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In 1942 the famous British biochemist Joseph Needham was sent to China to help their scientists because the Japanese had been targetting Chinese universities, academies and technical institutions since about 1938.

Given that England was in diabolical trouble itself in 1942, I wonder who made the case that convinced Churchill and his government to fund the mission.

Was it a particular scientist in the Royal Society? Or a politician? Or someone else? (I couldn't find the answer in Winchester's biography of Needham, "The Man Who Loved China".)

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According to footnote a, page 11 of Vol.I of Needham's Science and Civilization in China, was the diplomat and historian Sir George Sansom.

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    $\begingroup$ Quite right! It was Winchester, not Birmingham! (Original question corrected). I must have missed the footnote where it mentioned that he convinced Churchill et al to help China from 1938. $\endgroup$ – Lysistrata Mar 12 '16 at 14:47

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