Introduction to the 1961 Diary

By Yixiao Zheng

Unlike the previous two years when the politics of presidential re-election had dominated Fu’s account of the domestic political scene, the year 1961 was to be a relatively quiet year with no major political upheaval in Taiwan (insofar as domestic politics is concerned). Nonetheless, readers may still sense the continuing political tension within the KMT regime in this year’s diary. Especially in the accounts of the early months of the year, readers may find many diary entries concerning the continuing speculation about the replacement of the Premier of the Executive Yuan as well as those regarding key personnel changes including the replacement of the President of the Legislative Yuan and the Minister of Education. Fu also recorded Ye Gongchao’s vivid recollection of the situation of the previous cabinet reshuffle, which revealed the deep tension between Chiang Kai-shek and Chen Cheng and their irreconcilable differences over some key personnel decisions. In this year’s diary, Fu duly recorded the circumstances surrounding the Fourth Plenum of the Eighth Central Committee of the KMT, as well as the fourth and fifth meetings of the KMT Central Policy Committee. Among other agendas, Fu’s account shows the prominence of foreign affairs and diplomatic work in those meetings this year. Readers may also find Chiang Kai-shek’s repeated indications of his great displeasure with the performance of the Party Committee, party workers and the efficacy of the entire party apparatus. This year also witnessed the convening of the first and second Yangmingshan Conference, where delegates at home and abroad were invited to Taipei to discuss a common strategy for national recovery, economic development and policy reform; Fu wrote about the preparations for these two conferences, which focused on economic development, and cultural-educational affairs respectively. Fu also noted several significant events taking place this year, such as the resumption of the operation of the Central Bank of the R.O.C. in Taiwan, the preparations for the establishment of Taiwan’s television broadcast service (with Chiang’s insistence on establishing the TV enterprise on the island despite opposition from the United States and the Vice President), the issuance of large-value banknotes (with Chiang’s support), and the arrest of Su Dongqi in 1961. This diary also shows that the return of Sun Ke, Chen Lifu and Zhang Fakui remained an unresolved issue.


The 1961 diary also provides further insights into Fu’s judicial work and the workings of the judicial system at the time. Some of those diary entries were concerned with the cases that were handled by the Commission on the Disciplinary Sanctions of Functionaries. For instance, on the final resolution of the case involving the five Supreme Court judges, Fu clearly illustrated the behind-the-scene-politics in this diary. Though the Supreme Court and the Control Yuan members had managed to reach a compromise solution at the end of the previous year, their dispute continued to drag on in the first two months of 1961 as a result of the lingering distrust between the two sides and the last-minute attempt by both sides to outmanoeuvre each other, which had almost undone the tacit agreement reached after months of political negotiation. The case was finally brought to an end in March, thanks to the negotiating and coordinating efforts of the leaders of the Judicial Yuan and the cooperation of the Commission on the Disciplinary Sanctions. Fu also wrote about how the Commission had to respond to the unfair criticisms levelled by the newspapers at the Commission’s handling of another two cases. Fu also described how he worked with the President of the Judicial Yuan to find a suitable replacement for a deceased Commissioner and his personal view on the desired attributes of a good Commissioner. The diary also records the proposed arrangements for personnel administration of the court service, which was designed as part of the planned jurisdictional reform for the judicial system that had yet to be implemented by the end of 1961. Readers could also find some entries regarding the status of the Judicial Yuan vis-à-vis other Yuans. For example, Fu noted in the diary the delicate relationship between the Judicial Yuan and the Legislative Yuan and his understanding of the constitutional relationship between the two bodies. Also noted is Fu’s attitude towards the Judicial Yuan’s political positioning vis-a-vis the Control Yuan. In this diary, Fu also recorded his several conversations with the Minister of Judicial Administration and others about the internal affairs of the Ministry of Judicial Administration. Also highlighted in the diary is a high-profile embezzlement case concerning the then Mayor of Taipei on bribery and corruption charges.


