Fu Bingchang’s final diaries covered his life in Taiwan. He returned to Taiwan in 1957, having resided abroad for many years. In mid-1958, Fu was appointed Vice President of the Judicial Yuan, Chief Commissioner of the Commission on the Disciplinary Sanctions of Functionaries and member of the KMT Central Advisory Committee (Fu had already been appointed National Policy Adviser to the President in 194*/195*). Fu resumed writing his diary shortly after his reinstatement in public service, following what seemed to be an interruption of about two and a half years (from 14th February 1956 to 21 September 1958). This collection of personal diaries started from 22nd September 1958, and ended on 14th July 1965.
From the war of resistance against Japan during WWII to the Chinese civil war that coincided with the beginning of the Cold War, not only had his diaries been written during times of national crisis, but Fu had also been directly involved in the making of history in his own capacity as the Chinese Ambassador to Soviet Russia. Indeed, Fu himself had been part of the grand process that had shaped the fate of his nation and the history of the 1940s. In this regard, it may be said that there had been a relatively clear and overarching theme that runs through Fu’s diaries in each of those wartime periods.
Since his return to Taiwan, Fu was no longer at the forefront of R.O.C. diplomacy, and could be said to have settled into semi-retirement on the Taiwan island. In other words, he was no longer directly involved in some of those most important events that had dictated the overriding narrative of that particular period of R.O.C. history stretching from 1958 to 1965. Accordingly, there is no convenient way to frame the overall sense of Fu’s writings in Taiwan; and there appears to be less coherence and more fragmentation in the content of the Taiwan diaries in the absence of an overarching unifying framework comparable to those in his earlier wartime diaries.
Still, this collection of Fu’s Taiwan diaries is not without its historical setting. While the development of the Cold War provided the broader international context, what has emerged from those diary pages is a political situation that reflected the overriding concern of the R.O.C. government at the time, as the Kuomintang regime faced the dual imperative of preserving its survival in the face of the Communist threat from across the Taiwan Strait and persevering in its efforts to transform the Taiwan island into a bastion of anti-Communism in preparation for the recovery of the Chinese mainland. As a KMT elder statesman taking refuge in Taiwan, Fu’s final years had been in no small measure informed by those political circumstances, which had set the immediate background for his last diaries. Having an appreciation of the historical context would help bring a wider sense of meaning to his writing.
The Taiwan diaries encompass a fairly wide range of themes. By and large, they could be categorised into four broad areas, namely, domestic politics, judicial affairs, foreign affairs, and personal life. Thanks to the diarist’s seniority in government and political connections within the Kuomintang, the Taiwan diaries offer a great many personal observations of the R.O.C.’s domestic political situation such as major policy developments and the rough and tumble of top-level KMT politics. Because of Fu’s position in the Judicial Yuan, the Taiwan diaries also give readers fascinating insights into the workings of the Commission on the Disciplinary Sanctions of Functionaries in particular and the situation of the R.O.C. judicial system in general during the period between the late 1950s and mid-1960s. The diaries also provide an extensive coverage of foreign affairs, not only following closely some of the major developments in world politics with the Cold War featuring prominently, but also tracing the changing fortune of the R.O.C.’s place in the world especially in connection with relations with major powers. The Taiwan diaries also give readers an interesting glimpse into Fu’s private life in Taiwan, including aspects of his family and social life, personal hobbies, health and physical condition, as well as the diarist’ perspective on his political career. The individual introduction to each of the Taiwan diaries is therefore structured broadly in line with such a thematic division.
As a keen observer of the political scene in the R.O.C., Fu offered a fairly substantial account of the major developments unfolding within the KMT regime since the late 1950s.
The Taiwan diaries contain many references to the ongoing preparations for the military campaign aimed at retaking the Chinese mainland from Communist rule, and in relation to this, Chiang Kai-shek’s dashed hopes for a Third World War on which his strategy of ‘counteroffensive and national recovery’ had previously hinged. Readers may find some passing references to the military morale on the island, as well as more detailed accounts of the enormity of the difficulties faced by the KMT regime in obtaining American permission and support for the cause. Readers may also get a sense of Chiang Kai-shek’s single-mindedness in spite of the R.O.C.’s apparent vulnerability to U.S. pressure against the move, not least in view of Chiang’s growing emphasis on the importance of self-reliance in pursuit of national recovery as highlighted by the diaries. Fu never wrote about his personal opinions on the merits of the counterattack strategy, but readers may find his thinking on the timing of the campaign in relation to the international situation in the 1965 diary.
