A New Appointment
In December 1942, General Chiang Kai-shek invited Fu, his then political vice minister for foreign affairs, to take up a new appointment as ambassador to Moscow. It was a personal directive. With great trepidation, and bound only by his sense of duty to a nation at war, Fu consented. He knew that a posting to far-away Soviet Russia would mean leaving behind close family, his wife and teenage son, as well as his mistress, Fanny. Worse still, Fu dreaded a position where he would have to depend to a large extent upon the co-operation of the General Affairs Department of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs under Li Weiguo. It would not be easy. When Song Ziwen replaced Quo Taichi as foreign minister in December 1941, Chiang appointed Li Weiguo to head the General Affairs Department of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Li was a member of Chiang’s ‘Brains Trust’, which at the time carried more weight in the determination of foreign policy than the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. On 9 January 1943, Fu complained bitterly in his diary about Li Weiguo’s attitude.
From 1937 to 1942 Chiang appointed three ambassadors to Soviet Russia, Jiang Tingfu, Yang Jie and Shao Lizi, and each of them had an influence on Chinese-Soviet relations. As Fu’s predecessors their views are worth noting.
Jiang Tingfu spent just one year as ambassador to Russia from October 1936 to November 1937. He was an established authority on Russian-Chinese diplomatic history, and chairman of the history department at Qinghua University in Beijing. Jiang was one of the leaders of anti-war opinion in China, and was respected by Chiang for his pacifist activities and knowledge of Russia. Jiang advocated closer relations with Russia to moderate Japanese pressure on China. He did not believe the Soviets would help China by entering the war against Japan, and he regarded Chinese attempts to lure Soviet Russia in this direction as harmful to both countries. He wanted China to independently strengthen her own military situation against Japan, and accused his replacement, Yang Jie, of using devious methods to secure Soviet entry into the war.
Yang Jie was a Yunnan military man, who also supported closer relations with Russia, but at the time of his appointment in late 1937, unlike Jiang Tingfu, he thought Russia was bound to enter into the war against Japan. Yang Jie had attended a military preparatory school in Japan and served under Chiang during the Northern Expedition as a division commander and director of field headquarters. Yang Jie had been Chiang Kai-shek’s chief of staff during a bloody showdown with warlords Feng Yuxiang and Yan Xishan in 1930. In 1931, he had become head of the Chinese Army Staff College, and in 1934 he had written a book, arguing that a Soviet-Chinese bloc would eventually defeat Japan.
Fu’s immediate predecessor, Shao Lizi, was born in 1882 and came from Zhejiang province. He had become a ‘zhuren’ when he passed his provincial examinations under the Qing regime, and he was a member of Tong Men Hui, the first revolutionary society under Sun Yatsen. He was appointed ambassador to Soviet Russia in April 1940, and returned to Chongqing in October 1942 ‘much disillusioned with his undertaking’. He resigned his position because he was opposed to the ‘anti-Soviet’ orientation of Chiang’s policies. Shao Lizi felt Stalin under-emphasized China because Chiang did not send top-level officials to Moscow for discussions. He accused Chiang of being under the influence of hard line anti-communists who would want to weaken the Soviet Union. Fu was the last ambassador to Moscow of the Republican period, and he stayed there for six years. In the end, he knew that he would never return to the Chinese mainland.