Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

Wellington Koo papers, 1906-1992, bulk 1931-1966

Summary Information

Abstract

The Wellington Koo papers document the diplomatic legacy of Wellington Koo as a prominent statesman and diplomat of the 20th Century. The papers primarily consist of materials collected during Koo's diplomatic career, relating to the Lytton Commission, 1932-1933; the League of Nations, 1931-1940; the United Nations, 1944-1946; his ambassadorships to France, 1932-1941; to Britain, 1941-1946; to the United States, 1946-1956; as the Senior Advisor to the Republic of China from 1956; and as the Judge on the International Court of Justice, 1957-1966. The materials include correspondence, diaries, memoranda, manuscripts, documents, notes, speeches, maps, photographs, printed material, and audio visual material. The bulk of the materials emphasize China's domestic and foreign affairs, such as the Sino-Japanese conflict, World War II and the Cold War in the Far East region, as well as the League of Nations and the United Nations.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#0724
Bib ID 4078997 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Koo, V. K. Wellington, 1888-1985
Title Wellington Koo papers, 1906-1992, bulk 1931-1966
Physical Description 116 Linear Feet (In 256 full manuscript boxes, 33 half manuscript boxes, 3 record cartons, 3 flat boxes, 1 index card box.); 4.58 Linear Feet (in 11 unprocessed full manuscript boxes and 1 folder.)
Language(s) Materials are in English, Chinese, and French.
Access

The following boxes are located off-site: 1-288. You will need to request this material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Eleven boxes of additional materials related to the League of Nations in the 1930s and fragile speech scroll in box 294 remain inaccessible until conservation (mold) issues are resolved.

Audiovisual materials must be digitized in order to access them. Please contact RBML special-formats digital reproduction service.

Arrangement

Arrangement

The collection is arranged into 13 series.

Description

Summary

The Wellington Koo papers document the activities of Wellington Koo, who served as an ambassador in France, London, and the United States under the governance of the Republic of China for 24 years, including his involvement in the League of Nations, the United Nations, and the International Court of Justice, with its bulk dating from 1931 to 1966. Materials are substantially textual, comprising correspondence, diaries, memoranda, manuscripts, maps, meeting notes, speeches, financial documents, news clippings, and related printed material. Other formats include photographs and audio visual materials. The correspondence includes extensive files of telegrams (primarily carbon copies) to and from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China, as well as letters with relevant correspondents, in Chinese and English, on both Chinese domestic and international affairs. The telegrams mainly composed of communication exchanged between Koo and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as other statesmen. The notes of conversation taken during Koo's conversations with world leaders from 1931 to 1956 are also valuable scholarly resources to those who are interested in China's modern history and the history of the 20th Century international affairs. The notes are chronological minutes of interviews or conversations between Koo and various international figures on topics related to Koo's work. The collection overall documents the course of 20th Century international affairs as well as Chinese domestic and foreign affairs under the governance of the Republic of China. The papers also cover various significant historical events and topics such as the Sino-Japanese War, the Chinese Civil War, the Cold War in the Far East Theater, the legacy of the League of Nations, as well as the founding of the United Nations and its affiliated agencies.

  • Series I: Cataloged Correspondence

    Selected correspondence cataloged.

  • Series II: Pre-1931

    Series contains reference materials, manuscripts, telegrams, and notes of conversation related to topics and events prior to 1931, dating between 1906 and 1931. The reference materials include Wellington Koo's oral history transcripts on his family and education background as well as documents written by others relating to the history of the Paris Peace Conference (1919) and the Washington Conference (1921-1922). The highlights of the series consist of telegrams in Chinese exchanged between the Chinese Delegation, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other organizations in China during the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. The notes of conversation document the meetings from between Wellington Koo and other Foreign Ministers to China from November to December of 1931 during the time when Koo was the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Additional papers prior to the Mukden Incident of 1931, as noted by Wellington Koo, were left in Tianjin, China. Papers were later housed in the Second Historical Archive of China in Nanjing (中國南京第二歷史檔案館). Materials related to his personal life prior to 1931 may also be found in Series X: Personal.

