US Ambassador to China, John Leighton Stuart (Part III)

John Leighton Stuart (1876-1962) (Image: Public Domain)
John Leighton Stuart (1876-1962) (Image: Public Domain)

After the Chinese communists ousted Chiang Kai-shek’s National Government, Ambassador Stuart returned to the U.S. where he visited U.S. Senators and encouraged them to advise the Truman administration to help salvage the situation in China. He returned to the Presbyterian Church to deliver a public speech. In his speech, he mentioned China’s internal and external problems and unfavorable international situation in recent decades. He proposed that the United States not push the responsibility of the collapse of the Republic of China onto the Chinese themselves and stay out of it.

He also defended General Chiang Kai-shek because, from his own observation, he believed that Chiang Kai-shek was a leader with great moral cultivation who had made every effort to resolve the situation. Stuart believed that all walks of life in the United States were affected by the propaganda of the Communist Party at that time and people failed to see the true nature of the Chinese Communist Party. As a result, China was seized by the communist regime. What he believed should be done now was to fully support the government of the Republic of China in Taiwan. However, after a few speeches, Stuart was banned from speaking publicly by the Truman administration.

(Image: Public Domain)

Stuart believed that all walks of life in the United States were affected by the propaganda of the Communist Party at that time and people failed to see the true nature of the Chinese Communist Party. (Image: Public Domain)

At the beginning of December 1949, on the way back to Washington, Stuart, then aged 73, was sent to the hospital for emergency treatment after feeling unwell. He was diagnosed with severe cerebral thrombosis, lost his language ability, and became paralyzed due to the stroke. Stuart resigned from being the ambassador due to his ill health.

Stuart worked almost all his life in China. In the United States, he had no personal property or even social security. Even the $1,000 a month salary during his tenure as ambassador had mostly been donated to the development of education in China. In his later years, he lived in poverty. Fortunately, he was able to rely on his private secretary, Fu Yibo, and his family members, who cared for him as he regained his health. In the last few years of his life, to leave his legacy to history, he started working on a book titled Fifty Years in China — The Memoirs of John Leighton Stuart, Missionary and Ambassador, which also contained a section titled: “United States and China: What policy now?”

(Image: Screenshot / YouTube)

In the last few years of his life, he started working on the book titled -Fifty Years in China — The Memoirs of John Leighton Stuart, Missionary and Ambassador.’ (Image: Screenshot / YouTube)

In his book, he mentioned the nature and purpose of communism and the characteristics of the Chinese people. He talked about the spirit and purpose of the founding of the United States from a historical point of view and how the nation was shouldering the mission of God to be a model of the free world, and how it must not make any favorable actions towards communist groups. According to him, the urgent task of the United States was to defend Taiwan and not let it fall under the control of the Communist Party:

On September 19, 1962, Stuart died in Washington at the age of 86. In his will, he hoped to be buried on the campus of Yanjing University. However, the application process was blocked. Some people objected to the burial in China on the grounds that Stuart was criticized by Mao Zedong, the former leader of the Chinese Communist Party. The matter was therefore put on hold until it was finally approved at the end of 2008. On November 18, Stuart’s ashes were officially buried in Hangzhou, and his last wish was finally fulfilled.

(Image: 猫猫的日记本 via wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0)

On November 18, 2008, Stuart’s ashes were officially buried in Hangzhou, and his last wish was finally fulfilled. (Image: 猫猫的日记本 via wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0)

There are only simple ornaments on his tombstone; his epitaph reads — Stuart, the president of Yanjing University, and a photo of his smiling face, which seems to echo his speech and the final paragraphs of the memoirs:

Translated by Yi Ming and edited by Helen

Part I can be found here

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US Ambassador to China, John Leighton Stuart (Part II)
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