Ion transport by the resting, isolated, rhesus gastric mucosa was assessed under conditions of minimal diffusion limitation to oxygen by 1) the substitution of Na+ and Cl- of the bathing solutions with less permeant ions, 2) the drugs amiloride and ouabain, and 3) estimation of net fluxes of 22Na by methods designed to circumvent the problem of poorly matched tissues. The mucosae developed potential differences of 51.3 +/ 3.5 mV, serosal side positive and had conductances of 5.56 +/- 0.30 mS x cm-2. The permeabilities of the tissues to D-mannitol were between 7.80 x 10(-7) and 3.15 x 10(-7) cm x s-1. The relatively high conductance of this epithelium in the absence of significant edge damage and a low (32%) paracellular conductance stems mainly from a passive permeability to Cl-; active absorption of Na+ and active secretion of Cl- contribute equally to the short-circuit current. The mucosal entry step for Na+ is amiloride sensitive, whereas the serosal exit step can be inhibited by ouabain. The entry step for Cl- at the serosal membrane is possibly sodium dependent.