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 informed Mrs. Sawyer that his plans to sail for home had been delayed (due to
lack of available transport) and described the farewell dinner given for him.
Item is handwritten.
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1946-04-21 (April 21, 1946)
Sawyer, Wilbur A.
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
I had plans to leave for home on the Constellation, but now it is announced that it will take no passengers on the return
run. What a disappointment for all ten of the UNRRA people listed to return. We proceeded at once to try and get places
for at least 2 or 3 of us on the army ATC plane, only to be told that the ATC would soon fold up and would take no more civilian
passengers. So I may
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have to return via Europe after all. To-morrow we shall have to explain all the possibilities.
I have been given a farewell dinner with gifts, and now am definitely a "Pan-American Ghost," as described by Lewis
Hackett. One of my personal gifts was a pair of chops or seals. One carries my official name, something sounding like Sooyah,
and the other my nickname which is translated "Peony Old Man." The reasons are said to be phonetic. The chop with
4 characters is the nick-name.
Dr. Borcic and Dr. Chang Wei of CNRRA gave the dinner in a chinese Restaurant. It was
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particularly pleasant because all the guests spoke English and the conversation was lively and pleasant.
The original plans would have brought me home for your birthday and Ruth's. If I don't make it, you will know I tried.
A couple of days ago we got a telegram from Dr. Bryan urging me to return as soon as possible, but explaining nothing. I
hope that there is no crisis in the office or at home. I shall come when
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I can, for I have finished my work here.
The fruit trees are still blossoming in the country, but the city is noisy, crowded, and dirty. I am glad that I had chances
to travel out into the country and to other towns.
I send my best love and before long I hope to be with you.