John Paton Davies Jr
- Category : 1908-births
- Type : ME
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Penetration 1
American diplomat and Medal of Freedom recipient, one of the China Hands, whose careers in the Foreign Service were ended by McCarthyism and the reaction to the fall of China.
During World War II, Davies was assigned as political attaché to General Joseph Stilwell. He began the assignment in February 1942, arriving in the China Burma India Theater (CBI) in March.
Davies and several others, including Eric Sevareid and a Chinese general, were flying from India to Chongqing in 1943 when the plane developed engine trouble and the occupants were forced to bail out over the Burmese jungle, in an area inhabited by the Naga headhunters. Davies led all the passengers to safety and, in 1948, was awarded the Medal of Freedom.
Upon a short return to Washington, D.C., he married Patricia Louise Grady on 24 August 1942, before returning to India . He served under Stilwell until the general's recall from China in the fall of 1944. Davies was instrumental in the creation of the U.S. Army Observation Group to Yan'an, China, in 1944.
The group, commonly known as the Dixie Mission, established the first official diplomatic and military contact between the United States and the Chinese Communists. Many of its members later became victims of McCarthyism. Davies saw the mission as means to prevent, or at least decrease, Soviet influence over the Chinese Communists. As time progressed, Davies also saw the Communists as a realistic alternative to the Kuomingtang.
After General Stilwell's recall, Davies served briefly under General Albert Coady Wedemeyer, and also General Patrick J. Hurley. The last three months of 1944 were to prove his last in China, as Davies found himself increasingly at odds with Hurley, who was appointed acting ambassador to China in mid-November. The main point of contention between the two men was their views on the future of China. Hurley advocated for a unified government of Communists and Nationalists with the Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek at its head. Davies, meanwhile, believed that not only was a coalition impossible to form, but that Chiang's regime was ultimately a dead end for American policy in China. Further, Davies believed that the Communists were the future of China.
Davies visited Yan'an, China, twice. The second trip, in mid-December, resulted in an intense argument with Hurley over Davies' motives. Hurley accused Davies of actively working to undermine Hurley's unification talks between the CCP and the KMT. At this time, Hurley undertook work to finalize Davies' transfer out of China to Moscow. A second argument in the first week of January, resulted in Hurley threatening to destroy Davies' career and accusing the Foreign Service Officer of being a Communist. Davies departed China for good on 9 January 1945.
After the war, he served as first secretary in charge of the political section at the United States embassy in Moscow; on the State Department's policy staff; with the High Commission for Germany; as director of political affairs at the German Embassy; and finally, as counselor and chargé d'affaires at the Peruvian Embassy, until his dismissal in 1954.
After the end of his diplomatic career, Davies returned to Peru and, with his wife, operated a furniture business. Their company, Estilo, won the International Design Award twice. The Davies family returned to the United States in 1964. After a protracted battle, Davies was finally exonerated and regained his government clearance in 1969. The family moved to Málaga, Spain in 1972, to France and England, and finally back to the US. Davies died on 23 December 1999 in Asheville, North Carolina, at the age of 91.