Hilton Jayne Papers

Manuscript Collection #749
Jayne, Hilton, 1910-2002
Physical description
0.87 Cubic Feet, 601 items , including incoming and outgoing intelligence logbooks, financial reports, orders and a travel account, 468 photographs, and miscellany.
Preferred Citation
Hilton Jayne Papers (#749), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1944-1945) including correspondence, incoming and outgoing intelligence logbooks, financial reports, orders and a travel account and miscellany.

Biographical/historical information

Hilton Jayne was born in Elmira, NY, on August 27, 1910, and graduated from Cornell University in 1934. He entered the U.S. Navy in November 1939 as a yeoman 3rd class in the U.S. Naval Reserves and was assigned to the USS WEST POINT in April 1941. In September of 1941 he was transferred to the USS HOWARD, a destroyer on escort duty in the North Atlantic. Commissioned an ensign in June of 1942, he was then assigned to the intelligence office, Fifth Naval District, Norfolk, VA. After volunteering for an intelligence assignment with U.S. Naval Group, China (January 1944), he arrived in Chungking, China, on October 15, 1944, and was assigned to the headquarters of General Ma Chia Choi, the commander of the China Loyal Patriotic Army (LPA), a guerrilla army operating out of Chekiang and Anhwei provinces. Hilton Jayne was assigned as officer in charge of Intel (Intelligence) Unit One and he remained in southeastern China into October 1945. He was discharged from active duty in February 1946. Jayne joined the Central Intelligence Agency in March 1947 and served for twenty-three years, retiring in 1971.

Scope and arrangement

The focus of this collection is on the time that Hilton Jayne (lieutenant at the time) spent in southeastern China in charge of a small naval intelligence operation An article entitled "Naval Intelligence With the Chinese Guerrillas" written in March 1948 presumably by Captain Jayne, three versions of a memoir by Jayne, and seven volumes of intelligence logbooks kept by Jayne from October 1944 through June 1945 document his participation in this operation. His unit consisted of himself and three enlisted radiomen and generator mechanics to maintain operations. In conjunction with the LPA heoperated a network of Chinese agents to observe both Japanese and Communist Chinese movements in their sector.

The memoir versions have been designated I, II, and III with no attempt to indicate which version was written first. According to the memoir (III, p. 2), Jayne's mission was to report weather observations, target information, Japanese "Order of Battle" information, possibly search for downed Allied aviators, and advise on general developments. Excellent descriptions are given concerning his flight (I, pp. 6-7) from Calcutta, India, to Chungking via CNAC (a Chinese privately-owned airline); his overland journey to Kunming on the coast, which included being stranded for several days when his truck broke down (I, 11-14; III, pp. 6-16); setting up various headquarters and trying to get information communicated; a rift between the OSS and U.S. Naval Group China (I, p. 19); a Chinese intelligence network headed by General Chuang (II, p. 43); and the civil war developing between the LPA and the Chinese Communists at the same time as the war with Japan (II, pp. 41, 44-46, 48). Jayne takes the time in his memoir to describe aspects of Chinese life such as hotels (I, p. 18), the use of charcoal-burning trucks (I, pp. 16-17), houses (I, pp. 22-23), banquets (I, pp. 27-28), interaction between the Chinese and the Americans (I, pp. 13-14; II, pp. 49-56; III, p. 14), pigs being the primary Chinese domesticated animal (III, p. 10), the use of coolies and its pitfalls (II, p. 47A), and the custom of the last person who touches a dead person being responsible for that person's funeral (III, p. 11). Concerning the ongoing war with Japan, Jayne describes the history of the LPA back to 1937 when the Japanese invasion of China began (I, pp. 20-21), the headquarters of SACO (Sino-American Cooperative Organization) at Chungking (I, pp. 8-9), the evacuation of his headquarters at Chu Yia Wu near Changwha August 10-11, 1945, just ahead of the Japanese (II, pp. 62-67), the confusion for the Chinese and Japanese guerrillas over whether or not the Japanese had surrendered (II, pp. 67A-68), the refusal by the Japanese occupying Hangchow to allow Jayne and other Americans to enter just prior to and after the official surrender (Aug. 26 - mid-Sept. 1945; II, pp. 69-70), and the sight of Chinese and Japanese guards both guarding the same buildings in Hangchow during that confusing time (II, p. 70).

The volumes of incoming and outgoing intelligence logbooks (March-June 1945) describe in detail the various types of intelligence gathered including, among others, locations of Japanese airstrips and troop emplacements, and supply problems encountered by the Americans. Communist movements and reports of Japanese and Communist collaboration against the LPA are a large focus of the intelligence being sent and forwarded. The volumes also include brief descriptions on various topics such as coastwatcher reports, missionaries, and puppet army movements and activities within the Chekiang and Anwhei provinces. Problems facing the Chinese civilian population are well documented such as evacuations because of Japanese incursions and cholera epidemics.

Also included are intelligence agents pay rosters for Americans and Chinese, travel financial accounts and itineraries, a citation from the Republic of China (March 23, 1946), and orders and letters concerning disbursement of supplies, pay and rations. Common themes throughout the correspondence are a lack of gasoline, cigarettes and coffee; and difficulties in obtaining enough money to meet the payroll of Chinese intelligence agents and in getting those agents to sign payroll vouchers. At one point, Jayne wrote out a detailed response (June 14, 1945) to complaints apparently from some Chinese intelligence agents concerning their pay and what was characterized as "Non-Saco" associations. A six-page letter (May 12, 1945) states the policy for the use of No-Rate Chinese National Currency and instructs agent cashiers (agcashs) on how to disburse these funds. On May 8, 1945, the teachers and students of Central Heart School and the inhabitants of Kwei Fung village sent eggs, pork and chickens accompanied by a letter thanking their "American Allied friends" for help in defeating Japan. An August 12, 1945, document written my Wang Chih-chen details how the Japanese should act and how the Chinese should treat the Japanese, what the puppet troops should do, and what the LPA's orders would be after the pending Japanese surrender. A letter dated October 16, 1945, designates Jayne as a courier of World War II-related documents found on the Japanese ship ATAKA that was captured by the USS ROBINSON on September 9, 1945. According to the letter, the commander of the ATAKA (Captain T. Teranishi) had participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor onboard the Japanese carrier SHOKAKU.

A large number of unidentified photographs are with this collection and they appear to document Jayne's time in China. Chinese culture is a large focus of the photographs with diverse images including Chinese and American military personnel, transportation methods, civilians, structures, landscapes and everyday life in China.

Administrative information
Custodial History

October 28, 1997, 353 items, 9 volumes; Papers (1944-1945) of U.S. Navy officer in command of intelligence unit no. 1 in eastern China during World War II, including incoming and outgoing intelligence reports, correspondence, maps, orders, financial records, photographs, travel accounts, and miscellany. Gift by Mr. Hilton Jayne Annapolis, MD.

Source of acquisition

Gift by Mr. Hilton Jayne

Processing information

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Key terms
Personal Names
Jayne, Hilton, 1910-2002
Corporate Names
United States. Navy--Intelligence specialists
World War, 1939-1945--China
World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, American

Container list
Box 2a Incoming and Outgoing Secret Radio Transmissions, Oct. 1944-June 1945
Box 2b Outgoing Administrative Volume, July 1945
Box 3a N.U.T.S. Broadcast Transcriptions Volume, July-Aug. 1945
Box 3b Outgoing Intelligence Volume, Aug. 1945
Box 3c Miscellaneous Items; Biographic Sketch; Citation
Box 4 Photographs