Quo Tai-chi

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Quo Tai-chi (Who's Who in China 3rd ed., 1925)

Quo Tai-chi (Chinese: 郭泰祺, Wade–Giles: Kuo T'ai-ch'i) was a Chinese career diplomat during Republican Era of China and active member of the Kuomintang from the early years of the Republic of China until shortly after the fall of mainland China to the Communist Party of China.

Quo was born in Hupei (Hubei) province in 1888 and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1911, Phi Beta Kappa.

He was one of the technical delegates of China to the Paris Peace Conference, 1918–1919. At a time when the victors of the Great War were negotiating the spoils of war and punishment of the conquered, Quo controversially stated it would be better for the Germans to retain their concessions in Shantung (Shandong) than to allow the aggressive, militarist Japanese to take possession of them. The Chinese delegation's wishes were largely ignored by the European powers, and Quo's words proved prophetic as over the next three decades, Japan's appetite for conquest proved genocidal.

Quo published a book in English, entitled China's Fight for Democracy, in 1920, at a time when the Kuomintang was actively struggling against several regional warlords to reunify China as a democratic republic.

Quo Tai-chi held a variety of posts, including commissioner of foreign affairs of the "Canton government" in 1927 and Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China in the late 1920s and early 1930s. In 1929, he resigned the post of vice-minister of foreign affairs in protest of the placement of so many former imperial and warlord bureaucrats in the Kuomintang's Nanking (Nanjing) government, but was convinced to return. During one of his tenures as Vice-Minister, he was beaten by an angry, nationalist mob in Shanghai in May 1932 for his decision to sign an armistice with the Japanese, who were continuously pushing further into Chinese territory. He signed the armistice from the hospital, but resigned his post that year.

From 1932 to 1940, Quo served as the first Chinese representative to Britain elevated from minister/legate to ambassador. He worked tirelessly to make China's case against Japan's continued, aggressive expansion in northern China at a time when the British were far more concerned with fascist acts of war on the Continent. He also lobbied for an end to British arms sales to the Japanese, whose airplanes, armed with British guns, were killing countless civilians in China even before war was declared. While ambassador to Court of St. James, Quo also signed treaties of amity between China and the republics of Latvia and Estonia.

In April 1941, Quo was named to replace Wang Ch'ung-hui as foreign minister by the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang. During his time as foreign minister, he negotiated an end to the special, extraterritorial rights exercised by the United States and United Kingdom in China since the mid-19th century. It was also he who, on December 8, 1941, confirmed that the Republic of China was officially at war with not only Empire of Japan, but also Nazi Germany and Kingdom of Italy.

Quo represented China at the newly formed United Nations in San Francisco in 1946. He also presided over the first session of the U.N. Security Council held in March 1946 in New York. In November 1947, Y.P. Tsiang was named permanent Chief Chinese Delegate to the United Nations, replacing Quo. In December 1947, Quo was appointed Chinese ambassador to Brazil, replacing Cheng Tien-ku. He could remain the seat of China in the UN despite the communists' dominance in Mainland China and the establishment of the People's Republic of China.

Quo died on February 29, 1952 in Santa Barbara, California. He was 63.

References[edit]

  • Numerous articles in the New York Times and Time magazine.
Government offices
Preceded by
Wang Ch'ung-hui
Foreign Minister of the Republic of China
1941–1942
Succeeded by
T.V. Soong
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
post established
Permanent Representative and Ambassador of China to the United Nations
1946 – 1947
Succeeded by
Tsiang Tingfu