Pelliot was an expert on the Chinese: he explored central Asia and was a linguistic genius. Pelliot traveled widely collecting old manuscripts and conducting espionage for the Russians on the side. In this translation of Polo we note the mention of "monkeys of several kinds. And they have mercats and other baboon-cats so strange that it [is easy to see how someone could think they had human faces]
The skies grew narrower during the German occupation of Paris (1940-1944). TP ceased publication in 1942, not to resume until 1947. Pelliot continued his researches. He was French to the core, but had been too old to be conscripted for the war effort, and remained too proud to take a subordinate role in the ongoing but surreptitious Resistance. He limited himself to frosty contempt for the Vichy capitulation government, and in a celebrated incident, refused to shake the hand of a Vichy minister. Nor would he request official permission for the meetings of the Société Asiatique, which were therefore technically illegal during the occupation, a fact which nobody ever brought to the attention of the authorities. After the liberation of Paris, Pelliot made a brief visit to the USA, and died soon after his return.
This same article says that Pelliot shared the interest of his fellow sinologists in the history of religion. Some of the texts he brought back to France were Buddhist writings and form the basis for a renowned collection at the Bibliotheque Nationale. Of course, as is the case with the similar manuscripts at the British Museum collected by Aurel Stein, one assumes the manuscripts were plundered or obtained in a duplicitous manner.