"The recent history of both Europe and Asia shows beyond a doubt the futility of trying to turn a tiger into a kitten by giving it a dish of cream."
V. K. Wellington Koo (1887–1985)
Columbia College 1908; PhD 1912
Koo played a major role in expanding China's relationships with the West. Founder of the modern Chinese foreign service, he was instrumental in negotiating the end of the "unequal treaties," a series of agreements China had signed with Western powers under threat of force in the mid-nineteenth century. He was China's delegate to the Paris peace conference of 1919, and served as acting prime minister from 1926 to 1927. Koo held the posts of ambassador to France, Great Britain, and, for ten years, the United States—he was the youngest ranking diplomat to come to the United States. Koo is also credited with China's participation in founding the United Nations, serving as his country's signatory of the UN charter. He further extended his international role in the last phase of his career, when he served as judge and vice president of the International Court of Justice at The Hague from 1957 to 1967.