T. V. Soong
T. V. Soong.jpg
T.V. Soong in the 1930s
Premier of the Republic of China
In office
31 May 1945 – 1 March 1947
PresidentChiang Kai-shek
Preceded byChiang Kai-shek
Succeeded byChiang Kai-shek (acting)
In office
25 September 1930 – 4 December 1930
PresidentChiang Kai-shek
Preceded byTan Yankai
Succeeded byChiang Kai-shek
Personal details
Soong Tse-vung

(1894-12-04)4 December 1894
Shanghai International Concession
Died25 April 1971(1971-04-25) (aged 76)[1]
San Francisco, California, United States
Resting placeFerncliff Cemetery and Mausoleum, Hartsdale, Westchester County, New York, US
NationalityRepublic of China
Political partyKuomintang
Spouse(s)Lo-Yi Chang
Parent(s)Charlie Soong and Nyi Kwei-twang (Ni Kwei-tseng)
Alma materHarvard University
Columbia University

Soong Tse-vung, more commonly romanized as Soong Tse-ven or Soong Tzu-wen (Chinese: 宋子文; pinyin: Sòng Zǐwén; 4 December 1894 – 25 April 1971) was a prominent businessman and politician in the early-20th-century Republic of China. His father was Charlie Soong and his siblings were the Soong sisters. His Christian name was Paul, but he is generally known in English as T. V. Soong. He served as Premier of the Republic of China.

Early life and education

Former residence of T. V. Soong in Nanjing.
Former residence of T. V. Soong in Nanjing.

Born in Shanghai, T. V. Soong received his education at St. John's University in Shanghai before completing a bachelor's degree in economics from Harvard University in 1915. He worked at the International Banking Corporation in New York while pursuing graduate studies at Columbia University.[2]


Soong as a leader of Wuhan nationalist government.
Soong as a leader of Wuhan nationalist government.
Soong at a mosque in Xining, Qinghai.
Soong at a mosque in Xining, Qinghai.

Upon returning to China he worked for several industrial enterprises, and was then recruited by Sun Yat-sen to develop finances for his Canton government. After the success of Chiang Kai-shek's Northern Expedition in 1927, Soong served in a succession of offices in the Nationalist Government,[3] including governor of the Central Bank of China (1928–1934) and minister of finance (1928–1933).[4]

He founded the China Development Finance Corporation (CDFC) in 1934, along with other prominent financial figures, such as Chang Kia-ngau, Chen Guangpu and H.H. Kung. CDFC provided China's chief access to foreign investment for the next decade. In summer of 1940, Chiang appointed Soong to Washington D.C. as his personal representative. His task was to win support for China's war with Japan. Soong successfully negotiated substantial loans for this purpose. Also, while in Washington in 1940, Soong managed to prevail upon President Roosevelt and his administration to back the plan of then-retired U.S. Col. Claire Lee Chennault to firebomb Japanese cities with Lockheed Hudson bombers painted with Chinese Air Force markings and flown by American pilots from airbases in China, before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. A scant month before the Pearl Harbor attack, the plan was scotched by U.S. Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall. After Pearl Harbor, Chiang appointed Soong Minister of Foreign Affairs, though Soong remained in Washington to manage the alliance with both the U.S. and the U.K.

During his tenure as Finance Minister, he managed to balance China's budget, no small accomplishment. He resigned in 1933, displeased with Chiang Kai-shek's appeasement of Japan and attempts to placate Japanese aggression.[5] He later returned to service as Minister of Foreign Affairs (1942–1945), and as President of the Executive Yuan (1945–1947). Soong left his legacy as head of the Chinese delegation to the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco, April 1945, which later became the United Nations.

Soong was in charge of negotiating with the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin regarding Soviet interests in China, and travelled to Moscow to extract from Stalin a guarantee to oppose the Chinese Communist Party. Soong conceded to Stalin the Manchurian railways and Korean independence, but refused to allow Russian interference in Xinjiang or Russian military bases in Manchuria; he also indicated that China and the Soviet Union could share dominion over Mongolia if a "mutual assistance pact" was agreed to.[6] Soong was known for his tough negotiating style with Stalin, getting straight to the point and freely using the threat of American military backing to strengthen his demands. When the Sino-Soviet treaty was signed, China ceded to Russia parts of Mongolia, use of a naval base at Port Arthur (with civilian rule remaining Chinese), and co-ownership of the Chinese Eastern Railway in Manchuria.[7]: 1  In return, Soong extracted from Stalin recognition of the Republic of China as the legitimate regime of China, aid from the Soviets, and oral agreement to an eventual Soviet withdrawal from Manchuria.[7]: 2  The treaty failed to end tension in China with the communists, resulting in renewed fighting in the Chinese Civil War.[8] Stalin had previously told the Americans that President Roosevelt should inform Chiang Kai-shek of the Russian demands in Manchuria, at the Yalta Conference, before Stalin informed Soong.[9]

During the war years, he financed the "Flying Tigers"—the American mercenary group that was later incorporated into the United States Air Force. Gen. Claire Chennault was listed as an employee of the Bank of China. On this project Soong worked very closely with his sister, Madame Chiang Kai-shek (May-ling Soong). He once remarked to John Paton Davies, Jr., one of the China Hands, that there were no U.S. State Department memos sent from China that he did not have access to within a few days.[10][11]: 241 


After the defeat of the Nationalists in the Chinese Civil War, Soong moved to New York and remained an influential member of the China Lobby.[11]: 317  On 25 April 1971, Soong choked to death in San Francisco at a dinner party hosted by the chairman of the San Francisco branch of the Bank of Canton, when a piece of chicken lodged in his windpipe.[12] Soong was survived by his widow, Lo-Yi Chang [zh] (張樂怡; Chang¹ Lê⁴-I²; Zhāng Lèyí), who had taken on the English name of Laura Chang Soong.

See also


  1. ^ "Ex-Premier of China, Soong, Dies in S.F.", San Mateo Times, 26 April 1971, p2. From the article in the Monday paper, Soong "died here Sunday night"
  2. ^ Kuo, Tai-chun; Lin, Hsiao-ting (2003). T.V. Soong in Modern Chinese History (PDF). Stanford University: Hoover Institution Press.
  3. ^ "Soong, T.V.," Boorman Vol 3, p. 149.
  4. ^ "Foreign News: Chiang's Cabinet". Time. 29 October 1928. Archived from the original on 21 November 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  5. ^ "CHINA: Soong Out". Time. 6 November 1933. Archived from the original on 22 November 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  6. ^ "CHINA: Top Secret". Time. 30 July 1945. Archived from the original on 8 November 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2011.
  7. ^ a b "THE NATIONS: Light in the East". Time. 3 September 1945. Archived from the original on 16 June 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2011.
  8. ^ "Foreign News: REPORT ON CHINA". Time. 19 November 1945. p. 1. Archived from the original on 8 November 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2011.
  9. ^ "HISTORICAL NOTES: We Believed in Our Hearts". Time. 13 September 1948. p. 1. Archived from the original on 1 February 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2011.
  10. ^ John P. Davies, Dragon by the Tail, p.266.
  11. ^ a b Halberstam, David (2008). The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War. Hachette Books. ISBN 978-0786888627.
  12. ^ "Soong Choked to Death on Food, Coroner Says", Los Angeles Times, 27 April 1971, p28

Seagrave, Sterling (19 April 1986). The Soong Dynasty. Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-06-091318-5.

Government offices Preceded byTan Yankai Premier of the Republic of China 1930 Succeeded byChiang Kai-shek Preceded byChiang Kai-shek Premier of the Republic of China 1945–1947 Succeeded byChiang Kai-shek