  • Series III: League of Nations

    Series comprises primarily notes of conversation, correspondence, memoranda, petitions, documents, notes, speeches and statements, related to Wellington Koo's work with the League of Nations, including the Lytton Commission. Materials include various subject files relating international issues addressed at the League of Nations, and documents relating to the Chinese Delegation's papers, dating from 1929 to 1940. Additional sparse files may be found in Subseries IV.4: International Affairs as time period overlaps with Koo's career as the Chinese Ambassador to France.

  • Series IV: Chinese Embassy, Paris and Vichy, France

    Series consists of primarily correspondence, memoranda, embassy records, speeches, notes of conversation and other related documents of Wellington Koo as the Ambassador to France and the Chinese Delegate to the League of Nations, dating from 1932 to 1941. Materials in the series emphasize on the political, social, and economic condition in China and the world before and during the Sino-Japanese War and World War II. The files also cover China's foreign relations with other countries and international relations prior to World War II. Files may also contain materials related to Series III: League of Nations, 1929-1940.

  • Series V: Chinese Embassy, London, United Kingdom

    Series consists of primarily correspondence, memoranda, embassy records, speeches, and various subject files relating to China's domestic affairs and world affairs, during the time when Wellington Koo was the Ambassador to London and the Chinese Delegate to the United Nations, dating from 1941 to 1946. This series also contain a small amount of materials on the League of Nations and the United Nations as the time frame overlaps with Wellington Koo's involvement in these two international organizations.

  • Series VI: United Nations

    Series consists of primarily official documents, printed materials, notes of conversation, correspondence and memoranda, and reports related to the legacy of the United Nation and its agencies, dating from 1944 to 1972. The materials document the founding of the United Nations and the issues discussed during the Dumbarton Oaks Conversation, the San Francisco Conference, the Council of the Foreign Minister, the Preparatory Commission, the Sessions of the General Assembly, as well as the role of Wellington Koo and the Chinese Delegation at various committees and conferences.

  • Series VII: Chinese Embassy, Washington D.C., United States

    Series consists of primarily correspondence, memoranda, embassy records, speeches, and various subject files relating to China's domestic affairs and world affairs from 1946 to 1956, during the time when Wellington Koo was the Ambassador of the Republic of China to Washington D.C.. Materials focus on international issues during the Cold War era mostly in the Far East Theater, particularly on U.S. policies on Communism and mutual aid between the U.S. and the Republic of China during the Cold war period. This series may contain materials related to with Series VI: United Nations.

  • Series VIII: International Court of Justice

    Series consists of case files, correspondence, and documents related to elections and appointments of judges and registrar to the International Court of Justice as well as meeting minutes, dating from 1956 to 1975. Some of the significant cases Koo participated in are the South West Africa Case; Cameroon v. United Kingdom; Barcelona Traction Case; Netherlands v. Sweden; Interhandel Case (Switzerland v. U.S.A.); Parcels of Land (Belgium v. Netherlands); Aerial Incident of July 17, 1955 (Israel v. Bulgaria); Right of Passage (Portugal v. India); Honduras v. Nicaragua; Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) case; Temple of Preab Vihear (Cambodia v. Thailand). The case files include drafts of judgements, summaries, notes, objections, statements, as well as his case notebooks with his opinions and notes on various cases Koo participated in. The correspondence are mainly incoming congratulatory messages to Koo on his election and re-election to the court and account payroll from the court, as well as small amount of personal correspondence when he was serving as a judge on the ICJ.

