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 a 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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1946-04-03 (April 3, 1946)
Sawyer, Wilbur A.
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
It was most welcome news that came by cable recently. The message was awaiting me when Dr. Borcic and I returned from our
trip to the break in the Yellow River in the Province of Honan. I wired congratulations to Ruth and Don in your care. I
am sure they are very happy and I hope they will not be going to Europe or somewhere far off to live before I came home.
I hope to get particulars about Don's return and the wedding in your next
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letter. I also want to know how you are,--and all the others.
This trip which has just ended took about 9 days and was by train. The engineer representing UNRRA in the project of closing
the dyke and returning the river to its old channel is a Mr. Todd of Palo Alto. His wife is Physician to the women at Stanford.
We drove with him in a jeep through deep mud and driving rain to the river 15 miles away. No one was working, but we could
see the beginnings of the dyke and the swift river flowing through the cut made purposely to delay the Japanese. The whole
project is a race against time, as the river rises in July and
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nothing can be done after that. We had to pull the jeep out with a rope at one point, after the axles rested on the mud.
On the way back we stopped a day in Nanking and a few hours in Chinkiang, capital of Kiangsu Province. In Nanking I again
met John B. Sawyer's former house boy, who now is working at the UNRRA regional office as personal servant to the director.
Last Sunday, after our arrival, we had a sunny day and went to a garden party given by Mrs. Fu. Her husband took Szeming
Sze's place in Washington. The jonquils were blossoming, also grape hyacinths. The lilacs were budding. It was a large
country garden with thatched summer houses in two of the corners.
In a couple of days I shall
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start a tour of Peiping, Tientsin, and Tsingtao, and back to Shanghai. After that I shall plan to come directly home unless
the Korea plan develops and I get instructions from Washington to go there. We are all wondering what La Guardia is going
to change in the policies and methods of the organization.
Borcic is doing a good job and working hard.
To-day I called on Mr. Farichild at his office in Hamilton House and had a short visit with him. He was glad to hear from
Wally and Peg. He says Mrs. Fairchild has gone to Peiping since I saw her in Chungking a couple of weeks ago.