Joseph Needham's notes for the inaugural meeting on 15th May 1965. Printed with hand written annotations made during the meeting. A facsimile of the complete document is also available in PDF format.
1.30 - 2.00 Committee Room 6. Meeting with the Press.
2.00 - 2.15 Room 5. Sponsors assemble.
Welcome by the Chairman [Enormous support].
2.27 Chairman leads Sponsors through Door "P" to Platform in following order: [51 : 1/4 with us]
Announce additional sponsor since list was prepared:
MR. MATTHEW NKOANA
Chief Representative in Europe of the Pan-Africanist Congress (South Africa)
Delighted that over 50 of the 200 Sponsors have been able to come to the Meeting. [All are of course present in their personal capacity]
Seated with me on the Platform are a number of our sponsors:
On my Right:Mr M. A. Alvarez Critic
And on my Left:Dr. Han SuyinWriter and Novelist
READ MESSAGES FROM SPONSORS NOT PRESENT
From the Bishop of Manchester.
“In considering the future peace of the world it is obvious that China cannot be left out of the picture. The policy of cordon sanitaire has never proved successful and I am sure that ways and means must be found for a closer understanding between the ancient country of China and our own. We have much to learn from them not least in the sphere of culture and I hope that our new Society may find ways and means of creating links between our two Nations which will lead to a closer understanding. All such efforts will contribute to the World peace which we all so urgently desire.”
From Benjamin Britten, O.M.
“I should like to send my very best wishes for a highly successful Inaugural Meeting of the Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding. I feel that one of the biggest obstacles to world understanding and peace is the present attitude of most of the Western world to that great and ancient country.”
From the Bishop of Llandaff.
“I am no politician and claim no expertise in international affairs, though I hope I have a modicum of commonsense. It has always seemed to me that the attempt to isolate a powerful nation like China is one of the silliest pieces of international policy that history has to record. We are already paying the penalty for it. For the Marxist Communism which China professes I have no liking at all, but as a Christian I am opposed to treating as if they were lepers nations whose political views one may detest. I regard with dismay the ignorance which has followed this policy and closed the minds of so many to the history and genius of a great nation.”
From J.B. Priestley
“Our enthusiastic good wishes at the birth of the society and for its future success.”
From Dr. Dorothy Crowfoot-Hodgkin
“Warmest good wishes for a happy future”
2.40 CHAIRMAN'S OPENING SPEECH
2.55 CHAIRMAN Introduces His Excellency Dr. Hsiung Hsiang-hui,
Chargé d'Affaires of the PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA.
2.57 STATEMENT BY Dr. HSIUNG
Play tapes from Dr. Kuo Mo-jo, President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences,
[Dr. Hsiung Hsiang-hui speech continues]
and Mr . Chu Tu-nan, President of the Chinese People's Association for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries.
[Dr. Hsiung Hsiang-hui withdraws]
We have received a message from Paris from Simone de Beauvoir expressing her regret that she cannot be with us and wishing the Society success.
Also 'Greetings and best wishes' from Sir John and Lady Pratt distinguished diplomat with lifetime experience of China.
Felix Greene, filmmaker “Please convey my best greetings to your inaugural meeting. I'm sure the new society will lead to a better understanding between the Chinese and the British people. Good luck.”
We have also received a message from Julio Alvarez del Vayo, who was Foreign Minister of the Spanish Republican Government, has visited China on a number of occasions and was the author of the recently published “China Triumphs”.
Senor del Vayo regrets that he cannot be with us but expresses the hope that he will have an opportunity of speaking to the members of the Society on China at some future occasion. He states:
“I am sure the Organisation will render a great service by informing the British people of the very impressive progress and success of the People's Republic of China in all fields. The truth about China has been greatly distorted. 1961 when I was there, was indeed a hard year for China but I did not for a moment doubt the capacity of the Chinese people under such an able leadership, to overcome all the difficulties. Without the participation of China there cannot be peace in the world. Best wishes.”
3.14 CHAIRMAN introduces Dr. Han Suyin writer and novelist who has recently been in the United States on a lecture tour.
3.15 HAN SUYIN speech
We have received a message from seventeen British men and women resident in Peking who enthusiastically greet the formation of S.A.C.U. From their personal observations they state:
“In China one quarter of the world's people are building a new life for themselves, free from exploitation and want in place of the backwardness, misery and chaos of their semi-feudal and semi-coloni.al past.”
