493.11/9–2044: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in China ( Gauss )

1332. The Department concurs in the Embassy’s opinion that this Government should not allow to go unnoticed the action of the Chinese Government in abolishing the China Foundation (ReEmbs 1589, September 20, 1 p.m.)

The Department is informed that Kung4 has sent several telegrams to Chungking on the subject. The Committee in America of the Foundation held a meeting on September 30 and is preparing a statement of its own for possible future use. The general attitude of the members of the Committee at the meeting was that representations by the American Government might have a deterrent effect on the Chinese Government.

In the Department’s opinion, the action of the Chinese Government in ordering the abolition of the China Foundation conflicts with the intent of the two governments at the time of the remission and with the attitude of the two Governments since that time of avoiding interference in any way with the activities of the Foundation and the administration of the funds entrusted to it. The American Government would, therefore, appear to have ample basis for making its views in the matter known to the Chinese Government. You are accordingly authorized, in your discretion, to communicate to the Chinese Government in any form which you deem appropriate the following summary of this Government’s views:

A report has come to the attention of the American Government that the Chinese Government has ordered the abolition of the China Foundation for the Promotion of Education and Culture, the organization set up by the Chinese Government in 1924, for the purpose of administering the funds to be realized from the successive remissions of the balance of the American portion of the Boxer Indemnity.

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At the time of the establishment of the China Foundation it was the American Government’s understanding that the Foundation would be an independent, self-perpetuating organization free from interference by the two governments concerned. The American Government has studiously avoided since that time interfering with or influencing in any way the legitimate functions of the Foundation or its independent administration of the funds entrusted to it. It is believed that the Chinese Government on its part has likewise accorded the Foundation the freedom necessary to administer independently the funds entrusted to it and to function in accordance with the aims set forth in its Constitution. The American Government therefore learns with concern and regret that the Chinese Government now contemplates the abolition of the China Foundation which has for so many years been an outstanding example of Sino-American cultural cooperation.

The Foundation has represented in the minds of Chinese and Americans a highly commendable and exemplary form of cooperation and goodwill in the cultural field. Free from official control or influence, the Foundation has received the support of the best type of Chinese and Americans who have ably and unselfishly carried out the high objectives for which the Foundation was established. It is the considered opinion of this Government, supported, it is felt, by the American people interested in Chinese-American relations, that the abolition of the Foundation would be unfortunate at a time when the American people look forward to an expansion of China-American cultural cooperation. The American Government therefore hopes that the Chinese Government may find it possible to reconsider the matter in the light of the views expressed herein.

  1. H. H. Kung, Chinese Minister of Finance, in the United States as a delegate to the Bretton Woods Monetary Conference.