"If ever again I were in deep trouble, the man I would want to be with would be this particular man. I have known a great number of men around the world under all manner of circumstances. I have known none who seemed more the whole man; none more finished a civilized product, in all that a man should be - in modesty and thoughtfulness, in resourcefulness and steady strength of character."
Eric Sevareid on John Paton Davies
Mao's victory in China prompted American politicians to start asking, "who lost China?" The convenient scapegoat
s were the career foreign service officers known as the China Hands
. These men had studied China and Sino-Soviet-US relations for years. Their honest assessments were used by politicians like Joe McCarthy
to impugn their loyalty and patriotism.
John Paton Davies Jr. was one of the innocent victims of McCarthyism. Davies was disgraced for predicting that China would fall to the communists of Mao Zedong. A foreign service officer in the State Department, Davies based his analysis on years of experience in China and the corruption of the Chiang Kai-Shek regime. In 1954 Secretary of State John Foster Dulles fired Davies after he refused to resign -- even though Davies had been investigated and cleared of disloyalty eight times in less than ten years.
Davies was the son of China missionary parents and was born in China. He grew up in Chengdu before being sent away to study at the Shanghai American School and later to the University of Wisconsin. After being fired from the State Department he sold furniture in South America.
Books by John Paton Davies Jr.
Dragon by the tail; American, British, Japanese, and Russian encounters with China and one another (1971)
Foreign and Other Affairs (1966)
An excellent overview of the China Hands
and John Paton Davies is: