Service, John S. (John Stewart), 1909-1999Variant names
Foreign service officer.
From the description of Reminiscences of John Stewart Service : oral history, 1978. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 309724904
Foreign service officer; b. John Stewart Service.
From the description of Papers of John Stewart Service and Charles E. Rhetts, 1950-1963. (Harry S Truman Library). WorldCat record id: 70959670
John Stewart ("Jack") Service was a diplomat and China expert for the U.S. Foreign Service, and political adviser on Chinese affairs to General Douglas MacArthur; he was charged with disloyalty by Senator Joseph McCarthy and cleared several times. He served as the Resident China scholar, at the University of California, Berkeley after retirement from the diplomatic service.
From the description of John S. Service papers, 1925-1999. (University of California, Berkeley). WorldCat record id: 84653548
John Service, the son of American YMCA missionaries, was born August 3, 1909 in Chengtu, China and spent his school years there, in Chungking, and in Shanghai. Following his graduation from Oberlin College in 1931, he joined the Foreign Service as a clerk at the American consulate in Kunming. He went to Beijing for language training in 1935-1937, and then served in Shanghai until the U.S. entry into World War II. From 1942 to 1945, Service was in Chungking, for much of that time on the staff of General Joseph Stillwell.
In July 1944, Service was a member of the first contingent of Americans that went to Yenan, where the Chinese Communist forces had their headquarters: the Dixie Mission. His reporting on conversations with Mao Tse-tung and other top leaders provided U.S. policy-makers with first hand information on Communist plans for China after Japanese defeat. On the basis of long experience and knowledge of China, Service came to believe it very likely that the Communists would prevail over Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Party. For that reason, and also because the Communists had proved effective in fighting the Japanese, Service was one of many Americans in China at the time who advocated providing some military assistance to them. Many read Service's dispatches as a realistic assessment of power in China. However others, most notably Patrick Hurley, the Ambassador to China in 1944-1945, and the pro-Chiang China Lobby thought that Service's recommendations were evidence that he was pro-communist.
The Amerasia affair further complicated Service's difficulties with the Political Right. Soon after returning from China in April 1945, Service met Philip Jaffe, the editor of Amerasia, a leftist magazine on Asian affairs. Service did not know that the FBI had Jaffe under surveillance for possessing secret government documents and unwittingly provided him with background material for an article, including copies of some of his reports. In June, Service was one of six arrested for alleged espionage. Service defended himself by claiming it was normal for government officials to pass on certain documents to journalists as background material. A federal grand jury voted unanimously not to indict Service and a State Department Loyalty Review Board cleared him of any wrongdoing.
Senator Joseph R. McCarthy revived the loyalty question in 1950. Drawing on material supplied by the China Lobby, he announced that Service was a "known associate and collaborator with Communists" who had been "consorting with admitted espionage agents."
The Wisconsin Republican claimed that J. Edgar Hoover had stated that he thought he had a 100% case against Service. The State Department recalled Service who was then on a ship headed for India and the post of Political Conselor in New Delhi.
The State Department Loyalty Review Board again examined the Amerasia case. It heard testimony from both George Kennan and John K. Fairbank attesting to Service's anti-communism. The FBI provided material designed to convince the panel that Service had fathered an illegitimate child while in China. The Board once again cleared Service. Concurrent with that review, a Senate panel led by Millard Tydings examined McCarthy's charges. Service testified that he had been indiscreet in giving Jaffe material, but then repeated that it was routine to do so. The Tydings Committee cleared Service of any wrongdoing.
In the fall of 1951, the Civil Service Loyalty Review Board, which had the power to examine cases already decided by the State Department, took up the case. In December it ruled that there was "reasonable doubt" about Service's loyalty, and cited the Amerasia case as justification for this decision. Secretary of State, Dean Acheson then fired Service.
Service fought his ouster through the courts. In 1957, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the Department of State had not followed its own established procedures in firing Service and ordered him reinstated. Service resumed his diplomatic career and served as Consul in Liverpool from 1959 to 1962. However his case remained politically sensitive and the Department was unwilling to promote him or give him an assignment drawing upon his China experience.
Service retired in 1962 and he and his wife, Caroline, lived in Berkeley and Oakland, California, until their deaths in 1999 and 1997, respectively. After receiving an M.A. in political science at Berkeley in 1963, Service worked for a number of years in the Center for Chinese Studies at the University. He made four trips to China in the 1970s and 1980s, and was a member of many organizations seeking to strengthen U.S.-China relations. For many years Service edited China-related books for the University of California Press.
Written by his son, Ambassador Robert E. Service,
From the guide to the John S. Service papers, 1925-1999, (The Bancroft Library)
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|Sino--Japanese War, 1937-1945--Diplomatic history|
|Diplomatic and consular service, American|