“There is a tremendous release of creative energy, expressing itself in rich experiments and advances in industry agriculture, education the arts, science and all aspects of culture. Above all a new type of man is emerging - a more selfless socially minded type of man, who is ready to lay down his life in defence of the new society he is creating. We who are now living and working in this country, find it a privilege and education to witness the great changes which fill us with admiration.”
We have also received a message from eleven British students of Chinese at present working in Peking as linguists from the school of Oriental Studies, Oxford, Cambridge and the Australian National University. They wish S.A.C.U. every success.
3.30 CHAIRMAN introduces JOAN ROBINSON Prof. elect of Economics Cambridge
3.31 JOAN ROBINSON
At the end of her Statement, Mrs. Robinson will propose the resolution:
THIS MEETING DECIDES TO INAUGURATE THE SOCIETY FOR ANGLO-CHINESE UNDERSTANDING AND CALLS UPON THE CHAIRMAN AND HIS COLLEAGUES TO TAKE THE NECESSARY STEPS TO FORM THE SOCIETY.
The Scottish District Council of ASSET - Association of Supervisory Staffs, Executives and Technicians - wish to convey to the Meeting their best wishes for a successful conference for closer ties with the Chinese people and for peace and friendship.
We are also very pleased to have with us today delegates from the International Sub-Committee of the Executive Committee of the Association of Headmasters, Headmistresses, Assistant Masters and Assistant Mistresses and from a number of trade unions and other organisations as well as the Secretary of the Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchanges.
3.37 THE CHAIRMAN introduces MR. E. A. C. ROBERTS
Assistant General Secretary of the Amalgamated Engineering Union and refers to the important part he hopes Trade Unionists will play in S.A.C.U.
MR. E.A.C. ROBERTS who will second the Resolution.
From the Pan-Africanist Congress (South Africa)
“The Pan-Africanist Congress heartily welcomes S.A.C.U. which is bound to play an important role in the pursuit of international understanding and therefore the furtherance of peace and the happiness of mankind. The Chinese people who constitute nearly a quarter of the world?s population are probably the most misunderstood and most maligned people on earth. If S.A.C.U. can banish this misunderstanding and hostility from the minds and hearts of even a hundredth part of the people of the United Kingdom it will have more than justified its existence and by so much brought nearer the reign of sanity in the affairs of man.”
3. 47 OPENING OF DISCUSSION
Those who wish to speak should first raise their hands, catch the chairman?s eye, approach the microphones suspended above them and speak into it as directly as possible. They should announce themselves and where they are from before speaking.
Owing to the shortage of time, I must appeal to speakers to confine their remarks to not more than 3 minutes.
For those who are beginning to flag, announce that tea will be served in the Hoare Memorial Hall at 5.15.
Sponsors who may wish to speak:Catherine Williamson
4.45 DISCUSSION MUST END.
4.46 JOAN ROBINSON - Reply to Discussion.
4.47 RESOLUTION put and voted upon.
4.48 CHAIRMAN introduces Mr. DEREK BRYAN O.B.E., distinguished diplomatic record, excellent Chinese scholar has been acting Secretary will speak on the Society's programme.
5.00 COLLECTION OF DONATION ENVELOPES
5.05 CHAIRMAN?S CLOSING GENERAL REMARKS
Announces the formation of a provisional Council of Management to assist him in founding the Society preparing a Constitution and so forth.
A number of people have been approached and agreed to serve:Mrs. Mary Adams
I have already approached some other sponsors including a Liberal and a Labour MP and hope they will find it possible to join us on the Council of Management.
Announcements by Derek Bryan
I hope those who have not already done so will make their way to the Convocation Hall to register their membership of the Society and to receive their invitations to the evening reception. Banker?s Orders will need to be filled in.
Those of you who have already joined the Society will receive your invitation to the Reception at a table specially set aside for the purpose in the Convocation Hall.
Any of you who wish to consult my colleagues concerning the formation of branches, obtaining speakers from S.A.C.U. or have suggestions for possible activities for the Society should go to Committee Room No. 6.
As I have already mentioned tea will be served in the Hoare Memorial Hall at 2/6 each.
I would remind you that there is an Exhibition of photographs of Chinese life and a bookstall with books and magazines on China in the Bishop Partridge Hall.
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