Although largely unheralded today, Wellington Koo was perhaps China's greatest statesmen of the 20th Century.

  • Political
  • Exhibited:
  • Collectibles
  • Literature:
  • 317
  • Medium:
  • Autographs
  • Notes:
  • Koo was born in Shanghai in 1888 and completed his education at Columbia University (U.S.A.) where his exposure to the West saw his appointment in 1912 as the English Secretary to Yuan Shi-kai, the first President of the Republic of China. In 1915 he was elevated to the pivotal role of Minister to the United States and Cuba and in 1919 he joined the Chinese delegation to the Paris Peace Conference at the conclusion of the Great War. Koo's call for the end of Imperialism was rejected by the Western powers and Japan and in protest China was the only nation in attendance to abstain from signing the Versailles Peace Treaty. His prescient diplomatic skills would later be called upon as China's founding delegate at both the 'League of Nations' and the 'United Nations.' During the tumultuous 1920s in his role as China's Minister of Foreign Affairs he was twice asked to assume the office of acting 'Premier,' and for a short time the ultimate role of 'President of the Republic of China.' He also served variously as the Chinese Ambassador to France from 1936 until its occupation by Nazi Germany in 1940, in the crucial war-time role as China's Ambassador to Britain, and also later as an Ambassador to the United States. He retired from the diplomatic ranks in 1956 to take up an appointment as a judge on the International Court of Justice where he served until 1967, the last three years as Vice-President. Phew! What a life.

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November 3, 2019 12:00 PM AEDT
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