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Excerpts of Ambassador Stephen S. F. Chen’s Remarks International Conference on the 70th Anniversary of the Cairo Declaration


 Excerpts of Ambassador Stephen S. F. Chen’s Remarks

International Conference on the 70th Anniversary of the Cairo Declaration

Taipei, December 1, 2013


1)               The ROC suffered setbacks and humiliation at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 following the conclusion of WW I, but achieved great successes at the Cairo Conference in 1943 during WW II, with far-reaching impact on our international standing and diplomacy. Even though the war had not ended at the time, the ROC became officially a major member of the Allied Powers.

2)               Now let us retrace the major events leading to the Cairo Conference


a)               The U.S., the U.K., and the ROC declared war on Japan in 1941.

b)               Madame Chiang Soong Mayling made a successful visit to the U.S. in Feb. to April, 1943. She addressed both Houses of U.S. Congress and embarked on a speaking tour of several major cities in the U.S.  Some U.S. commentators noted that Madame Chiang elevated the War of Resistance of China against Japanese Aggression to the world stage for the first time.


c)               The unequal treaties between the U.S. and China and between the U. K. and China were abrogated, and new, equal treaties were signed on January 11, 1941.

d)               The Chinese Exclusion Act,

enacted on May 6, 1882, was repealed by the U.S. Congress on Feb. 17, l943,


3)               In the Cairo Declaration, the Big Three, the US, the UK, and the ROC, decided that in the post-war world, “Japan shall return the territories stolen from China, such as Manchuria, Taiwan, and Penghu, to the ROC, and that Korea shall be independent.”

4)               The Potsdam Declaration of July 27, 1945, demanded Japan’s unconditional surrender based on the terms of the Cairo Declaration.

5)               Every student knows this part of WWII history.

6)               When we talk about the Cairo Conference, we immediately think about the three great world leaders. Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Chiang Kai-shek.

7)               Roosevelt enumerated in his State of the Union Address to Congress in 1941, the four freedoms. i.e., freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear, which are still the fundamental freedoms pursued and cherished by peoples everywhere in the world.

In 1943, Roosevelt dispatched the Flying Tigers to China under the command of Clare Chennault. That effectively ended the wanton air raids of cities in China by the Japanese Air Force.

I was a grade school pupil, and still remember the horrors and calamity that my people suffered in those years.   Of course, we remain thankful for the U.S. aid in time of war.

8)               We remember Winston Churchill. His eloquence and literary talent won him a Nobel Prize in Literature, an honor unequalled among world statesmen.  In his impassioned and forceful wartime call to his people, I remember as a student his ringing words:


“We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields, and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender.”  Those words not only inspired the Britons, but also my people in their darkest hour of foreign invasion. Although we were in different theaters, in fact, the Chinese Expeditionary Force and the British fought shoulder to shoulder in Burma. 


(Add the Battle of Yenangyaung)

9)               Last but least, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.

Some journalists mistakenly wrote that he attended the Cairo Conference in his capacity as Chairman of the Military Commission.  In fact,

he was there as President of the National Government of the Republic of China, though he still retained the military title. Chiang succeeded Lin Sen as chief of state in April 1943 when the latter died in office.

Chiang led the nation in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression until final victory. Even Mainland China, after having touted for decades that the CCP had led the War, has now finally admitted that the Nationalist forces fought in the main battlefields while the Communist forces on the flanks.


Tang Teh-kang, a noted historian, once wrote, that “in the history of China, in the face of invasions, the dynasties more than once moved their capitals only to perish later.  Only Chiang Kai-shek triumphantly returned.


Chiang is remembered for his fortitude and unwavering leadership in prosecuting the war even in the darkest hour.  A student in my class surprised me by saying that the end result would have been the same, whether we prosecuted the war to the end, as Japan eventually surrendered.  Was the statement true?  Let us examine.


a)               Had we negotiated peace separately with Japan during the war, we would have been just another Vichy French government, a puppet regime of Japan at best.

b)               China would have had no place in the Cairo Conference.

c)               There would have been no favorable provisions to the ROC in the Cairo Declaration, not to talk about being referred to as one of the Big Three.

d)               The ROC would not have been invited to the San Francisco Peace Conference, nor would there have been a separate Peace Treaty between the Republic of China and Japan signed in 1952, stipulating that “all treaty and agreements signed prior to 1941 between China and Japan became null and void as a result of

war.” This would mean that the Treaty of Shimonoseki ceding Taiwan and Penghu to Japan would have remained in force.

e)               Most probably, Taiwan would have been placed under Allied control as a former colony of a defeated enemy in WW II.

In other words, Taiwan would not be what it is today.  Today, it is the bastion of the Republic of China, which, having successfully helped stem Communist expansion in the Western Pacific, is now providing to the people across the Taiwan Strait a stark contrast and comparison of another way of life 


I believe this is the significance of the Cairo Declaration as we commemorate its 70th anniversary today.



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