In contrast to the relatively quiet domestic political scene in Taiwan, the world of 1961 emerged in this diary as one of political turbulence and turmoil. The CPSU continued to be haunted by political infighting as the Stalin faction was being purged. The hardship of the people of the Chinese mainland was aggravated by the failure of agricultural policy, and many in the Chinese Communist Party had become disenchanted with the direction in which the country was heading. Compelled by a flagging economy and facing up to the realities of imperial decline, Britain finally began to see the necessity of joining the European project and applied to join the European Economic Community. As France was edging towards conceding independence to the protectorates, a French military coup took place in French Algeria to oppose the move, but de Gaulle remained determined to withdraw troops and end the war in Algeria. The Middle East was destabilized by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait with the support of the Arab League, and a coup d’état in Syria that brought to power a pro-Western government. A pro-U.S. and anti-Communist provisional government was formed in Brazil following a coup that deposed the country’s left-leaning President and Vice President. Hearsay about an impending Soviet-sponsored war against South Korea and Chiang Kai-shek’s military deliberations underscored the persistent tensions on the Korean Peninsula and the strong military links between the R.O.K. and the R.O.C. The diary also includes an interesting account of the behaviour of the representatives of the U.S., Indian, Soviet and British delegations at the United Nations Conference on Diplomatic Intercourse and Immunities held in Vienna, where the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 was signed.


However, the most closely watched international political developments in this diary concern the advent of the Kennedy administration and the new dynamics that emerged in the relations between the United States and the rest of the world thereafter. For instance, Fu noted the Western reaction to Kennedy’s inaugural speech and Kennedy’s relationship and policy difference with his Secretary of State (Rusk). Also noted is the U.S.-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion and Kennedy’s declared policy on U.S. readiness to pursue an interventionist strategy to fight Communism and protect U.S. security interests in the Western Hemisphere and beyond. Fu also highlighted the new American President’s reaffirmation of U.S. commitment to defending Berlin and resolving the German question during his visits to European allies, when Kennedy also pledged America’s continued commitment to European defence and the stationing of U.S. troops in Europe, as well as U.S. support for NATO’s military build-up and the establishment of a nuclear capability provided by the United States and Britain under NATO command. The diary also highlights Kennedy’s summit meeting with Khrushchev in Vienna in June, when the U.S. and Soviet leaders had failed to achieve any concrete results from their direct negotiation over questions such as nuclear testing, disarmament, Berlin, the future of Germany and the situation in Laos. Fu observed the challenges that arose from Khrushchev’s firmness during the summit talks and the Soviet Union’s subsequent six-month ultimatum, with the threat of force, calling for the Western powers to withdraw troops from Berlin and to reach a deal with the Soviet Union on Germany by the end of the year. Fu duly recorded the responses of the Kennedy administration and other Western governments to the Soviet threats and the inter-allied deliberations.


Readers could also find Fu’s own remarks in a number of places showing his personal concern about the foreign policy of the new American administration, such as his disapproval of Kennedy’s decision to engage in direct political talks with the Soviet leaders (which Fu saw as a ‘grave mistake’), his fear of the emergence of bipolar world politics dominated by the two superpowers working in collusion with each other at the expense of allies (as Stalin had always longed for), and his worry over the lack of resolve and firmness in U.S. policy towards the Chinese Communists as a result of Kennedy’s misguided hope that the Chinese Communists could change their policy and seek a normal relationship with the West. Fu also noted the U.S. attempt to persuade West Germany to recognise the status quo (the existence of East Germany), and registered his anxiety about the signs of new discord developing among the Atlantic allies as tensions emerged between the Americans and the French and West German allies who had doubts about the steadfastness of U.S. leadership under Soviet pressure since the Vienna summit. As part of the superpower rivalry, the diary also notes the resumption of nuclear testing by the Americans in response to the threat posed by Soviet nuclear testing. Readers could also find Fu’s account of Chiang Kai-shek’s views on the world situation, such as Chiang’s criticism of Kennedy’s joint policy declaration with the British leader, Chiang’s observation of the relationship between Moscow and Beijing, and Chiang’s assessment of the possibility of war between the Soviet Union and Communist China and between the Soviet Union and the United States.


