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NTU Digital Taiwan-Related Arhives Project

In 1945 at the end of World War II, Japan’s defeat meant Taiwan came under control and administration by the Nationalist Government. Air attacks on Taiwan during the war period left damage all over Taiwan. Therefore, in the civil administration’s initial period it was faced with the huge cost of reconstruction and social development. Fortunately, starting in 1950, support in the form of foreign aid from the US government, executed through “Chinese-US Cooperation”, allowed the smooth development of infrastructure construction.

The use of so-called “US aid” was planned for Taiwan by the Economic Cooperation Administration, Mission to China (ECA) and the Executive Yuan’s US Foreign Aid Committee. They organized a variety of construction work. In 1951, the ECA became the Mutual Security Mission to China (MSA) and in 1953 it changed its name again to Foreign Operations Administration (FOA). That led to planning and documentation relating to US foreign aid using the names ECA, MSA, and FOA.

At the time, the plans for the use of US foreign aid covered a variety of areas including the establishment, development and construction in power, railways, highways, fertilizer, coal mines, mining and ceramics, telecommunications, textile industry, chemical industry, metal industry, lumbering, pulp & paper, food processing, shipbuilding and harbors, and fisheries. The necessary capital was provided in the form of so-called Direct US Dollar Aid and Counterpart Fund Aid. National Taiwan University Library’s “de Beausset Collections” includes 16 maps of US foreign aid plans, clearly showing a variety projects in Taiwan approved by the US administration and the proportion of Direct US Dollar Aid and Counterpart Fund Aid to be invested for each project (Video). These US aid construction maps not only provides an understanding of how US foreign aid was put to work, it also provides scholars with material for research on the planning and implementation of the aid. It can even be used as source material for comparisons with Taiwan’s ten major infrastructure projects.

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