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Vi Kyuin Koo (1887 - 1985)

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Vi Kyuin (V. K. Wellington) "顧維鈞" Koo
Born in Shanghai, Chinamap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Husband of — married (to about ) [location unknown]
Husband of — married in Brussels, Belgiummap
Husband of — married [location unknown]
Father of , [private daughter (1910s - unknown)], and
Died in New York City, New York, United Statesmap
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Categories: Shanghai, China | Taiwan | Chinese Notables.

V. K. Wellington Koo is notable.
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Traditional Chinese 顧維鈞
Simplified Chinese 顾维钧
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Koo.
Wellington Koo[1]
Not to be confused with Wellington Koo (Taiwan).
His Chinese name is variously romanized as Koo Vi Kyuin, Ku Wei-chün, and Gu Weijun [1]

1888 Birth

V. K. Wellington Koo was born in Shanghai 29 January 1888[1]

1908 First Marriage to Chang Jun-e

In 1908, Koo married his first wife, Chang Jun-e (simplified Chinese: 张润娥; traditional Chinese: 張潤娥; pinyin: Zhāng Rùn'é). They divorced prior to 1912.[3][1]

Early Life

Koo attended Saint John's University, Shanghai, and Columbia College, where he was a member of the Philolexian Society, a literary and debating club, and graduated in 1908. In 1912 he received his Ph.D. in international law and diplomacy from Columbia University,[1] New York.[1]

1912 Second Marriage to Tang Pao-yu

Koo's second wife, Tang Pao-yu "May" (simplified Chinese: 唐宝玥; traditional Chinese: 唐寶玥; pinyin: Táng Bǎoyuè; c. 1895–1918), was the youngest daughter of the former Chinese prime minister Tang Shaoyi and a first cousin of the painter and actress Mai-Mai Sze.[4][5][6] Their marriage took place soon after Koo's return to China in 1912. She died in an influenza epidemic in 1918.[7] [1]

They had two children: [1]

  1. a son, Teh-chang Koo (1916–1998),[8]
  2. and a daughter, Patricia Koo (b. 1918).

1912 Diplomat for China

Koo returned to China in 1912 to serve the new Republic of China as English Secretary to President Yuan Shikai. In 1915, Koo was made China's Minister to the United States and Cuba. In 1919, he was a member of the Chinese delegation to the Paris Peace Conference, led by Foreign Minister Lu Zhengxiang (Lou Tseng-Tsiang). Before the Western powers and Japan, he demanded that Japan return Shandong to China. He also called for an end to imperialist institutions such as extraterritoriality, tariff controls, legation guards, and lease holds. The Western powers refused his claims and, consequently, the Chinese delegation at the Paris Peace Conference was the only nation that did not sign the Treaty of Versailles at the signing ceremony. Koo also was involved in the formation of the League of Nations as China's first representative to the newly formed League. [1]

1919 Career

He was a Chinese diplomat from the Republic of China. [1]

He was one of China's representatives at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919; served as an Ambassador to France, Great Britain and the United States; was a participant in the founding of the League of Nations and the United Nations; sat as a judge on the International Court of Justice in The Hague from 1957 to 1967. Between October 1926 and June 1927, while serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Koo briefly held the concurrent positions of acting Premier and interim President of the Republic of China.[1] Koo was the first and only Chinese head of state known to use a Western name publicly.[1]

Noted Chinese diplomat and judge of the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

1921 Third Marriage to Oei Hui-lan

Koo's third wife was Oei Hui-lan (simplified Chinese: 黄蕙兰; traditional Chinese: 黃蕙蘭; pinyin: Huáng Huìlán; 1899–1992).[9][10][11] She married Koo in Brussels, Belgium in 1921.[12][10] [1]

(She was reportedly previously the wife of Count Wittingham or of Count Hoey Stoker.)[13][14][15] Much admired for her adaptations of traditional Manchu fashion, which she wore with lace trousers and jade necklaces,[12] Oei Hui-lan was one of the 42 acknowledged children of the Peranakan Chinese sugar magnate Oei Tiong Ham.[16] She wrote two memoirs: Hui-Lan Koo (Mrs. Wellington Koo): An Autobiography (written with Mary Van Rensselaer Thayer, Dial Press, 1945)[17][18] and No Feast Lasts Forever (written with Isabella Taves, Quadrangle/The New York Times, 1975).[19] [1]

Koo had two sons with her: [1]

  1. Yu-chang Koo (1922–1975, also Wellington Koo, Jr.) and
  2. Fu-chang Koo (1923–1977, a.k.a. Freeman Koo).[20][21]

1922 Foreign Minister and Finance Minister

From 1922, Koo served successively as Foreign Minister and Finance Minister. He was twice Acting Premier, in 1924 and again in 1926 during a period of chaos in Beijing under Zhang Zuolin in 1926-7. Koo was Acting Premier from 1 October 1926 and acted concurrently as Interim President. He served as Premier from January until June 1927, when Zhang organised a military government and Koo resigned. [1]

After the Northern Expedition toppled the government in Beijing in 1928, he was briefly wanted for arrest by the new Nationalist government in Nanjing, but through Zhang Xueliang's mediation he was reconciled with the new government and returned to the diplomatic service. [1]

He represented China at the League of Nations to protest the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. He served as the Chinese Ambassador to France from 1936–1940, until France was occupied by Germany. Afterwards, he was the Chinese Ambassador to the Court of St James's until 1946. [1]

In 1945, Koo was one of the founding delegates of the United Nations. He later became the Chinese Ambassador to the United States and focused in maintaining the alliance between the Republic of China and the United States as the Kuomintang began losing to the Communists and had to retreat to Taiwan.[2][1]

Koo retired from the Chinese diplomatic service in 1956. In 1956 he became a judge of the International Court of Justice in The Hague and served as Vice-President of the Court during the final three years of his term. [1]

1959 Marriage to Fourth Wife Yen Yu-ying

On 3 September 1959, Koo married his fourth wife Yen Yu-ying (a.k.a. Juliana Yen / Juliana Koo; simplified Chinese: 严幼韵; traditional Chinese: 嚴幼韵; pinyin: Yán Yòuyùn; b. 1905),[22] the widow of Clarence Kuangson Young.[23][24] He had three stepdaughters from this marriage: Genevieve (wife of American photographer and film director Gordon Parks), Shirley and Frances Loretta Young.[7][25][1]

1967 Retirement in New York City

In 1967, he retired and moved to New York City, where he lived until his death in 1985.[1][1]

1985 Death

Koo lived long enough to see two of his sons die before him. He died surrounded by his family in the night of November 14, 1985, at the age of 97. Wellington Koo was survived by his fourth wife, two children, nineteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.[26][1]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 Wikipedia. Wellington Koo. Accessed July 16 2016

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