A major political event covered in detail by the Taiwan diaries is Chiang Kai-shek’s quest for a third presidential term. The diaries offer an interesting description of the political circumstances in the period leading up to Chiang Kai-shek’s presidential re-election at the Third Session of the First National Assembly in 1960, such as the political mobilisation, constitutional deliberations (including speculation about constitutional revision, constitutional interpretation, amendment of the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of National Mobilisation for Suppression of the Communist Rebellion), voices of dissent, as well as political manoeuvring and power struggle on the part of both Chiang Kai-shek and General Assembly members over the proposed constitutional revision to institutionalise the General Assembly’s rights of initiative and referendum. The diaries also reveal Fu’s position on this issue, including his views on Chiang’s continued leadership, the constitutionality and legality of the presidential re-election for a third term, and the method for achieving this.
Another major aspect of the political landscape highlighted by the diaries concerns the political standing of Vice President Chen Cheng, who concurrently served as Premier of the Executive Yuan (from July 1958 to December 1963) and Vice President of the Kuomintang (from October 1957 until his death in March 1965). The diaries highlight the tensions between Chen and elected representatives of the elected institutions, especially the mutual disdain and contempt between the Vice President and members of the Control Yuan and the Legislative Yuan. Also frequently noted in the diaries are the recurrent rumours about Chen’s resignation as Premier of the Executive Yuan circulating before and after his reappointment in 1960. The diaries also contain interesting accounts of Chen’s difficult and complex relationship with President Chiang, which, coupled with his failing health, had eventually led to his resignation from the Executive Yuan at the end of 1963. The diaries also cover some of the key personnel changes within the Executive Yuan, especially the cabinet reshuffle following Chen Cheng’s resignation and the political challenges faced by Chen’s successor, Yan Jiagan.
The Kuomintang party affairs also feature in the Taiwan diaries. Fu duly recorded his own involvement in KMT affairs, such as his participation in a variety of Party conferences and meetings, including the annual plenary sessions of the KMT Central Committee, meetings of the KMT Central Advisory committee, the monthly gatherings of the Small Party Group to which he had been assigned to, as well as the Party’s Central Policy Committee meetings. The most important Party meeting covered by the Taiwan diaries is the Kuomintang’s Ninth National Congress convened in November 1963. Among other agendas, the Congress re-elected Chiang and Chen as the Party’s President and Vice President respectively, revised the Party Charter and adopted its guidelines for countering-Communism and recovering the nation. Notably, Fu always kept a detailed record of the proceedings of the annual plenum of the Central Committee held in the fall each year, including Chiang’s important speeches and remarks (usually given at the closing session) that tend to give much insight into the supreme leader’s thinking on the situation. Though Fu was not an attendee of the KMT Central Standing Committee meetings, he could often learn about some of the Central Committee’s deliberations (including President Chiang’s attitude) from friends such as Ma Chaojun. Fu highlighted Chiang’s growing concerns about the efficacy of the Party apparatus and his displeasure with the poor performance of the Central Committee, the lack of morale and discipline among Party cadres, and the growing alienation of the Taiwanese people. The diaries also note some of the KMT’s reform measures, including the establishment of the KMT Central Policy Committee and its subsequent deliberations, as well as party membership re-registration.
The Taiwan diaries also reveal some other interesting aspects of the R.O.C. government and politics. For example, they contain several accounts of the political dynamics within the elected bodies. Readers could find interesting references to the factional division of the Legislative Yuan, the infighting within the Control Yuan, the prominence and influence of the CC-clique, the power struggle between the two institutions and the difficult position of their respective Presidents. Fu also wrote about the situation of Taiwan’s provincial government and local politics, such as the circumstances surrounding Zhou Zhirou’s departure as Taiwan’s Provincial Governor and the mayoral election in Taipei. The 1962 diary features the selection and appointment of the President of the Academic Sinica, with interesting accounts of Zhu Jiahua’s role in this process. Another recurrent topic of the Taiwan diaries concerns the return of Kuomintang elders or prominent personalities such as Sun Ke, Chen Lifu, Zhang Fakui and Wei Daoming from abroad. The circumstances surrounding Sun Ke’s return from the United States is the most extensively covered, especially in the last two diaries. As Sun Ke’s long-time political associate and trusted friend, Fu had played an instrumental role in facilitating Sun’s return in 1965 to take part in the centenary celebration of Sun Yat-sen’s birth to be held in Taiwan. Readers could find an honest account of why and how Sun Ke had enlisted the help of Fu in helping resolve his debt crisis in America, which had been partially settled with the help of Chiang Kai-shek. The 1965 diary also provides a detailed account of the return of the ‘Boothe Papers’ and other precious historical documents related to the Founding Father to Taiwan from the United States for the centenary celebration of Sun Yat-sen’s birth. Readers may also find some passing references to the economic situation in Taiwan at the time. Brief references are also made to the Lei Zhen case in the 1960 diary, the Su Dongqi case in 1961 and the Zhao Zhihua case in 1964.
