Alfred Sao-ke Sze

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Alfred Sao-ke Sze

Dr. Alfred Sao-ke Sze (Chinese: 施肇基; pinyin: Shī Zhàojī; Wade–Giles: Shih Chao-chi; 1877–1958) was a prominent Chinese politician and diplomat during the most turbulent period in modern Chinese history.

Early life[edit]

Sze was born on April 10, 1877. He became the first Chinese student to graduate from Cornell University in 1901.[1] He returned to China to work for the Peking government.

Career[edit]

Dr. Sze, along with Foreign Minister W.W. Yen, C.T. Wang and Wellington Koo, was part of a Chinese delegation which traveled to the United States in the fall of 1921 to negotiate with the U.S. to impose a limitation of armaments on Japan and to de-escalate tensions over Japan's aggressive, expansionist activities in Shantung.

From 1921-1929, Sze was head of the Chinese legation to the U.S., representing the Peking Government and securing U.S. support to contain Japanese aggression in northern China.[2] In January 1923, President Li Yuan-hung nominated Sze for the office of foreign minister, but of all the Cabinet nominations, Sze's alone was rejected by the legislature. In November 1928, Sze was appointed minister to Britain and delegate to the League of Nations. He was replaced in the legation to the U.S. by Dr. C.C. Wu.

In 1931, he was tapped as foreign minister again, but declined. At the time, he was actively representing the Republic of China at the League of Nations, denouncing Japanese military aggression in Manchuria and demanding the League's intervention. He warned the League that if it failed to act, China would have no choice but to re-arm. The League failed to act, so in December 1931, he offered his resignation. His offer was declined and he remained at post.

In January 1933, he was designated minister to the United States once again. He presented his credentials in February 1933. In July 1935, after the United States and the Republic of China agreed to raise their diplomatic missions from legations to embassies, Sze became the first Chinese ambassador to the United States. He was succeeded by C.T. Wang in 1937.

Dr. Sze was a founding member of to the World Bank and was a member of the Advisory Council of the World Bank from 1947 to 1950.[3]

Family[edit]

Dr. Sze had been married to Yu-hua "Alice" Tang. Tang's mother had been a lady in waiting to the Dowager Empress Cixi, her uncle was prime minister Tang Shaoyi and her cousin Tang Pao-yu was the wife of Wellington Koo.

Alfred’s Sze’s elder brother, Shi Sao (aka Chao) Tseng (施肇曾 Pinyin: Shī Zhàozēng), born 1868, was also a prominent official and served as a diplomat in USA 1893-1897. Upon returning to China he held several senior railway posts including Director-General of Lunghai Railways 1913-1922.

Alfred Sze had two sons and four daughters. Dr. Szeming Sze, was medical director of the United Nations from 1955-1968. Deson C Sze was a banker and also served as a private secretary to T.V. Soong. Mai-mai Sze was an accomplished painter, author and model. Julia Sze-Bailey and Alice Wang, lived in Manhattan and Boston, respectively.

Death[edit]

Dr. Sze died on January 3, 1958 at the age of 80.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cornell and China Cornell University.
  2. ^ Hill Nish, Ian (2002). Japanese Foreign Policy in the Interwar Period (Google Books). Praeger/Greenwood. ISBN 0-275-94791-2. 
  3. ^ "Index Sh-Sl". rulers.org. Archived from the original on 12 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-16. 

Numerous articles in the New York Times.

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Yan Huiqing
China's Ambassador to the United States
1933–1937
Succeeded by
Wang Cheng-t'ing