  • Series IX: Senior Advisor to the Republic of China

    Series consists of mostly correspondence and documents dating from 1956 to 1975, after Koo retired as the Ambassador to the United States and appointed to serve as the Senior Advisor to the Republic of China. The correspondence include incoming and outgoing correspondence between Wellington Koo and high level statesmen of the Republic of China such as Chiang Kai-shek, Chiang Ching-kuo, C.K. Yen, and personnel from the Executives Yuan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

  • Series X: Personal

    Series contains personal materials such as correspondence on personal or family matters, diaries, writings, and speeches, dating from 1904 to 2002. Some personal materials may also be found in other series as they were filed with the embassies files.

  • Series XI: Photographs

    Series contains photographs depicting Wellington Koo's entire life dating from 1908 to 1988. Photographs primarily depict his activities as an ambassador as well as his involvement in important historical events throughout his career and personal life. Also included are photographs of his family, friends, colleagues, as well as the staff of the embassies at various social events. The portraits include Wellington Koo as well as portraits of prominent Chinese and world leaders inscribed to Koo. Additional photographs may also be found with files in other series.

  • Series XII: Printed Matter

    Series consists of printed materials inscribed to Wellington Koo and collected by Koo, dating from 1927 to 1986. The publications mainly focus on topics such as international affairs, law and policies, diplomacy, Sino-Japanese conflict, Chinese history, and calligraphy. The memorabilia include signed guest books, commemorative book, calligraphy books, and yearbooks. Also include in the memorabilia are two rare Chinese telegraphic code books from the Republican period, along with instructions and indexes.

  • Series XIII: Audio Visual materials

    Series contains audio visual materials of 8 cassette tapes, 2 reel to reel motion picture films, and 9 audio tapes of speeches, broadcasts, interviews, birthday celebration events, opera, and hobbies, dating from 1946 to 1977.

Reproduction Note

Report to President Yuan on Tibet (from Box 1) is on: Type of reproduction--microfilm.

Boxes 2-3 (MN#94-2021; MN#94-2022) and 39-41 (MN#2003-1001-MN#2003-1004) are on: Type of reproduction--microfilm.

Diaries No. 00-35 (from Boxes 215-220) are on: Type of reproduction--microfilm.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Conditions Governing Access

The following boxes are located off-site: 1-288. You will need to request this material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Eleven boxes of additional materials related to the League of Nations in the 1930s and fragile speech scroll in box 294 remain inaccessible until conservation (mold) issues are resolved.

Audiovisual materials must be digitized in order to access them. Please contact RBML special-formats digital reproduction service.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Diaries: may not be quoted or paraphrased in detail, nor may any living person be quoted or mentioned, without the written permission of the donor or his/her heirs. Please contact rbml@columbia.edu for more information.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item, Date (if known); Wellington Koo papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Related Materials

Chinese oral history project collection, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University. This collection contains administrative information related to the project, including the interviewee files relating to Wellington Koo's oral history interviews.

Wellington Koo's digital archive (Box 1-225) is also available on-site at the Chinese Academy of Social Science and Fudan University in China.

The Second Historical Archives of China (中国第二历史档案馆) in Nanjing, the Academia Sinica Institute of Modern History Archive (中研院近史所檔案館) and the Academia Historica (國史館) in Taiwan may also hold historical records related to Wellington Koo.

Other Finding Aids

Inventory for box 1-225 created by Larry N. Shyu, July 1964.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Cataloged by Christina Hilton Fenn, 07/--/1989. Processed and inventory compiled for box 1-225 by Larry N. L. Shyu, July 1964. Microfilm of Boxes 2 and 3 Processed HR 11/04/1994. Collection reprocessed by Yingwen Huang, October 2018-June 2019.

The reprocessing work of the collection began in October 2018. The work on box 1-225 focused on basic rehousing of the materials. The former box and folder number of the files are shown to help researchers cross-referencing between the digital files and the physical files. The new box and folder number reflects the current order of folders within the boxes. A few folders were moved to new boxes due to overstuffing in its original box. Some folder titles were also updated in the current finding aid to reflect the mixed contents within the files. Materials in boxes 182, 186, 190, 199, 201 were combined with 181, 185, 189, 198, 200. Box 221 which are correspondence belonging to the Li Zongren papers were removed and cataloged with the Li Zongren papers, therefore there is no Box 221 in the collection. Copious amount of duplicates of official statements and speeches were also removed from the collection. Materials in box 1-225 were mostly arranged in chronological order and by material type.

Materials in box 226-294 were added to the collection by the Koo family between 2012 and 2018. The intellectual arrangement of the new materials are interfiled into the previous existing arrangement whereas the physical arrangement are added to the collection as box 226-294. During processing, 11 boxes of moldy materials relating to the 1930s League of Nations papers were found. These files will remain inaccessible until the conservation issue is resolved.

In addition to the physical files at Columbia, the first phase of the digitization project was completed in 2017, which include box 1-225. The digital archive are currently accessible on-site at the Chinese Academy of Social Science (CASS) and the Fudan University in China. The new materials were not included in the first phase of the digitization project.

Revision Description

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Genre/Form

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Accounts Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Agendas (administrative records) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Agreements Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Articles Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Biographies Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Certificates Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Clippings (Information Artifacts) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Correspondence. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Diaries Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Interviews Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lists Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Manuscripts. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Maps. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Memorandums Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Microfilms Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Notebooks Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Notes Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Passports Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photographic postcards Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photographs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Prefaces Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Press releases Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Programs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Records (Documents) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Reports Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Speeches Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Telegrams Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Theses Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Treaties Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Visas Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
minutes (administrative records) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Acheson, Dean, 1893-1971 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Adams, Sherman, 1899-1986 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Ambassadors Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Barkley, Alben William, 1877-1956 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Benton, William, 1900-1973 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bruce, David K. E., 1898-1977 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bullitt, William C (William Christian), 1891-1967 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bunche, Ralph J (Ralph Johnson), 1904-1971 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Butler, Nicholas Murray, 1862-1947 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Chiang, Kai-shek, 1887-1975 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Chiang, May-ling Soong, 1897-2003 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
China (Republic : 1949- ). Wai jiao bu Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
China. Foreign Office Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Churchill, Winston, 1874-1965 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Clark, Grenville, 1882-1967 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Clemens, Cyril, 1902-1999 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Cold War Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Communism Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dewey, Thomas E (Thomas Edmund), 1902-1971 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Diplomatic and consular service, Chinese Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Diplomatic and consular service, Taiwan -- England Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Diplomatic and consular service, Taiwan -- France Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Diplomatic and consular service, Taiwan -- United Nations Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Diplomatic and consular service, Taiwan -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Diplomats Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dirksen, Everett McKinley Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Disarmament Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Duggan, Stephen, 1870-1950 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dulles, John Foster, 1888-1959 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Eden, Anthony, Earl of Avon, 1897-1977 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Eisenhower, Dwight D (Dwight David), 1890-1969 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Eisenhower, Mamie Doud, 1896-1979 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Farley, James A (James Aloysius), 1888-1976 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Fischer, Louis, 1896-1970 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Grew, Joseph C (Joseph Clark), 1880-1965 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gromyko, Andreĭ Andreevich, 1909-1989 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Halifax, Edward Frederick Lindley Wood, Earl of, 1881-1959 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Haskell, Henry S Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Howard, Roy Wilson, 1883-1964 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
