April 1, 1943

Thursday – Meetings

Madame Chiang Kai-shek spent today resting at her suite in the Ambassador Hotel.

The morning was spent receiving gifts from her various supporters, including bouquets of wildflowers handpicked by Chinese American children. Over $6,000 was also presented at this time, with money coming from institutions like the Los Angeles division of the Chinese Women’s New Life Movement Association, originally founded by the Madame in China.[1]

Copyright Los Angeles Public Library - Harry Quillen Collection. All Rights Reserved.

The New Life Movement Society at the rally. The organization promoted traditional Chinese values, and was started as a counter to growing Communist sentiment in China.[2]

Individuals contributed as well. A certain Mrs. Lee Kwai Sing stands out for giving an amazing $3,000. The following is a transcript from her letter:

Dear Madame: I am a Chinese lady, come to Calif. when I was a child and now I am 73 years old. I always want to help my country China and it seems God has answered my prayer. Enclosed is a check. I like a place where boys and girl scouts of China get together to read good books but theis [sic] just my imaginlation [sic]. Madame, do as you like with the money. Pardon for the mistake for I never been to school. Yours truly…[3]

Shortly before lunch, Madame Chiang Kai-shek met with Dr. Wellington Koo, China’s ambassador to Great Britain.[4] This was followed by an afternoon tea with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s son, Lieutenant John Roosevelt, and his wife.

A physician visited the suite in the afternoon as the Madame went about preparing her speech.[5] Unfortunately, this checkup seemed to no avail, as the cold and sore throat that had been bothering her would plague her for the rest of her stay in Los Angeles.

At around 6 PM, a cadre of famous film industry magnates were invited to a special meeting with the Madame. The exclusive party is now recognizable just by the listing of surnames, including Disney and the Warners to Myer and Goldwyn. It is reported that she urged them to portray China and its inhabitants more realistically,[6] a plea surely appreciated by the dozens of Chinese Americans in the area that had acted or been extras in the racist “Chinese” movies of the time.

Copyright Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Comedian Bob Hope (second from the left) and director Sam Goldwyn (right) are seen here at Madame Chiang Kai-shek’s reception banquet.

[1] “Gifts From All Walks Pour In to Mme. Chiang,” Los Angeles Times, April 2, 1943.

[2] Madame Chiang Kai-shek’s trip through the United States and Canada, San Francisco: Chinese Nationalist Daily, 1943.

[3] “Gifts From All Walks Pour In to Mme. Chiang,” Los Angeles Times, April 2, 1943.

[4] “Dr. Koo Hails Reception Given For MME. Chiang,” Los Angeles Times, April 2, 1943.

[5] “Mme. Chiang Spends Busy Day in Suite,” Los Angeles Times, April 2, 1943.

[6] Weidenburner, Carl W, “Madame Chiang in Hollywood,” Life Magazine, April 19, 1943. http://cbi-theater-1.home.comcast.net/~cbi-theater-1/life041943/life041943.html