It was in this period of heightened Cold War tension that the R.O.C. endeavoured to advance its security interest and associate itself with allies and like-minded governments in a common front against Communist China in 1961. This year, the R.O.C. hosted the visits of the President of Peru and the Vice President of Bolivia, and actively took part in a four-power conference to discuss anti-Communist strategy with the R.O.K., (South) Vietnam and the Philippines. Fu’s record of Chiang Kai-shek’s speech shows the important role of Southeast Asia in the KMT’s foreign policy design, and Fu noted Chiang’s grudging decision under U.S. pressure to withdraw the Nationalist force engaged in guerrilla operations in Indo-China. Despite a diplomatic incident caused by Foreign Minister Shen Changhuan’s critical remarks about the United States (which had led to the recall of the U.S. Ambassador to China), relations with the United States remained generally strong and continued to serve as the cornerstone of the R.O.C.’s national security and foreign policy.


Indeed, the Kuomintang regime’s dependency on the United States was most vividly displayed in the diplomatic battles to preserve the R.O.C.’s seat at the United Nations and to block Outer Mongolia’s admission to the United Nations, both of which were considered the greatest diplomatic crises confronting the R.O.C. this year. The R.O.C. had continued to occupy China’s seat in the United Nations since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. The Taipei government had been able to preserve its representation in the United Nations during the 1950s. In the politics of Chinese representation at the U.N. General Assembly, the United States government had played an instrumental role in shielding Taipei’s representation from Beijing’s continuous diplomatic efforts to ‘regain’ China’s seat in the United Nations with the support of Moscow and an increasing number of Third World states sympathetic to Beijing’s cause. For the most part of the 1950s, the United States managed to block Communist China’s admission to the United Nations by proposing a moratorium on considering the question of Chinese representation in the United Nations. However, the number of states in favour of the R.O.C.’s continued representation had fallen to a point where, by 1961, the United States realised that it could no longer expect to prevent the U.N. General Assembly from deliberating China’s representation, and accordingly, the Kennedy administration felt compelled to change what were in effect U.S. delaying tactics by trying to engineer a motion to declare the issue of Chinese representation to be an ‘important question’, which in accordance with Article 18 of the United Nations Charter, would effectively raise the bar for Communist China’s entry into the United Nations since any ‘important question’ would have to be decided by a two-thirds majority (as opposed to a simple majority) of the General Assembly. Apart from the mounting pressure from Communist China and its supporters who pressed for a change-over in Chinese representation in the United Nations, the R.O.C.’s plight in 1961 was compounded by the Soviet-sponsored motion to support Mongolia’s admission to the United Nations. As a result of the Soviet plot to link the issue of Mongolia’s U.N. membership with Mauritania’s admission to the United Nations, the R.O.C. had fallen victim to the Soviet linkage strategy, whereby Taipei’s insistence on vetoing Mongolia’s admission to the United Nations, on the basis that it was still a part of China, would risk the support of a significant number of (Muslim) African states for the R.O.C. representation in the United Nations.


This diary gives a fairly extensive account of the R.O.C. government’s handling of the questions of Chinese representation and Mongolia’s U.N. admission in 1961, as well as how the two allied governments of the R.O.C. and the United States sought to harmonise their respective policy stance in the common endeavour to work out a realistic strategy to preserve the R.O.C.’s seat in the United Nations.


Readers may find the Kennedy administration’s pledge of continued U.S. commitment to anti-Communist cause in Asia and the United Nations, and Washington’s repeated assurances that the United States government was committed to the R.O.C.’s representation in the United Nations and to opposing the Beijing government’s efforts to take China’s seat. There is also a brief account of the Kennedy administration’s preference for a ‘Two China’ solution (which was reportedly a strategy being considered to induce and force the Chinese Communists to refuse to take China’s seat by endorsing a motion that would allow both the Beijing and Taipei governments to represent China in the United Nations on the basis of the so-called ‘dual representation’ principle) as an alternative strategy to the ‘moratorium’ approach (whose effectiveness in blocking Communist China’s admission could no longer be guaranteed this year), and Kennedy’s subsequent abandonment of this ‘Two China’ plan in favour of the invocation of Article 18 of the U.N. Charter concerning the General Assembly’s procedural voting requirement for ‘important question’.


