Academia Sinica yesterday held a ceremony marking its reception of more than 200 boxes of historic documents from retired diplomat Frederick Chien (錢復), including documents formalizing the severing of diplomatic ties between Taipei and Washington.
Chien, 86, is the chairman of the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange.
He served in government positions from the 1960s to 2005, with his key postings including Executive Yuan government information office director, representative to the US, minister of foreign affairs and Control Yuan president.
Photo courtesy of Academia Sinica via CNA
Among his collection are the documents formalizing the Republic of China’s withdrawal from the UN in 1971 and Washington’s severing of ties with Taipei in 1979, as well as his correspondence with foreign dignitaries.
He has been preserving important documents and keeping a diary as instructed by his mentors Hu Shih (胡適) and Fu Ssu-nien (傅斯年), Chien told the ceremony at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Modern History in Taipei.
The Hoover Institution at Stanford University had expressed a desire to preserve the documents, but he was reluctant, he said.
“I am Chinese, and I do not want my documents to end up in foreign institutions,” Chien said.
After the last volume of his three-book memoir was published last year, he decided to donate the documents to the institute, as it has a good reputation of preserving documents physically and digitally, and because he once wanted to work there, he said.
Some documents were displayed on the sidelines of the ceremony, including a photograph from a meeting between then-representative to the US Chien and then-US president Ronald Reagan in 1984, after Washington switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing.
While the institute received many files from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chien’s donation would be like “adding wings to a tiger” with respect to its research capabilities, said Academia Sinica Vice President Huang Chin-shing (黃進興), a historian.
The collection contains crucial materials that government officials should refer to, Huang said.
The institute is categorizing the documents donated by Chien and hopes to make them accessible for readers worldwide soon, said institute director Lu Miaw-fen (呂妙芬), who exchanged contracts with Chien marking the donation.
Chien’s father, Chien Shih-liang (錢思亮), was a former president of Academia Sinica, and his brother Chien Shu (錢煦) was the founding director of its Institute of Biomedical Sciences, showing the family’s profound ties to the academy, Academia Sinica President James Liao (廖俊智) said.
Presidential Office Secretary-General David Lee (李大維), and retired diplomats Chen Chien-jen (程建人), Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡) and Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊) also attended the event.
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