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The Dissent PapersThe Voices of Diplomats in the Cold War and Beyond$
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Hannah Gurman

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231158725

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231158725.001.0001

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“Learn to Write Well”

“Learn to Write Well”

The China Hands and the Communist-ification of Diplomatic Reporting

Chapter:
(p.71) two “Learn to Write Well”
Source:
The Dissent Papers
Author(s):

Hannah Gurman

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231158725.003.0002

This chapter analyzes how the principle of insider writing was used to understand the complexities of foreign policy. It follows the development of the diplomatic writing prowess of Foreign Service officers, Jack Service and John Davies, who were deployed to observe and report about the political chaos in China. Service and Davies learned to mesh both substantial fieldwork and a relatively plain style of investigative reporting to provide complex political analysis to the State Department. Their well-received reports led to calls for them to write a broader and more sweeping analysis of the political situation in China. The chapter then accounts for how these political analyses were used to plot the overthrowing of the Nationalist government in China, handing the country over to the Communists.

Keywords:   insider writing principle, foreign policy, Jack Service, John Davies, China, State Department, Nationalist government, Communists

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