Memorandum by the American Consul General at Nanking (Peck) of a Conversation With the Chinese Acting Minister of Education (Li Shu-hua)7

Mr. Peck called on Mr. Li Shu-hua by appointment. He explained to the Minister of Education that he had enjoyed meeting him at the dinner given by the Minister for Foreign Affairs the previous week and wished to make his further acquaintance.

Mr. Peck explained to Mr. Li that during this period when the American Legation had not yet been moved to Nanking, the Department of State had appointed him, Mr. Peck, as a diplomatic officer resident in the Capital and desired that he keep the Department as fully informed as he could in regard to the activities of the Chinese Government and its attitude on various questions. Mr. Peck referred to the interest taken by the American Government in educational affairs in China, and said that this was a subject to which special attention would be given.

Mr. Li referred to the remission of the Boxer Indemnity for educational uses, and to the China Foundation for the Promotion of Education and Culture, etc.,8 as instances in which the American Government had set an example to other nations.

Mr. Peck said that in addition to the interest felt by the American Government, American citizens, as well, felt a great interest in the progress of education in China. The great number of schools established by them in China showed this. Mr. Peck referred to the matter of the registration with the Chinese authorities of educational institutions conducted in China by American organizations and observed that many institutions had so registered. Mr. Li observed that many of these institutions had been founded primarily with the attainment of religious objects in view, which fact, he understood, made it difficult for them to conform with the regulations which required the segregation of religious from secular instruction. Mr. Peck confirmed this, and said that he understood that the Ministry of Education did not object to the giving of religious instruction, provided it were given as something [Page 1013] quite distinct from the other courses of instruction. Mr. Li confirmed this.

Mr. Peck said that it was regrettable that the Branches of the Kuomintang (the Provincial Tang-pu) often were so hostile to American educational institutions, and he instanced the trouble caused to the Chi-lu University in Tsinan, Shantung. Mr. Li hastened to assure Mr. Peck that the Kuomintang must not be taken as harboring anti-foreign feelings. Mr. Peck remarked that the impression was general among foreigners that the Kuomintang was hostile to foreigners, and he supposed the reason was that so many of the slogans used by the Party were directed against foreigners.

Mr. Li was very cordial in his attitude.

  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Consul General at Nanking in his despatch No. D–60, July 16; received August 17.
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1924, vol. i, pp. 551 ff.