Readers could also identify from this diary a fairly clear timeline for Chiang Kai-shek’s evolving policy position on the Outer Mongolian question. Notwithstanding the advice of the American ally, the R.O.C. government had remained firm in its decision to do whatever it takes to prevent Mongolia from entering the United Nations (‘at any cost’). In the first half of the year, Chiang Kai-shek even seemed to be fairly optimistic about the diplomatic situation and Washington’s ability and resolve to support the R.O.C.’s dual aim of blocking both Communist China and Mongolia’s U.N. admission. Fu noted Chiang’s perception of the nature of interdependence between the R.O.C. and the United States and what was at stake for America, which provides the clue to Chiang’s misplaced confidence. Fu’s account of the events suggests that it was not until mid-October that Taipei finally began to openly retreat from its insistence on using its veto power to block Mongolia’s admission to the United Nations in the face of opposition from the United States and the difficult diplomatic circumstances. Fu’s account of the situation assessment (with respect to the voting outcome) carried out by both the Chinese and U.S. sides demonstrates the harsh realities that Chiang’s regime could not afford to ignore.


The process of policy harmonization between the R.O.C. and the United States on the question of Mongolia’s U.N. admission is also well documented in the diary, which notes Chiang’s flat refusal to consider the American proposal for a ‘Two China’ solution as well as the disagreement between the two sides on whether the R.O.C. should exercise veto powers over Mongolia’s accession to the United Nations. Apart from private correspondence between Chiang and Kennedy (and Rusk) noted in the diary, extensive political consultations also took place between and R.O.C. and U.S. leaders during Vice President Chen Cheng’s official visit to the United States, where the Kennedy administration tried to seek Chinese understanding on America’s position and the preferred policy tactics under contemplation. Fu’s accounts of the meetings and the subsequent developments show that the two sides had failed to reach a consensus as the U.S. side tried in vain to warn the Chinese side about the serious implications of a Chinese veto (which would be tantamount to ‘committing political suicide’) for the R.O.C.’s representation in the United Nations.


This diary also gives Fu’s record of the circumstances surrounding the participation of the R.O.C. representatives during the voting at the 16th General Assembly in October on Mongolia’s accession to the United Nations and the outcome of the General Assembly vote on the motion concerning Chinese representation in December. Readers may also find those diary entries revealing Fu’s cautiousness about airing his own view on the government’s policy on the Mongolian question, his disappointment about the misguided situation analyses provided by Ye Gongchao and Jiang Tingfu that had contributed to Chiang’s misplaced optimism early on, as well as those indicating Fu’s personal attitude towards political posturing on the Mongolia question, Ye Gongchao’s public statements criticising the U.S. government, the U.S. proposal for the ‘Two China’ solution, Kennedy’s foreign policy advisers, and the final outcome of the votes at the 16th General Assembly. Fu’s observations also cover the policy debate between those against the use of veto (including leading advocates of this stance such as Ye Gongchao and Jiang Tingfu who opposed risking the chance to preserve the R.O.C.’s representation for the sake of blocking Mongolia’s U.N. accession), and those in favour of a hard-line position (such as Shen Changhuan, Zhou Shukai, Chen Lifu and Gu Zhengding as noted in the diary). The diary also shows Chiang Kai-shek’s somewhat contradictory indications of his preparedness to withdraw from the United Nations altogether in the event that the Peking government succeeded in taking over the China seat. Fu also highlighted the huge embarrassment caused by the apparent U-turn in Taipei’s position on ‘veto’ to the newspapers in Hong Kong, which had defended the tough stance held by the Kuomintang government early on, and noted the unexpected decision in August by the Kennedy administration to postpone the establishment of diplomatic relations with Mongolia.


Many of Fu’s records of the situation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs this year are, in one way or another, related to the events surrounding the above-mentioned diplomatic struggle. For instance, Fu wrote about the selection of R.O.C. representatives for the Chinese delegation to the 16th United Nations General Assembly. Fu also wrote about how he had politely declined to offer any personal advice to Foreign Minister, Shen Changhuan, on his speech to be delivered at this year’s U.N. General Assembly and the reasons for that. Fu also noted that the Chinese Ambassador to Italy, Yu Junji, had proposed the invocation of Article 18 of the United Nations Charter (concerning the ‘two-thirds majority’ voting requirement for ‘important question’) as an alternative strategy to preserve China’s seat, and explained the reason why Yu’s suggestion had been repeatedly ignored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Jiang Tingfu. However, the most highlighted personality in this year’s diary is the then Chinese Ambassador to the United States, Ye Gongchao. Fu not only noted Ye’s difficult relationships with Foreign Minister Shen Changhuan and Former Deputy Foreign Minister Zhou Shukai, but also gave a personal account of the circumstances surrounding Ye’s recall from his ambassadorial post in October, and his forced resignation and personal conditions in Taipei after his return from the United States. For example, Fu wrote that Ye Gongchao and Jiang Tingfu had agreed that they would submit their resignations together if the government were to decide to veto Mongolia’s U.N. accession. Fu also recorded Ye Gongchao’s deep disappointment about what he had gone through before and after his forced resignation following his sudden recall and how he had tried to console Ye and advise him to hide his displeasure. Fu also noted how Fu had persuaded Ma Chaojun to help Ye by asking him to approach Chiang Ching-kuo, who reportedly felt sorry for Ye. Fu also wrote down his views about Ye Gongchao’s personality and Ye’s new government appointment as Minister without Portfolio at the Executive Yuan.


