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The Dixie Mission

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Extract 2
Extract 3
United States of America,
What happened to the Foreign Service officers who appear in Mission To Yenan, and who reported favourably on co-operation with the Chinese Communists in the war against Japan, and how they were blacklisted.
Physical formats available:
Mini DV, 16mm
Digital formats available:
Quicktime (Pro Res)
Audio & visual:
Sound, Color

The mission was launched on 22 July 1944, during World War II, and lasted until 11 March 1947. In addition to establishing relations, the goals were to investigate the Communists politically and militarily and determine if the US would benefit from establishing liaison. John S. Service, of the US Department of State, was responsible for political analysis, and Colonel David D. Barrett, of the US Army, performed the military analysis. Initially, they reported that the Chinese Communists might be a useful wartime and postwar ally and that the atmosphere in Yan'an was more energetic and less corrupt than in Nationalist-held areas. After the war, the Dixie Mission's reports and Service and Barrett were condemned by pro-Kuomingtang factions in the American government and fell victim to McCarthyism. Service was fired from his position at the State Department, and Barrett was denied a promotion to brigadier general.

Production: Villon Films
FS to ZI of Raymond P. Ludden sat in garden reminiscing about Mao Zedong dancing in an orchard in Yenan. Camera fades to wartime photos of Ludden, John S. Service, John Paton Davies Jr. and John Emerson (with Chinese official). Map of China ZI to Yenan location. Title card.
Wartime photos of the diplomats/DOS members with Chinese officials. With narration.
Fade to MS of Davies, seated, describing the essence of the mission.
CU profile shot of Ludden describing the essence of the mission.
EXT MS of Service describing why their mission was called the Dixie Mission. B-roll of plane at low altitude, landing and taxiing on the airstrip in the valley of Yenan. B-roll of Chinese Communist HQ pagoda and surrounding landscape. Footage of Chinese greeting party, CU footage of Zhou Enlai smiling and footage of US diplomats/DOS members amongst small crowd.
B-roll of small crowd walking through the landscape of Yenan, US officials with locals, people weaving, officials from both sides meeting and saluting while marching. Audio of Emerson describing the enthusiasm experienced in the early stage of the mission. CU profile shot of Emerson.
EXT MS of Ludden seated, describing an amiable relationship between the Americans and the Chinese Communists in Yenan. ZI photo of a US official holding a bouquet of flowers with a Chinese woman in friendship.
EXT CU of Service detailing the mission with b-roll of Service seated with Zhou Enlai; officials/soldiers on manoeuvres; CU of prisoners; worker inside Kangzhan Rhbao (Chinese newspaper) building; US communication room with staff. EXT CU of Service talking. B-roll of soldiers on manoeuvres. EXT CU Zi to Service talking about Roosevelt’s plan to consolidate “Communist forces” and “National Government forces” under single rule of General Joseph Stillwell to b-roll of Stillwell with military officials and soldiers. Wartime photo of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, his wife Soong Mei-ling and Stillwell, all smiling. CU of Service explaining General Patrick J. Hurley’s involvement with photo of Hurley in a suit and b-roll of Hurley in uniform. Ceremonial footage of Chiang Kai-shek with Hurley both smiling and shaking hands.
CU of Davies speaking about Hurley’s role.
Profile photo of Chiang Kai-shek smiling panning to a smiling Hurley and back to Chiang Kai-shek. CU of Service speaking further about Hurley’s involvement.
EXT MS profile of Emerson speaking about Hurley meeting Mao Zedong with b-roll of Hurley giving a “Choctaw war whoop” from the exit door of a plane. B-roll of Hurley walking with Mao Zedong and portrait footage of Hurley with Mao Zedong and Zhu De. B-roll of Hurley shaking hands with Mao Zedong.
CU of Service speaking about the rejection of the agreement made between Mao Zedong and Hurley by the Chinese Nationalist government.
B-roll of Hurley with US officials. Audio of Emerson speaking about Hurley’s idea that the Chinese Communists and Nationalists were similar to the Democrats and Republicans in the USA and that “General Hurley was a Republican and yet he was working for President Roosevelt [a Democrat]”. Continues to speak about Hurley’s confidence that “everything could be worked out quite well.” ZI to colour photo of Hurley (not in uniform) and Mao Zedong seated together in rear of a military jeep.
CU of Davis speaking about Hurley’s bias to Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese Nationalists.
MS of Service speaking about Hurley being a “maverick on the range” and that there was “simply no way of apparently putting a rein on him.”
FS of Davis, seated and cross-legged, speaking.
MS of Service speaking about Roosevelt’s “hope of cooperation with the Soviet Union as a stabilizing force in the Far East.”
CU to MS of Emerson speaking about his surprise that he “didn’t see any Russians hiding under the bushes [in Yenan].” He goes on to speak about Mao being a “great Communist figure in his own right and that he was not about to take orders from Stalin, or anyone else.”
FS ZI to CU of Davis, seated and cross-legged, speaking about Hurley’s “position then [becoming] the official United States position”, following the death of Roosevelt and Truman’s succession, and that “the repercussions from this have carried on for decades - up to today”.
ECU ZO to CU of Ludden speaking.
MS to slow ZI of Emerson speaking about Joseph McCarthy and whoever “had been in Communist China was a subject of investigation.”
B-roll of McCarthy implicating Service in his investigation at a hearing.
MS of Davies who speaks about being “pilloried by Congressmen and in the press by publicists.”
MS of Ludden speaking about being “part of the conspiracy that sold China down the river to the Communists”.
MS ZI to CU of Service speaking about his dismissal.
MS of Davies speaking about being labeled as “an embarrassment to the State Department”.
MS of Ludden bitterly commenting on the situation as being “fairly disgusting.”
MS of Davies talking about his return to Lima, Peru, from Washington and his award-winning furniture company. Portrait photos of Davies at work.
CU of Service speaking about his difficulty to find work at the time.
MS ZI to CU of Davies talking about his family life in Peru and his move back to the USA.
CU of Service speaking about his appeal. B-roll of Service after his reinstatement into the Department of State.
EXT MS of Ludden, seated with cigarette, speaking.
CU of Emerson speaking about “these charges [that] kept cropping up.” CU of his bitter expression.
MS of Ludden seated and smoking a cigarette, speaking in support of Emerson.
MS ZI to CU of Davies speaking about moving on from the situation.
CU of Emerson speaking about the “effects of all of this on our Foreign Service” being “quite serious.”
ZI to MS of Davies speaking.
MS ZI to CU of Emerson speaking.
MS of Davies speaking about their mission establishing a “relationship [with China] that would carry on through to the post-war period”. B-roll of Service seated in uniform with Zhou Enlai, both smiling.
MS of Service hypothesizing that “there wouldn’t be an exile government in Taiwan” and “if we had maintained relations with China, there would not have been a Korean War”. Also suggesting that “there might not have been a Vietnam War.”
B-roll of Mao Zedong with audio of Emerson speaking. MS of Emerson continuing to speak about the “opportunity for us at the present time to again develop a relationship with the government of mainland China.”
End of shotlist
Mission To Yenan
Materials relating to the 1944 film, Mission To Yenan about Chinese Communists and the US, and the Villon documentary response, The Dixie Mission.
Peter Davis
Collection of Peter Davis Stills, Films, and related items in the archive.