A significant dimension of the Taiwan diaries concerns Fu’s responsibility at the Judicial Yuan and his observations of the country’s judicial system.
The diarist served as Vice President of the Judicial Yuan, but his main responsibility, on a daily basis, seemed to be the management and overseeing of the functioning of the Commission on Disciplinary Sanctions of Functionaries, which was an organ of the Judicial Yuan and which he also chaired. The diaries illustrate the kind of individual disciplinary cases that had been handled by the Commission. Also noted is the efforts under Fu’s charge to establish a filing and archiving system that set out a scheme of classification for all the disciplinary cases heard since the implementation of the Constitution and laid down the standard criteria for the imposition of penalties and sanctions based on all precedent cases. But most importantly, the Taiwan diaries have shed much light on the political difficulties faced by Fu and his Commissioners in carrying out their duties as highlighted by a number of thorny and/or high-profile cases in the diaries.
What the diaries have shown in this regard is an established pattern whereby the Commission had been under constant pressure of the Control Yuan to hand down serious punishment, while having to deal with powerful political backers attempting to intercede and protect the accused in the disciplinary cases. When deliberating on the sensitive cases, the Commission often found itself in a precarious and difficult, sometimes even politically dangerous, position vis-a-vis those powerful stakeholders. Apart from the Control Yuan, the Commission had been pressured in one way or another by the Vice President, the Executive Yuan, and KMT Central Committee, and even President Chiang. The diaries reveal the enormous difficulties in maintaining the Commission’s neutrality and fairness, especially amidst intense political struggles, such as those between the Control Yuan and the Ministry of Judicial Administration, between the Control Yuan and the Supreme Court, and even between the Control Yuan and the KMT Central Committee and the President.
Indeed, the most remarkable aspect of the Commission’s standing was its complex and problematic relationship with the Control Yuan, since many of the cases heard by the Commission were referred to it by the Control Yuan and/or being closely watched by its ombudsmen. As the diaries show, the problem between the two sides has been compounded by considerable suspicion and mistrust on the part of some Control Yuan members; and the latter’s obsession with what they believed to be excessive leniency by the Commission in the treatment of the accused, together with their other misgivings about the Commissioners, had culminated in what may be seen as a direct conflict between the two sides in 1964. What makes the situation even more complicated is the underlying ambiguity over the nature of the constitutional relationship between the Control Yuan and the judiciary (including the Commission on Disciplinary Sanctions of Functionaries) at large. Fu and his fellow Commissioners were therefore placed under immense pressure given their vulnerability to the ombudsmen’s criticism, even threat of impeachment at some point.
The Taiwan diaries also help illuminate Fu’s leadership and management style. Fu had been looking after the day-to-day running of the Commission on Disciplinary Sanctions of Functionaries, but he never took part in the adjudication of any specific individual case brought before the Commission; indeed, the diaries show that Fu had always declined to interfere in the proceedings of the Commission by exercising his influence in favour of the accused. Apart from the principle of ‘non-interference’, throughout the diaries, Fu had attached great importance to judicial impartiality and kept on stressing the virtues of neutrality and fairness to his fellow Commissioners, who were asked to consider each case on its own merits in order to be able to arrive at a fair and lawful decision notwithstanding the huge political pressure under which they had to function; Fu believed that only by upholding impartiality could the Commission really establish itself on a firm footing; and in response to the criticism of the Commission’s alleged excessive leniency, Fu wrote that the fairness of the Commission’s rulings had been vindicated by the fact that they had always drawn criticism from both sides and the punished were not happy with the outcome too. When the Commission’s position had come under public scrutiny and unfair criticism from the media, Fu, who was also a great admirer of the British legal custom and practice, asked his fellow Commissioners to adopt the British style of ‘no response to criticism after ruling’ by refraining from making any public response in defence of their decisions and avoiding public debate, because the Commissioners only had to answer to the law and their own conscience; Fu could only wish that there had been a British-styled judicial safeguard in place whereby unwarranted public discussion of any specific judicial cases under adjudication would be deemed ‘Contempt of Court’ and should be prohibited for the sake of preserving the dignity of the court.