International relations -- History -- 20th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Jin, Wensi, 1892-1968 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Johnson, Lyndon B (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Károlyi, Mihály, 1875-1955 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Korean War, 1950-1953 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Kung, H. H. (Hsiang-hsi), 1880-1967 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
League of Nations Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Letters Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lodge, Henry Cabot, Jr., 1902-1985 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Luce, Henry Robinson, 1898-1967 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lytton Commission Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
MacArthur, Douglas, 1880-1964 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
MacDonald, Malcolm, 1901-1981 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Marshall, George C (George Catlett), 1880-1959 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
McCarran, Pat, 1876-1954 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
McCoy, Frank Ross, 1874-1954 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Mendès France, Pierre, 1907-1982 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Morgenthau, Henry, 1856-1946 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Mountbatten of Burma, Louis Mountbatten, Earl, 1900-1979 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Nixon, Richard M (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Paul-Boncour, J (Joseph), 1873-1972 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Pell, Herbert Claiborne, 1884-1961 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Rayburn, Sam, 1882-1961 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Rockefeller, Nelson A (Nelson Aldrich), 1908-1979 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Roosevelt, Sara Delano, 1854-1941 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Rusk, Dean, 1909-1994 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Saltonstall, Leverett, 1892-1979 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Shirer, William L (William Lawrence), 1904-1993 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sino-Japanese War, 1937-1945 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Smith, Margaret Chase, 1897-1995 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Song, Qingling, 1893-1981 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Soong, T. V (Tzu-wen), 1894-1971 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sparkman, John, 1899-1985 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Stassen, Harold E (Harold Edward), 1907-2001 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Stettinius, Edward R., Jr (Edward Reilly), 1900-1949 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Stevenson, Adlai E (Adlai Ewing), 1900-1965 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sulzberger, Arthur Hays, 1891-1968 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
United Nations Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
United Nations Conference on International Organization (Location of meeting: San Francisco, Calif.). Date of meeting or treaty signing: (1945 :.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Wang, Jingwei, 1883-1944 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Warren, Earl, 1891-1974 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Watson, Thomas John, 1874-1956 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
World politics Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Wu, Kuo-Cheng, 1903-1984 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Ye, Gongchao, 1904-1981 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Zhongguo gong chan dang Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Zhongguo guo min dang Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Vi Kyuin Wellington Koo (Pinyin: Gu, Weijun; Wade Giles: Ku, Wei-Chun, Koo, Vi Kyuin; traditional Chinese: 顧維鈞; simplified Chinese: 顾维钧; courtesy name: Shaochuan 少川; English name: Wellington Koo) was born in 1888, Jiading, Shanghai, China. He attended Saint John's University in Shanghai prior to studying abroad in the United States. In 1904, he attended the Cook Academy and later began his college career at the Columbia College in 1905. He received his Bachelors of Arts in 1908 and Master in 1909. In 1912, he completed his PhD in International and Constitutional Law jurisprudence, and received his LL.D. in 1917. He returned to China and served as the English Secretary to President Yuan Shikai, and then as the Counselor in the Foreign office. In 1915, he was appointed as the Minister to Mexico, but was later transferred to Washington to serve as Ambassador to the US.

In 1919, he was appointed as the Plenipotentiary at Paris Peace Conference where he spoke on the behalf of the Chinese Delegation and demanded Shandong to be returned to China in accordance to international law and urged imperialists to end extraterritoriality in China. From 1920 to 1922, he was the Delegate to Assembly and Representative of the League of Nations. He was also the Foreign Minister and Premier. In 1931, he served on the Special Committee on Research of Northeastern affairs in China, the Chinese assessor to the Lytton Commission, and the Chief Delegate to the League of Nations in the investigation of the Mukden Incident and the Sino-Japanese conflict.

From 1936 to 1941, Koo was the Chinese Ambassador to France. From 1940 to 1946, he was the Ambassador to London and then the Ambassador to the United States from 1946 to 1956. He was also the Chinese Delegate to the Dumbarton Oaks Conversation in 1944, and the Acting Chairman of the Chinese Delegation to the San Francisco Conference in 1945. In 1956, following his retirement as the Ambassador to the United States, he was appointed the Senior Advisor to the Republic of China. In 1957, he was elected as a Judge of the International Court of Justice and then later the Vice President of the Court where he remained until 1967. On November 14, 1985, he passed away at the age of 97 in New York.