This I Believe

Tsiang, Tingfu F. (Tingfu Fuller)

  • Tinfu Tsiang describes his belief that China and the West each have valuable cultural insight to offer the other, and that the way to world peace is to focus on ulitizing existing resources more efficiently and to preserve human freedom in one's home country.
This object is in collection Subject Permanent URL
Component ID:
To Cite:
TARC Citation Guide    EndNote
Detailed Rights
view transcript only

And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Ambassador Tingfu F. Tsiang, permanent representative of China to the United Nations is no stranger to America having studied at Oberlin College and Columbia Universities. Returning to China he taught history before becoming Director of Political Affairs of the Executive Yuan. After World War II he was director of Chinese relief and rehabilitation. Here is ambassador Tingfu F. Tsiang.
I would like to speak both as an individual and as a diplomat. I am a Chinese living in a period unprecedented in my country’s long history, perhaps even the world’s history. It is a period of violent change. I remember a time when I thought China’s culture was perfect. I remember also a time when I thought China’s culture was valueless and that China had better become completely Westernized. I have traveled and worked in many lands. Now, nearing 60, I believe that neither view is correct and that China needs the West and the West needs China. China’s culture is basically Confucian, in spite of the introduction of Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity into China.
Confucius limited his vision to life in this world. To us Chinese he teaches that when a man is a good member of a family, a good friend, a good neighbor, and good citizen, he is in human heaven. As a child of China’s culture, I believe there is the possibility nobility and grandeur in wordly human life. Poverty and distress should not rob a man or a nation of the things of personal or national worth and dignity. On the other hand, wealth and power, whether individual or national, can be enduring and satisfying only when they are used in moderation and modesty, and with the understanding that comes with the realization that material things are, after all, only transitory and limited.
As I work in my office in the tallest building in New York, I feel that the architects of Manhattan have a lesson to teach to all men in all nations: We can and should expand skywards and not sideways. War and political domination are born of sideways expansion. Class strife, racketeering, and corruption are also born of sideways expansion. With the aid of modern science and technology, individuals and nations, by the proper development of their faculties and resources, can achieve a well being with the sky as the limit. I never cease admiring Switzerland and Denmark, countries which have managed to achieve not only a high standard of living, but a high standard of culture, in spite of material limitations.
In face of wars and rumors of wars, of the atomic bomb and Communism, I remain a moderate optimist. Without trying to prophesize that a third World War is out of the question, I believe that mankind has hopes for world peace—if not in the immediate future, then probably within a matter of decades. I watched the rise of the military clique in Japan and of the Nazis in Germany in the 30s. I derive some comfort from the fact that the Japanese militaries and the Nazis only succeeded in unleashing war after they have suppressed freedom at home. This fact points out to me that in the promotion of human freedom, we have a sure road to peace. As a diplomat, this I believe.
That was Ambassador Tingfu F. Tsiang, China’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.