Moderation was also one of Fu’s virtues. Despite pressure from the ombudsmen, his diaries underscored the earnestness of his desire and effort to avoid misunderstanding with the Control Yuan, to preserve the reputation of the Control Yuan and to protect the prestige of the government. Although he was keen to defend the integrity of his fellow Commissioners and at times had disagreed privately with President Xie Guansheng’s readiness to compromise and tendency to yield to what he saw as the excessive demands of the ombudsmen, Fu had adopted a moderate and non-confrontational approach to his dealings with the Control Yuan and was willing to communicate with critics of the Commission via intermediaries to assuage their concerns. As a politician, Fu was also capable of showing flexibility in response to the demands of the supreme leader and the Party’s Central Committee when circumstances required him to accommodate the concerns of the President and make decisions consistent with the broader interests of the Kuomintang, provided such accommodation, provided it was not unlawful. On other occasions, he was cautious and protective of the reputation of the Party as he tried to shield the Central Committee from the risk of being accused of interfering in legal proceedings.
Apart from his work at the Commission on Disciplinary Sanctions of Functionaries, the diaries also covered the situation in the broader judicial system. As the Vice President of the Judicial Yuan, Fu wrote about his close cooperation with President Xie Guansheng and Gu Ruxun (who was Fu’s right-hand man at the Commission on Disciplinary Sanctions of Functionaries), and the Judicial Yuan’s personnel matters concerning the nomination and appointment of Justices. Readers could also get a sense of the status of the Judicial Yuan vis-à-vis other government bodies, not only from Fu’s description of the delicate relationship between the Judicial Yuan and the Legislative Yuan and his understanding of the constitutional relationship between the two institutions, but also from Fu’s personal perspective on the Judicial Yuan’s political positioning vis-a-vis the Control Yuan. There are many diary entries containing Fu’s observations of the situation in the Ministry of Judicial Administration (now the Ministry of Justice) and the District and Provincial judicial apparatus under the jurisdiction of the Ministry. For instance, the diaries note the serious state of judicial degradation in Taiwan as well as its causes of the systemic corruption. Fu also highlighted a few high-profile cases such as the Wang Zhen case, the Li Caifa case, and a case involving Ma Chaojun (the Federation of Overseas Chinese Associations). The diaries also cast light on the extent of the KMT’s influence in the judicial processes. Also noted are the management style of former Minister Gu Fengxiang and current Minister Zheng Yanfen, the Ministry’s internal power struggle as well as certain personnel issues.
One important development featured in the Taiwan diaries concerns the institutional reform of the judicial system. Fu gave an account of the political controversy surrounding the constitutional interpretation by the Justices of the Judicial Yuan concerning the jurisdictional matters within the judicial system, which set the stage for the subsequent deliberations on the reforms of the jurisdiction over the District and High Courts, the separation of the separation of the prosecution service and the court service, as well as the Executive Yuan’s jurisdiction over the Ministry of Judicial Yuan. The diaries reveal the views and positions of various stakeholders in the process, such as Chiang Kai-shek’s evolving attitude towards the proposed changes to the institutional jurisdiction over the District and High Courts, the opposition of the Legislative Yuan and the KMT Central Committee to the proposal that the District and High Courts should be brought under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, the KMT Central Committee’s position in favour of the Executive Yuan retaining its jurisdiction, the division between the Judicial Yuan and the Executive Yuan over the jurisdictional change for the District and High Courts, as well as the reactions of the Minister of Judicial Administration and the President of the Supreme Court to the proposed separation between the prosecution and the court. What had eventually come out of the deliberations was unclear, but the strength of the political resistance to the proposed reform programmes and the lack of consensus among key stakeholders from government and Party were apparent as shown by Fu’s record. In the diaries, Fu also wrote about his own view on the judicial reforms and explained the reasons why he had refrained from making any comments about the reform, which he saw as an essentially political question. The Taiwan diaries also make some references to the legislative issues, such as the circumstances surrounding the revision of the Public Functionaries Discipline Act as well as the government’s deliberations on a number of laws and legislative amendments.
