Frank Bessac Interview, March 1, 1988


Frank Bessac


Tim Church



Download Audio Interview (76.2 MB)

Download Transcript of Frank Bessac Interview (320 KB)


Frank B. Bessac discusses his interest in Asian studies and how serving as an intelligence agent in China during World War Two provided him with opportunities to familiarize himself with Chinese and Mongolian history and culture. He describes working for the U.S. government China relief mission after the war, which entailed traveling to Mongolia to deliver grain and other supplies. Bessac recalls interacting with various groups of people in Mongolia who were fighting for Mongolian autonomy during a time when Chinese invasion and settlement was rampant. He talks about the rural conditions in Inner Mongolia and the difficulties of effective political organization that the Mongolians faced. Bessac describes traveling with U.S. embassy vice consul, Douglas MacKiernan before MacKiernan was shot and killed. He also mentions meeting the Dalai Lhama.


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Document Type

Oral History


Mongolia; Communism, China; Chinese Nationalists; Chinese Communists; Mao Zedong; Mongolian People’s Republic; China relief mission; World War, 1939-1945; MacKiernan, Douglas Seymour (1913-1950); Hindu Kush; Dalai Lhama; 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 193-001

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 sound cassette (01:00:00 min.) analog + 1 transcript (12 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

00:59:41 minutes

Local Filename

OH_193_001.mp3; OH_193_001.pdf

Frank Bessac Interview, March 1, 1988