Madame Sun Yat-sen urges American military relief for China in 1939

Soong Ching-ling, Madame Sun Yat-sen., Chinese politician (1893-1981). Typed letter signed.

Hong Kong, October 1939.

4to. Letter on China Defence League stationery. 2 pp. on 2 ff. Signed in ink. With a black and white photograph (105 x 72 mm) and a newspaper clipping from the Sunday Mirror, 12 March 1944.


Signed by one of the most famous Chinese women of the 20th century, this letter by Soong Ching-ling (often known as Madame Sun Yat-sen) urges American military aid in the dark days of 1939, when China stood alone against the Japanese invasion.

Soong Ching-ling, on her deathbed named Honorary President of the People's Republic of China, was a lifelong politician whose career quite nearly spanned China's 20th century. Beginning with the 1911 Revolution and her marriage four years later to its leader, Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), she saw China through the Civil War, World War II, and the Cultural Revolution. Here Soong Ching-ling puts her rhetorical skill and reputation to work in urging the American war hero, Captain Evans F. Carlson (1896-1947) to promote aid for China through the China Defence League:

"We have not heard from you since the outbreak of war in Europe, and we are anxious to know what effect this is likely to have upon your work for China, which has helped us so much in past months. [...] Now that the tide of Fascist aggression has spread to Europe, our Committee would like to re-affirm their solidarity with the worldwide struggle for national independence, democratic freedom, and world peace". Soong Ching-ling concludes with a list of practical considerations faced by the CDL: "What does China need? Drugs - in immense quantities - for the fighting of malaria, cholera, typhoid, dysentery, and relapsing fever. Hospital equipment of every kind to improve the medical services. Dressings, bandages, and first aid supplies. Blankets for the protection of the wounded during this coming winter. Tinned milk and concentrated foodstuffs for the sick and wounded, for China's orphans of her two years' war. Funds - all the more valuable now, since the favourable exchange with the Chinese dollar - for the extension and support of all these services".

Together with a photograph of Soong Ching-ling, and a newspaper clipping from 1944 including Evans Carlson addressing the Sun Yat-sen memorial rally in New York on the plight of wartime China.


From the collection of the descendants of Evans Carlson, military observer in China (1896-1947).


Gentle creasing, light wear to bottom edge of first leaf.

Stock Code: BN#62737