The Taiwan diaries covered foreign affairs extensively. Fu wrote about major developments not only in world politics but also in the R.O.C.’s foreign relations. He was a regular reader of U.S. newspapers including the New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, the Newsweek Magazine, and the Times Magazine, which seemed to be his main source of information about global events during the Taiwan years. Fu also received fairly regular updates on the country’s diplomatic situation and some of its latest foreign policy developments from internal government and Party conferences as well as friends and former subordinates from the diplomatic circle.
The politics of the Cold War features prominently in the diaries’ coverage of the world situation around the globe. As to the superpower rivalries, Fu watched closely the developments relating to Germany (such as the Berlin crisis, the breakdown of the Paris summits in 1960, the question of German reunification), the nuclear politics (such as the nuclear arms race, the nuclear arms control and non-proliferation efforts – the signing of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963), the Cuban missile crisis (including the reported secret deals between Kennedy and Khrushchev) and the prospect of war between the Soviet Union and the United States. The diaries highlight their mutual desire to avoid war with each other, and the Soviet desire for peaceful co-existence and a negotiated settlement with the Americans.
Fu also surveyed the dynamics of the Atlantic alliance. The diaries noted U.S. misgivings about Western European countries’ unwillingness to shoulder more responsibility within the NATO alliance, Western European countries’ decreasing economic dependence on the United States, and the European concerns about America’s defence commitment to European security and perception of the Kennedy administration’s lack of strategic resolve. European countries such as Britain and France were said to have worried about Washington seeking a unilateral understanding with Moscow or even colluding with Moscow to dominate Europe at the expense of its European allies. The diaries also note the U.S. dominance of British (nuclear) missile programme, as America’s decision to scrap the Skybolt system was said to have dashed London’s hope of acquiring an independent nuclear force.
The diaries make a special note of de Gaulle’s defiant foreign policy by highlighting French misgivings about the unified NATO command, the lack of European-led nuclear capabilities (i.e. America’s ultimate control over the use of nuclear weapons), and the perceived Anglo-Saxon/U.S.-U.K. dominance of the West’s policy. Fu also wrote about the French triumphalism and quest for strategic independence in defiance of U.S. leadership of the free world, especially de Gaulle’s ambitions to build an independent third international force led by France and his unilateral moves vis-à-vis the Communist bloc. Also noted is growing alignment between West Germany and France, which was marked by the signing of the Elysée Treaty in 1963; their insistence on a comprehensive solution to the questions of Berlin and German unification was also said to represent a different approach from the Anglo-American attempt to seek a provisional solution with the Soviets.
Fu was keen to follow developments inside the United States and the Soviet Union. The diaries contain Fu’s observations of the advent of the Kennedy administration, its new policy orientation, Kennedy’s replacement by Johnson following his assassination in 1963 and key decision makers of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. He was worried about the Americans seeking reconciliation with the Soviets and making concessions to Soviet Russia, and was therefore deeply disappointed at what he saw as Kennedy’s inexperience and foreign policy misstep vis-à-vis the Soviet Union and Communist China. As to Soviet Russia, Fu wrote about the remarkable changes that had taken place in Soviet society since his Moscow years, the purge of the Stalin faction, and the fall of Khrushchev. But he was not surprised to see that the gradual adoption of capitalist policies in the Soviet Union as the country was said to have been moving away from its system of planned economy.
The gradual abandonment of the Soviet-style command economy was also said to be happening all over Central and Eastern Europe, where countries had begun to embrace market-oriented and profit-driven capitalist policies whilst at the same time gradually freeing themselves from Soviet control. As the diaries show, the growing economic and trade links between Central and Eastern European countries and Western European economies were growing fast. This was partly due to the former’s policy shift, and partly a consequence of the latter’s strong economic revival as (Western) European integration continued apace in the 1960s. The development of East-West links across Europe was so strong that even West Germany was said to be willing to offer economic aid and make concessions to Soviet Russia. The economic and political decline of Britain was another significant development in European politics highlighted in the diaries; Fu not only noted Britain’s failed attempt to join the European Economic Community (due to French opposition), but also lamented what he saw as the degeneration of British foreign policy given its shift towards Communist China and advocacy of a policy to accommodate the interests of the Soviet Union and the Communist bloc. Fu also followed the political developments in France, the situation in French Algeria and the (economic) difficulties faced by France in developing its nuclear weapon programme.
