films shown in Yan'an were so carefully chosen. One which extolled the US training of Nationalist pilots was deemed a poor propaganda choice by Dixie Mission officers, who feared that it might spread disaffection among pro-Communist audiences. Ariyoshi: ‘Why tell the people here that we are training, supplying, and equipping the GMD troops beyond what [the Communists] know with graphic illustrations to boot’. The Eighth Route Army took hold of the film for ‘educational’ purposes shortly following its arrival. See Koji Ariyoshi (US Army Observer Section) to Bill Holland, Jim Steward, and Gus Carlson (22 May, 1945), 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 3.

106 In return for ‘Japanese pictures’ and other material given immediately to members of the Dixie Mission, the OWI provided ten front-line mimeograph units for Eighth Route Army use, and considered the distribution of additional leaflets printed in Yan'an by American planes. See F. McCracken Fisher to George E. Taylor and John K. Fairbank, Inclosure (1 November, 1944), 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 10.

107 Carter C. (1992). ‘Mission to Yenan: The OSS and the Dixie Mission’, in Calhoun, G. The Secrets War: The Office of Strategic Services in World War II, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC, p. 305.

108 Second Secretary of Embassy in China (Harry E. Stevens) to Ambassador in China (Hurley), (18 August, 1945), in US Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, Diplomatic Papers, 1945: The Far East, China (Vol. VII), p. 447.

109 Yu, OSS in China, p. 15. Concerning OSS plans for Chinese and Korean ‘agent penetration’ of Japanese-occupied areas, see 190/8/27/3–4, RG 226 (File: ‘Chungking-Reg-Op-3, Yenan, 77).

110 Chargé in China (Atcheson) to Secretary of State (2 August, 1943), US Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, Diplomatic Papers, 1943: China, p. 81

111 H. Preston Peters (OWI Outpost Manager, Area III) to Edward Barrett (OWI Overseas Branch), ‘Report on Trip to London, China, and India’ (24 January, 1945), 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 5.

112 In general, security related to US psychological warfare activities was handled as if the materials were secret. Plans and policies were kept locked in Fisher's office, and discussion of these files was usually confined to Americans, despite the fact that the OWI employed a bilingual Chinese staff.

113 F. McCracken Fisher (OWI China Division) to George E. Taylor (OWI Area 3, Far East), (5 March, 1945), 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 1. In this letter Fisher noted that one reason why the OWI was known as the American Information Service (Meiguo xinwen chu) in China was because a literal translation of the organization's name as the Zhanshi qingbao chu, or Wartime Secret Intelligence Service, would be likely to arouse additional suspicion. Contemporary scholars in China now render the organization's name as Zhanshi xinwen ju, though Meiguo xinwen chu appears to have remained the more commonly-used designation for the OWI.

114 F. McCracken Fisher to George E. Taylor and John K. Fairbank, Inclosure (1 November. 1944), 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 9.

115 F. McCracken Fisher to John Vincent (Kunming), Sutton Christian (Chengdu), and Christopher Rand (Yong'an), (5 March, 1945), 350/71/16/5, RG 208, p. 1.

116 F. McCracken Fisher to Hollington K. Tong (Nationalist Party Central Executive Committee, Ministry of Information), (2 March, 1945), 350/71/16/5, RG 208.

117 China, Reports of OWI Activities 1943–1945 (22 August, 1944), 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 2.

118 ‘Chinese Attitude Toward Foreign Criticism’, n.d. (1944), 350/17/16/4, RG 208.

119 Ambassador in China (Gauss) to Secretary of State (31 January, 1944), in US Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, Diplomatic Papers, 1944: China (Vol. VI), p. 11.

120 Ambassador in China (Gauss) to Secretary of State (9 January, 1944), in US Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, Diplomatic Papers, 1944: China (Vol. VI), p. 16.

121 Chinese Ministry of Information, ‘Statement Made by Vice-Minister Hsu on 16 February, 1945, Regarding Anti-Enemy Propaganda’, 190/8/27/3–4, RG 226, p. 1.

122 Koji Ariyoshi (US Army Observer Section) to Bill Holland, Jim Steward, and Gus Carlson (May 1945), 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 3.

123 F. McCracken Fisher to George E. Taylor and John K. Fairbank, Inclosure (1 November, 1944), 350/71/16/4, RG 208, p. 1.

124 Harry S. Hudson (OWI, Washington) to John K. Fairbank, ‘OWI Radio Operations in China’ (10 January, 1945), RG 208, 350/71/16/4, p. 9.

125 Barnes J. (1943). Fighting with Information: OWI Overseas, Public Opinion Quarterly, 7:1, 35.

126 ‘Draft Outline Plan for General OWI Operations in the Far East’, n.d., 350/71/16/4, RG 208, pp. 1–2.

127 See Yu, OSS in China, p. 145.

128 Minister-Counsellor of Embassy in China (Clark) to Secretary of State, 119.2/6–1749: Telegram, sent 17 June, 1949, in US Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, Diplomatic Papers, 1949: The Far East, China (Vol. VIII), pp. 1091–1092.

129 ‘Weekly Report from China, Motion Pictures’ (14 November, 1947), 250/46/4/1, RG 59.

130 ‘United States Information Service Operations in China, Organisation’, attachment to letter from Robert H. Berkov to Arthur R. Ringwalt (20 February, 1947), 250/46/4/1, RG 59.

131 Acting Secretary of State to Ambassador in China (Stuart), (16 November, 1948), in US Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, Diplomatic Papers, 1948: The Far East, China (Vol. VII), pp. 573–574.

132 Siepmann C. (1946). ‘Propaganda and Information in International Affairs’, The Yale Law Journal, 55:5, 1259.

133 F. McCracken Fisher, ‘Development of the Eighth Route Army's Psychological Warfare Against the Japanese’ (16 October, 1944), 350/71/17/7, RG 208, p. 1.

134 Constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (1946). Quoted in Siepmann, ‘Propaganda and Information in International Affairs’, p. 1258.

135 Siepmann, ‘Propaganda and Information in International Affairs’, p. 1261.

136 See Childs H. (1943). Public Information and Opinion, The American Political Science Review, 37:1, 5668.

* Research for this paper was primarily conducted in the National Archives at College Park, Maryland, and was first presented at the international workshop on Europe, Italy, and the Sino-Japanese War held at the Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia in April, 2009. My gratitude to the tireless archivists of Archives II, to Guido Samarani for his kind hospitality in Venice, and to the University of Oxford China's War with Japan Programme (Leverhulme Trust) for research and travel support. Special thanks are due also to Robert Bickers and Steve Smith for key comments during the conference proceedings, to Joseph W. Esherick and Stephen MacKinnon for reading the draft in its entirety and providing invaluable advice, to Lily Chang for editorial oversight, and to Rana Mitter for his invitation to participate in this special issue of Modern Asian Studies. The conference where this paper was presented was organized by the China's War with Japan programme at Oxford University, funded by the Leverhulme Trust (www.history.ox.ac.uk/china [accessed 20 December, 2010]).

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Modern Asian Studies
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