Like his Rockefeller Foundation job, Dr. Sawyer's work for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration
(UNRRA) required much traveling. In early 1946 he went to China to assess the post-war public health situation and the UNRRA
programs already in place. In this letter he described visits to Canton and Chungking, and the next visit to Kaifeng, where
UNRRA was helping to repair a riverbank on the Yellow River which had been destroyed to thwart the progress of Japanese troops
during the war.
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1946-03-22 (March 22, 1946)
Sawyer, Wilbur A.
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I have been very much on the move since I wrote last. Dr. Borcic and I went to Canton and spent several days there. It is
warmer down south, and the camel's foot (Bauhynia) trees were full of orchid colored blossoms. The kapok was also in
full bloom displaying a large vivid red flower. The azaleas were just finishing their blooming season, but they have not
begun up here.
In Canton I met Dr. Li Ting-An, who was health officer of Shanghai when I was here before. I also saw Mr. James Henry whose
family were so nice to Minnie Sawyer
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when she was at Lingnan University. Mr. Henry is now on UNRRA's staff.
We had intended to go on to one of the most devastated areas, Liuchow, and had arranged for a through plane to Chungking to
stop there. But it rained and rained and the planes were unable to land. So we finally gave up and flew direct to Chungking.
It is a remarkable city on a mountain between the Yangtze and a large tributary. It has about a million inhabitants. Beyond
lie high mountains. The institutions, like the Institute of Health and the Malaria Laboratory assisted by the R.F., lie in
and beyond these peaks. We drove out to them over a scenic highway with bomb-shelter
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caves at the side in the bank on the hillside and picturesque fields of rice and broad beans and some wheat all around.
At Chungking we had many talks with Dr. P.Z. King, Director-General of the Nat'l Health Administration and an arranged
conversation with the dynamic T.V. Soong. I also presented Dr. Kuo's letter of introduction to Dr. (not MD) Chiang Mon
Lin, Secretary-General of the Executive Yuan, and to Dr. Franklin Ho, Vice-Minister of Economic Affairs.
We are now back in Shanghai, and this evening we start for Kaifeng in the Yellow River area to see some of the problems connected
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with UNRRA's great project to repair the break in the river bank and return the flow to its original channel. The break
was made intentionally to delay the Japanese and now the flooded land is much needed for food production. It is a race against
time, for the rains are on and in June the water will rise.
It looks now as though I might be asked to visit Korea, which would delay my return. Otherwise I shall plan to start back
about April 15 by air.
I have your letters of Feb. 14 and 26 with enclosures. The foot is about well, Thank you! Congratulate Tiger on the mouse.
Best love to you and Ruth and Gertrude and all the Carrolls.