Fu was concerned about the developments in mainland China. However, the sources of information on the domestic situation in Communist China were fairly limited. Nonetheless, readers could still find some sporadic accounts of Chiang Kai-shek’s assessment of the political situation on the Chinese mainland, such as the power struggle between Mao and his domestic rivals, the Soviet influence in Communist politics, the Chinese Communists’ economic and agricultural policy failure, the hardships suffered by the Chinese compatriots, the growing disillusion with the Communist policy and system and the plunging morale among CPC party cadres. The diaries also noted the escape of the Dalai Lama in 1959, Chiang Kai-shek’s attitude towards Tibetan independence, Beijing’s successful detonation of nuclear device in 1964 and Fu’s view on the Communist nuclear weapon programme.
On Beijing’s relations with India, the diaries noted the border conflict with India in 1962, the Indian fear of Communist China, and Eisenhower’s failure to woo Nehru against Communist China. Fu also wrote about the People’s Republic’s growing trade with Western European countries as mainland China gradually shifted from absolute autarchy toward a limited open door policy. However, the most significant development in Communist China’s foreign relations, as shown in the Taiwan diaries, was the bitter split between the Chinese Communists and the Soviets. Noting the growing mutual distrust and disdain between the two Communist powers, Fu wrote about not only Beijing’s growing opposition to Moscow’s policy of peaceful co-existence with the United States and the supremacy of Soviet leadership in the Communist bloc, but also Soviet misgivings about Mao’s policy of self-aggrandisement and Chinese warmongering and Moscow’s economic oppression against Beijing.
Fu’s coverage of the international situation includes some important developments taking place in the Third World. For the Middle East, the diaries covered a number of coups that had taken place the region and noted the trend towards integration among the Arab states. The Taiwan years had also witnessed some coups in a number of African countries as the continent navigated between the competing influences of the superpowers. Fu also gave his observations of the political developments in those Latin American countries such as Chile, Peru, Columbia and Brazil, some of which were said to have remained ardent supporters of the R.O.C. due to their anti-Communist political orientation. East Asia also features prominently in the diaries, as Fu wrote about the economic success of post-war Japan, Tokyo’s quest for a more independent foreign policy, the political instability in South Korea, Indonesia’s conflict with the Netherlands and Malaysia, the independence of Malaysia and the country’s problems with Indonesia and the Philippines, the coup in Brunei, the instability in those Indo-China countries such as Laos, Burma and South Vietnam. The 1965 diary highlights the escalating conflicts in Vietnam following the hardening of the Johnson administration’s policy that led to direct U.S. military intervention against the North Vietnamese.
During his final years in Taiwan, Fu had refrained from speaking about his ambassadorial experience in Moscow or his observations of Soviet politics in the 1940s. But his Taiwan diaries do contain some references to personal recollections of historical events, both his own and others’. Some of those recollections were connected with the Second World War, such as de Gaulle’s misgivings about Anglo-American treatment of France during the war, Harriman’s warning to Roosevelt about Soviet ambitions in Central Europe and the Balkans, Eden’s accusation of Roosevelt’s indecisiveness and failure to stand up to Stalin to check Soviet expansionism in Europe, stories about Tokyo’s willingness to capitulate and Moscow’s role in distorting the Japanese message, snapshot of U.S. policy towards China in the 1940s, and Fu’s own secret conversations with U.S. diplomats in Moscow in 1943. Others were concerned about events in China during the early years of the Cold War, such as Mao’s decision to enter the Korean War, and Fu’s secret negotiation with the Soviets about a CPC-KMT settlement centred on a North-South division of China during the Chinese civil war at the end of the 1940s.
Apart from world politics, the Taiwan diaries also cover Fu’s observations of the R.O.C.’s foreign relations during the period between the late 1950s and the first half of the 1960s. As the diaries show, there had been a steady deterioration in the Kuomintang regime’s diplomatic standing during this period.
