Biography in English

Shih Chao-chi (10 April 1877-3 January 1958), known as Sao-ke Alfred Sze, diplomat who became Chinese minister to the Court of St. James's in 1914 and who spent most of the rest of his life outside China. In addition to serving as China's chief envoy to Great Britain and the United States, he was plenipotentiary delegate to many international conferences. After 1941 Sze maintained residence in the United States.

Ch'unhsiaoli, Chentsechen, Kiangsu, was the birthplace of Sao-ke Alfred Sze, the son of Shih Tse-ching. a chü-jen who was a buyer of silk for export. At the age of five, Sze was sent to a local school to begin his training in the Chinese classics. He enrolled at the T'ungwen-kuan at Miaohsiangan in 1886, but he contracted rheumatism after studying there for a year. Accordingly, he went to Shanghai in 1887 and enrolled at St. John's Academy (later St. John's University), where he studied for three years. During the last year of his residence there he served as editor of the student publication, St. John's Echo. In 1890 he transferred to the Kuo-wen hsueh-yuan [Chinese literature academy], where he studied for two years. In 1893 Sao-ke Alfred Sze was appointed a student interpreter at the Chinese legation in Washington. He proceeded to his post in the company of Yang Ju, the newly appointed minister to the United States, Spain, and Peru. After arriving in Washington in August, Sze enrolled at Central High School. He continued to serve as a legation attache until the summer of 1897, when he resigned to enroll at Cornell University. His studies were interrupted in 1899 when Yang Ju, who had become minister to Russia, requested that Sze serve as an interpreter at St. Petersburg. Sze accepted the appointment, went to Russia, and then accompanied Yang Ju to the First Hague Conference. He received a B.A. in 1901 and an M.A. in 1902, thus becoming the first Chinese to be educated at Cornell. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi.

Sze returned to China in the summer of 1902 and went to Hankow to visit his elder brother Shih Ch'eng-chih, who then was assistant manager of the China Merchants Steam Navigation Company. At that time, Tuan-fang (1861-1911; ECCP, II, 780-82), was looking for people with modern training and Sze, on his brother's recommendation, was appointed English secretary in the governor's office at Wuchang, superintendent of the Northwestern High School, and supervisor of Hupeh students in the United States. He accompanied a group of students to the United States to take up their studies. While he was there, Jeremiah W. Jenks, a Cornell economics professor, was invited to visit China for the purpose of studying its currency system and suggesting reforms. Sze, on the recommendation of the Chinese legation at Washington, was appointed Jenks's interpreter by the Ch'ing government, and he returned to China in 1903 with the Jenks mission. In the course of the mission's tour of various provinces, Sze met such important officials as T'ang Shao-yi and Hsu Shih-ch'ang(qq.v.).

In the autumn of 1902 Sao-ke Alfred Sze escorted a second group of Hupeh students to the United States. This group included Tuan-fang' s son and V. K. Wellington Koo (Ku Wei-chun, q.v.). From 1902 onwards, in the absence of Chang Chih-tung (1837— 1909; ECCP, I, 27-32), Tuan-fang had been acting governor general of Hupeh and Hunan. In 1904, however, Chang returned to Wuchang, and Tuan-fang became governor of Hunan. When Sze returned from the United States, he reported to Chang Chih-tung's office in Wuchang. He was appointed English secretary in the office of Wang Feng-tsao, the secretary general. He became friendly with Pi Kuangtsu, a chü-jen who was a secretary in Chang Chih-tung's office. Pi profoundly influenced Sze's development as an official. After dealing successfully with a case involving the importing of goods without payment of likin tax, Sze received appointment to seven new positions, the most important of which was that of commissioner of the copper mint.

In July 1905 Hsu Shih-ch'ang (q.v.) asked Sze to accompany a five-man mission being sent abroad to study Western systems of government. When Chang Chih-tung heard of this development, he dismissed Sze from his posts. Sze then accepted the invitation. Because of a bombing incident at the Peking railway station, the departure of the mission was delayed. Three of the ministers, including Hsu Shih-ch'ang, withdrew from participation, leaving Tuan-fang and Tai Hung-tz'u to head it. Tuan-fang confirmed Sze's appointment, and the mission finally left China in December. In the meantime, on 27 November, Sze had married Yü-hua Alice T'ang (b. 1886), a daughter of T'ang Chieh-ch'en and a niece of T'ang Shao-yi. The mission spent several months in the United States and Europe, returning to China in mid- 1906. In September, Sze took the government examinations in law and obtained the coveted chin-shih degree. T'ang Shao-yi, now senior vice president in charge of railway administration of the newly established Board of Posts and Communications, appointed Sao-ke Alfred Sze director general of the Peking-Hankow Railway and junior secretary of the board in 1906. After Sze refused to give the Liu-ho-kou Coal Mining Company preferential treatment, shareholder pressure forced his removal from the junior secretaryship on grounds of loss of public confidence and nepotism on the part of T'ang Shao-yi. It was assumed that he would resign the directorship of the Peking-Hankow Railway, but he did not. After T'ang Shao-yi became governor of Fengtien in April 1907, Sze was transferred to the post of assistant director general of the Peking-Mukden Railway, serving under Shouson Chow (Chou Ch'angling, q.v.). In 1908 Sze became tao-t'ai of the Kirin northwestern circuit, superintendent of customs at Harbin, and director of the Kirin bureau of forestry. Among the important cases he handled in Harbin was the investigation of the assassination of Ito Hirobumi in 1909. The following year, he resigned from his Kirin posts to become junior counsellor in the Board of Foreign Affairs at Peking. He was made senior counsellor in August 1911, and later that year he was appointed minister to the United States, Mexico, Cuba, and Peru. Before he could leave China to assume the ministership, the Wuchang revolt broke out. The republican revolution left him jobless in Peking. In the spring of 1912 T'ang Shao-yi, the premier in the new republican government, appointed Sao-ke Alfred Sze minister of communications and acting minister of finance. When T'ang resigned in June, Sze also left his post. Sze subsequently was named minister to the United States, but the Parliament refused to confirm his appointment. In November 1913 Sze was made chief of protocol in the presidential office, and in June 1914 he was named minister to the Court of St. James's. Sze arrived in London in December, and he remained there throughout the First World War. He served as a Chinese delegate to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, but played a less prominent role in it than did Wellington Koo and C. T. Wang (Wang Cheng-t'ing, q.v.).

