Frank Bessac Interview, November 7, 1993


Frank Bessac


Scott Woodruff



Download Audio Interview (98.0 MB)

Download Transcript of Frank Bessac Interview (326 KB)


Frank B. Bessac discusses his military service during World War Two, working with the Office of Strategic Services [OSS] which took him to China and provided him with opportunities to study Chinese and Mongolian culture. He describes working for the U.S. government’s China relief mission after the war. Bessac recalls traveling throughout China and Inner Mongolia where regional Chinese governments were adopting communism, and witnessing the escalation of strife between the Chinese Communist and Nationalist factions. He also talks about meeting and traveling with U.S. embassy vice consul, Douglas MacKiernan, and details the events that led to MacKiernan being shot and killed by Tibetan border guards. Bessac describes traveling through Russia, Bhutan, and Tibet before returning to the United States to study anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.


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Document Type

Oral History


Mongolia; Communism, China; Chinese Nationalists; Chinese Communists; China relief mission; World War, 1939-1945; MacKiernan, Douglas Seymour (1913-1950); Hindu Kush; Office of Strategic Services [OSS]; Kazakhs; Mongolians; Tibet; Mongols; Xinjian Province, China; Urumqi, China; Bessac, Frank (1922-2010); Inner Mongolia; Kazakh culture; Chinese culture; Mongolian culture; Anthropology; Travel; Life reminiscence

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

International Topics Oral History Collection, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula

Digital Publisher

University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library


Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 /

Oral History Number

OH 312-001, 002

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

2 sound cassettes (02:00:00 min.) analog + 1 transcript (15 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

01:19:07 minutes

Local Filename

OH_312_001_002.mp3; OH_312_001_002.pdf

Frank Bessac Interview, November 7, 1993