The 1961 diary also contains some interesting personal recollections of past events, including Fu’s own diplomatic experience in 1949. Fu told Zhang Qiyun about the circumstances surrounding his appointment to the post of foreign minister in 1949, and his supposedly discreet diplomatic initiative to negotiate a North-South division of China with the Soviet side in an attempt to save the Kuomingtang regime from a total military defeat in the face of the imminent threat of Communist takeover as Chinese Communist troops marched on. Fu also noted how the Nationalist government’s policy guidelines on the treatment of Chinese traitors after the recovery of the Chinese territory from the Japanese occupation had contributed to the tensions between the people and the government, which were then exploited by the Chinese Communists. Apart from stories about the situation on the mainland, there are also some diary entries touching upon past U.S. policy towards China, such as a former KMT general’s recollection of the forced disbandment of the KMT Central Organisation Department’s Military Party Affairs Section by Chiang Kai-shek under the pressure of General Marshall (who had yielded to Zhou Enlai’s demand), and the new U.S. President’s disappointment and criticism of America’s China policy during the final years of the 1940s when the lack of U.S. commitment to the government of the Republic of China and Washington’s decision to force the KMT regime to form a coalition government with the Chinese Communists had resulted in a hostile (mainland) China that seriously endangered the world’s balance of power. Accounts of the events of the Tehran Conference also emerged in this year’s diary following the release of secret documents on the Conference in the United States. Fu noted the fierce clashes between Stalin and Churchill over the question of Germany, Roosevelt’s lack of will to confront Stalin and his disappointing tendency to give in to Stalin’s demands, inhibit Churchill and betray China’s interests, and Chiang Kai-shek’s attempt to indicate to the United States Soviet territorial ambitions in China and political intentions. As Fu was reading de Gaulle’s personal memoir, he also noted de Gaulle’s strained relationship with his American counterpart during the war, and compared the French struggle against the dominance of the United States with the Chinese experience.

Reflecting on his current work, Fu wrote in this year’s diary that he would achieve no astonishing feats; nor could he easily make huge blunders in his present job. But he wrote that he indeed felt a gratifying sense of being respected and appreciated in his current role. As to his family life, Fu was somewhat concerned about his wife who was devoted to her restaurant business, and he was pleased to learn that their son’s job with the Royal Air Force had been extended for three years. His concubine in Hong Kong continued to rely on Fu’s cousin for financial assistance, and Fu indicated in the diary that this had always disturbed his conscience whenever he wrote to his cousin asking for help. Fu was very glad about the much-awaited reunion with his daughter from Hong Kong, who was able to enrol in the National Taiwan University and stay with him in Taipei since September; and the diary also contains a note on her mother’s wish to visit their two daughters once they had arrived to Taiwan and Fu’s view about their future interaction. Like some of his friends, Fu had put a significant amount of his savings into his friend’s company, which, having run into financial difficulties this year, was engulfed in a debt storm that had posed considerable risks to his and his friends’ savings; this diary records how Fu and his friends reacted to this incident, especially in the first half of the year. Like the 1960 diary, there are many diary entries with private remarks (including Fu’s own observations) about some of the well-known personalities at the time as well as some interesting anecdotes (such as Jiang Menglin’s remarriage). Readers may also find interesting accounts of Fu’s new passion for tape recording, as well as the wine girl culture that was presumably fairly prevalent among Chinese mandarins in Taipei at that time. Another notable event recorded this year is the repeat of threats posed by devastating typhoons during the hurricane season.