Sao-ke Alfred Sze was appointed minister to the United States in September 1920, and he assumed office in February 1921. That autumn, he was designated chief of the Chinese delegation to the Washington Conference. It presented China's "Ten Points," which included a definition of China, its territorial and administrative entity, and its right to participate in international conferences affecting its interests. Although the Chinese delegation, which also included Wellington Koo and C. T. Wang, did not achieve all of its aims, it obtained substantial benefits from the negotiations: the Nine Power treaty signed in February 1922 and the settlement of the Shantung issue. In January 1924 Sze assumed the post of minister of foreign affairs, but he resigned in February after the Senate refused confirmation of his appointment. He then returned to his post as minister to the United States and negotiated an exchange of letters with the Department of State governing the use of remitted American Boxer Indemnity funds for the education of Chinese students in the United States. He later was appointed a trustee of the China Foundation for the Promotion of Education and Culture, the body charged with allocating these funds. In the summer of 1924 and again in 1925 Sze was China's chief delegate to meetings of the International Opium Conference, held at Geneva under the auspices of the League of Nations. When the Customs Tariff Conference convened at Peking in October 1925 in somewhat tardy fulfillment of an agreement reached at the Washington Conference, Sze was appointed to a special commission to advise the Chinese delegation. His contributions to the work of the conference were speeches made in the United States. Sze's only trip outside the United States in 1926 was a brief journey to Turkey.

During the Northern Expedition, Sao-ke Alfred Sze's legation communicated with the Chinese Nationalists, but he maintained a technically proper attitude by stating that his official representation was "confined to the Peking Government." In May 1928 the Nationalists implicitly challenged his standing by sending C. C. Wu (Wu Ch'ao-shu, q.v.) to Washington as a special envoy. On the eve of the entry of Nationalist forces into Peking and the dissolution of the Peking government, Sze advocated that foreign powers adopt a "hands-off" policy. Sze's appointment as minister to the United States was confirmed by the National Government at Nanking in mid-July. In November, however, C. C. Wu was appointed to the Washington post, and Sze was named minister to the Court of St. James's. Sze returned to China for a visit before proceeding to his new post. He reached London in time to represent China at the International Postal Union Conference in May 1929. He held the London post for three years, and in December 1930 he also became chairman of the Sino-British Purchasing Commission. In July 1931 he was appointed China's chief delegate to the Assembly of the League of Nations. After Japan invaded Manchuria in September, he also represented China on the League Council. When a Kuomintang-sponsored mass meeting of Chinese residents of Paris voiced bitter complaint against the League Council's handling of China's case and criticized Sze's representation as being weak, he offered to resign. His resignation was refused. Nevertheless, W. W. Yen (Yen Hui-ch'ing, q.v.) replaced him as China's representative to the League Council in January 1932. Sze resigned from his London posts in April, saying that his health was poor. Because W. W. Yen was kept from his duties as minister to the United States by his League of Nations responsibilities, Sze became acting minister to the United States in October. When Yen became ambassador to the Soviet Union, Sze succeeded him at Washington. In June 1935 China and the United States raised the status of their respective missions, and Sze became China's first ambassador to the United States. He held this post until May 1937, when he was succeeded by C. T. Wang.

Sao-ke Alfred Sze retired from his country's diplomatic service in 1937 and took up residence in Shanghai. He remained there after the Sino-Japanese war broke out in July. He served as director of the propaganda section of the International Relief Committee, and he founded the Anti-Tuberculosis Association, which supported a hospital at Shanghai. In July 1938 he was appointed to the People's Political Council at Chungking, but he did not go to Free China to play an active role in the work of that advisory body. He took up residence in Shanghai in 1940, and he went to the United States in June 1941. On 12 July 1341 President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Sze "American non-national commissioner" on the five-man United States-Union of South Africa International Peace Commission. In December, after the United States entered the War in the Pacific, Sze became vice chairman of the China Defense Supplies Commission, stationed in Washington to handle Chinese procurement. At war's end, he served as senior adviser to the Chinese delegation at the United Nations Conference on International Organization at San Francisco in June 1945. From 1948 to 1950 he served on the advisory committee for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He suffered a stroke in October 1954 and was incapacitated for several months, but he made a gradual though partial recovery. Sao-ke Alfred Sze died in Washington, D.C., on 3 January 1958. He was survived by his wife, two sons, four daughters, and twelve grandchildren. In the course of his career, Sao-ke Alfred Sze received several honors from the National Government, including the First Order of Wenhu in September 1921 and the First Class Tashou Paokuang Chiaho and the Second Order of Merit in March 1922. Such educational institutions as Columbia University, the University of Toronto, Syracuse University, Lafayette College, Grinnell College, and St. John's University in Shanghai awarded him honorary degrees. In 1954, before his stroke, Sze told Anming Fu the story of his life up to 1914 for publication after his death. Sao-ke Alfred Sze : Reminiscences of His Early Years was published in English in 1962.

Biography in Chinese

字:植之 西名:绍基•阿尔弗烈德•施

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