One major area of concern is the R.O.C.’s ability to represent China at the international organisations. Fu noted the growing difficulties faced by the R.O.C. government in retaining its representation at the United Nations Association conferences, the International Olympic Committee and most importantly, at the United Nations. The 1961 diary in particular offers a very detailed account of the politics of Chinese presentation in the United Nations in that critical year, including the crisis faced by the R.O.C. government’s U.N. representation in the face of the challenge from the P.R.C. government and its supporters at the United Nations General Assembly and the diplomatic battle to preserve the R.O.C.’s seat at the United Nations with the help of the United States, which had played an instrumental role in shielding Taipei’s representation from Beijing’s challenge.
The diaries also underscored the R.O.C.’s dependence on the United States and the overriding importance of the U.S. alliance to Taipei’s international and security strategy. Fu noted some of the circumstances surrounding the talks between the Nationalist government and the Eisenhower administration in 1958, which resulted in a joint statement whereby the U.S. side acknowledged its defence commitment to Kinmen and Matsu and the Chiang government seemed to have renounced the use of force as a means of recovering the mainland. The diaries also show the importance of continued U.S. economic and military aid, which had been decreasing over the years and appeared to be an effective policy instrument for the United States government to control the policy of the Kuomintang government. The diaries also highlight the tensions between the two allies over Taipei’s policy to launch military counterattack against Communist China to regain the Chinese mainland. Fu also expressed his concerns about the waning political support for the R.O.C. within the United States and the disturbing impact of the Kennedy administration’s policy posture on the R.O.C.’s security and international standing.
The Taiwan diaries also contain Fu’s observations of the R.O.C.’s diplomacy and declining status vis-à-vis other Western countries. Among those highlighted are R.O.C.’s relations with Australia and its diplomacy towards France and the Holy See. But the most disturbing developments in this regard were the crisis in relations with Japan and France, which had been related in detail in the 1963 and 1964 diaries in particular. As to the relationship with Japan, Fu noted the self-inflicted isolation of the Chinese diplomatic mission in Tokyo, the changing Japanese policy towards Communist China, and the diplomatic stand-off following the Zhou Hongqing incident that had nearly cost the diplomatic relationship. The circumstances surrounding the severing of diplomatic relations with France in early 1964 is also covered extensively in relation to Gaullist foreign policy outlook. The diaries noted the French advocacy of a neutral Southeast Asia and de Gaulle’s effort to rebuild France’s political influence in the Far East, all of which had resulted, according to Paris, the diplomatic opening to Beijing and the decision to recognise the People’s Republic of China. Chiang Kai-shek’s interpretation of those two events were also recorded in detail.
Fu also wrote about the adversarial relations with Communist China. Events highlighted include the battles of Kinmen (the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis) in 1958, the diplomatic race in the Third World such as Africa and Latin America. The mainland Chinese refugee crisis that hit Hong Kong and Macao in 1962 was covered in detail in the 1962 diary, which suggested that Fu himself had also played a role to help out Vice President Chen Cheng and in formulating Taipei’s response to the event.
The Taiwan diaries make many references to diplomatic activities that Fu had participated or observe. Fu noted a number of visits of foreign leaders, gave a fairly detailed account of the visit of Jordanian King Hussein in 1959 and the visits of U.S. President Eisenhower, the South Vietnamese President and the Filipino President in 1960 because he had personally taken part in those diplomatic functions. Fu also wrote about some of the important overseas visits by the leaders of the R.O.C. government, such as Vice President Chen Cheng’s official visits to the United States in 1961 and to South Vietnam and the Philippines in 1963, as well as Chiang Ching-kuo’s successful visit to the United States in 1963. Fu also noted the R.O.C.’s participation in the four-power conference to discuss anti-Communist strategy with the R.O.K., (South) Vietnam and the Philippines in 1961. The only official diplomatic assignment Fu had undertaken since his return to Taiwan, and also his last one, was an official trip to Latin America at the end of 1964 as the R.O.C. government’s special envoy to attend the presidential inauguration ceremony in Chile and Mexico. The 1964 diary contains a detailed account of that trip, which lasted about one and a half months.
Fu was fairly informed of the developments in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This collection of Taiwan diaries covered some interesting aspects of the situation in the Foreign Ministry, especially concerning personnel issues. For instance, readers may find very detailed accounts of Ye Gongchao’s character, personal relationships, and his situation since his return to Taiwan after his forced resignation as Chinese Ambassador to the United States (including Chiang Kai-shek’s attitude towards Ye). The diaries also note the working styles of senior diplomats such as Ye Gongchao, Huang Shaogu, Shen Changhuan, Jiang Tingfu, Liu Kai and Liu Junji. Fu also noted the circumstances surrounding Shen Changhuan’s appointment as Foreign Minister and several other ambassadorial postings. Guo Youshou’s doubtful allegiance to the R.O.C. government is also noted in the diaries.
This collection of diaries provides a revealing insight into Fu’s private life in his later years in Taiwan. Having lived a rather depressing life in Europe, Fu found his life in Taiwan, for the most part, fairly uplifting.
There was not much family life to speak of, since Fu had almost lived alone, away from his immediate family and all the family difficulties and traumatic life that he had experienced and suffered in Europe. Fu wrote about the joyful reunion with his two youngest daughters, Jintu and Jinxuan, after twenty years’ separation. Their arrival from Hong Kong in 1961 and 1962 respectively had rendered Fu’s life in Taiwan a much more fulfilling experience. Interestingly, distance also seemed to have helped improve Fu’s relationship with his wife, Kitty, as seen from Fu’s family correspondence with Kitty and their son, Zhongxiong in Britain. He was getting upset by Zhongxiong’s troubled marriage but was pleased to see his son establish an independent life in England. Fu enjoyed being accompanied by his younger sister and brother (Bingkun), who had visited Fu from Hong Kong and stayed with him for some time. Fu was unable to provide financial support to his concubine, Qiongfang, who lived in Hong Kong where she was being supported by Fu’s cousin Jincheng. In 1963, Fu was overcome with grief when Bingkun, Jincheng and Kitty passed away, all in a very short space of time. The 1963 diary covers in detail the circumstances before and after his wife’s death, including her grand funeral and memorial service held in Taipei.
From those diaries, readers could also learn about Fu’s outlook on his political career after his return to Taiwan. Having found contentment in his semi-retirement, the diarist wrote about his total disinterest in returning to the front line of diplomatic work or undertaking important executive responsibilities in government. Fu indicated in the diaries that it was never his wish to be reinstated as Foreign Minister despite recurrent speculation about such a possibility, not least because he believed that he could not possibly do a better job than any other person in that role.
Of course, Fu also wanted to enjoy his life in Taiwan, where he was able to pursue his hobbies and live a lively social life. As the Taiwan diaries show, he remained an avid reader, a Tai Chi learner, a concert-goer, a Cantonese Opera fan, and as always, a passionate photographer in his later years. A popular man, Fu had a remarkable social life during his years in Taiwan. He enjoyed friendships with prominent figures from government, politics and arts, as well as ordinary people from a humble background. A great conversationalist and with an outgoing personality, Fu was liked by his friends, and could get on with those whose political views he disagreed with. He was a trusted and sympathetic confidant and a source of wise counsel for his friends, colleagues and former subordinates. Fu cherished their friendships, and was always kind, faithful, well-intentioned and protective towards friends. People such as Yang Gongda, Zhu Jiahua, Ma Xingqiao, Chen Jianyu, Chen Cangbo, Huang Junbi were among those who appeared to have the most contact with him since Fu’s return to Taiwan. Fu once suggested in the diary that, notwithstanding the difficult political situation facing the Kuomintang regime in Taiwan, there had actually been a friendlier atmosphere found amongst the Nationalist elites, who seemed to have been more closely bonded with one another by what seemed to be a renewed spirit of unity and colleagiality and a collective sense of purpose and crisis than they had been before the government’s retreat to Taiwan. The diaries also show that Fu had kept up a correspondence with many old friends and former colleagues residing abroad.
One of the major disappointments of Fu’s life in Taiwan, however, was his deteriorating physical health. In his later years, Fu had suffered a series of medical conditions such as rheumatism, arthritis, chest pain, lumbago, problems with his tailbone, as well as some kidney, liver and gut conditions (including diabetes and jaundice).
In Taiwan, Fu had tried to refrain from openly discussing about his diplomatic work in Soviet Russia or his personal views on the Soviet Union, so readers may not be able to find much relevant information in this regard. However, he managed to complete the interview series for the oral history project with the Academia Sinica by early 1960.
There are many diary entries with private remarks, including some of Fu’s own observations, about some of the well-known personalities at the time. Readers may also find a number of interesting anecdotes about some of Fu’s contemporaries in the Taiwan diaries. Fu’s final diaries also reveal certain aspects of the political culture of the KMT government, including official rituals, customs and practices during major festivals and important days, as well as the pervasiveness of what may be called a ‘wine girl’ culture in society at that time.