Carrie Chapman Catt

Let’s Talk it Over - March 1928

Carrie Chapman Catt
March 01, 1928
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So Said some Public-Spirited Men and Women of the Problem of Living Together in Peace and Amity around the Pacific, and Following their Call the Group Pictured above Gathered in Honolulu to Discuss the Things that Vexed their various Countries. Here is a very Important Article Telling what they Said and Did – By one of the American Delegates –


Did you ever see a fish laugh? Did you ever see a melon that grew on a tree? Did you ever go to a tea party under the broad-spreading shade of a bread-fruit tree, or to a banquet where the tablecloth was taro leaves and the chief dish roast octopus? Did you ever play on a beach of fine beautiful sand as black as your shoe? Did you ever roll luxuriantly over a good road up a mountain side for 4000 feet and there stand comfortably on the edge of a mighty crater and see below boiling, seething lava pouring forth red and terrible? Or, more dainty view, did you ever see 10,000 blooms of the rare night-blooming cereus all at one time on a hedge under a silver moon? Did you ever see a lunar rainbow, or a rainbow tree, or a square fish with his tail attached by a flirtatious bow of brilliant yellow?

No, this is not Munchausen cynically asking you another; these are a few actualities of the many wonders of a self-governing territory of the United States of America. Like magnificent, shining jewels in a blue summer sea, six days’ journey from San Francisco, lie the twelve Hawaiian Islands, created by inconceivably violent volcanic action in some unknown ancient day and now constituting the Hawaiian Territory.

Just below the Tropic of Cancer, fruit, flowers, trees and all verdure are tropical in character – always green, the air always redolent with sweet perfume, the scene always startlingly brilliant with masses of flowers. “The loveliest fleet of islands ever anchored in any ocean,” wrote Mark Twain a generation ago. “The Rainbow Isles,” “The Paradise of the Pacific,” “The Wonderland of the World,” are some of the pet titles the residents apply to it.

The first preparation a visit should be to learn how to pronounce the name of the famous capital of Hawaii, which is not Hon-olulu, but Ho-no lulu. When, in early dawn, to early risers on incoming ships, land appears in the distance, a tall tower slowly looms out of the mist, and by degrees the visitor spells out a new word at the top, “Aloha.” How is it pronounced; what does it mean? he hastily asks. There are always those to answer. “Ah-lo-ah” they will tell him, and the word means “Welcome; we are truly glad to see you.” Soon the strains of a Hawaiian band reach the visitor, and friends, eager to interpret all the mysteries, announce that it is playing “Aloha,” and they will add that when the visitor departs, it will play “Aloha-oe,” meaning “Farewell; we are sorry to see you go.” Perhaps there will be a Hawaiian woman’s chorus also to sing “Aloha” to the rhythm of the ukulele, and certainly the home-coming residents will add that when the word is pronounced with a chanting drag on the second syllable, “ah-lo-ah,” it means “I love you” – the more emphasis and chant, the more love.

A moment more, and over the visitor’s head is slipped a lei – a wreath of flowers – and perchance, if there are many friends and the welcome is very profuse, there may be so many wreaths heaped upon his shoulders that he can scarcely peep out over them. All these are old Hawaiian customs. In the long ago any failure to show hospitality to strangers was punishable by serious penalties; now these customs are modernized, honored, and protected by Americans. Directly the visitor is driving to his hotel between hedges of gorgeous hibiscus, giant monkey pod trees and great poincianas covered with crimson bloom. This is Honolulu; exotic, beautiful beyond compare, different and appealing, inspiring poetry, romance, and aspirations.

In these unwonted surroundings and amidst these demonstrations of friendship and good-will the Institute of Pacific Relations met in July, 1927. It was entertained in the Punohou School, a one-time mission, but now the school mistress of all the important men and women of the Islands. Here in the dormitories all the visiting members were housed, in the school dining hall they were fed, in the big blue school swimming pool they took their morning dips, over the extensive campus they roamed, and in the school class rooms they gathered for work. On the first morning as members from Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, China, Korea, the Philippines, Japan, and the United States strolled into the school auditorium and hunted for their names on the seats assigned them, it was a question whether the Institute was to partake of the nature of a school, a parliament, or a League of Nations. It was soon revealed that it could not be either of the two last, because no motions, no resolutions, no findings were permissible. More, each member came representing himself and no one else. It was a school, but without teachers, and one in which members taught each other.

Whatever their other qualities may have been, each member of the Conference was chosen because he or she was informed about some phase of Pacific interests. From the United States came Dr. Ray Lyman Wilbur, President of Stanford University, and not only Chairman fo the Conference but also of the American group. He was supported by Dr. Arnold Bennett Hall, President of the University of Oregon; Dr. Ada Comstock, President of Radcliffe College; Dr. Mary E. Woolley, President of Mount Holyoke College. Dr. George H. Blakeslee, Dr. George Grafton Wilson, Dr. Quincy Wright, Professors of International Law respectively at Clark, Howard, and Chicago Universities, kept the discussion within legal truth. Dr. Daniel J. Fleming, Union Theological Seminary; Galen M. Fisher, Director Institute of Religious Research; the Most Reverend Edwin J. Hanna, Archbishop of the Diocese of San Francisco; Dr. Edward H. Hume, former President of Yale in China; Miss Mabel Cratty, General Secretary of the National Board, Y.W.C.A., were prepared to discuss the questions concerning missions in China. Mr. Herbert Croly, Editor of The New Republic; Frederick M. Davenport, Congressman and Professor of Political Science, Hamilton College; Dr. Stephen P. Duggan, Director of the Institute of International Education; Mr. Jerome D. Greene, broker; Dr. Stanley K. Hornbeck, lecturer on Far East, Harvard; Dr. Jeremiah W. Jenks, President of Alexander Hamilton Institute, once financial adviser to China; Robert N. Lynch, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce; Dr. James T. Shotwell, Professor of History, Columbia, and others discussed the Chinese Problem. Miss Grace Abbott, Chief of the Children’s Bureau; Dr. O. E. Baker, Federal Bureau Agricultural Economics; Dr. Carl L. Alsberg, Director Food Research Institute, Stanford University, discussed food and public welfare problems.

The members from other nations were equally representative if their universities and of scattered interests, the Chinese and Japanese delegations being especially noteworthy. The Chinese were about equally divided among college professors, managers, Y.M.C.A. and business men, not forgetting three thoroughly modern women. The chief of the Japanese was a member of the House of Peers, Dr. M. Sawayanagi; the chief spokesman, Mr. Y. Tsurumi, who used perfect English and was at all times witty and eloquent. Japan sent a group of professors, too, and had three women in her delegation, the chief of whom was Miss Hoshino, Acting President of Tsuda College.

The British group was especially distinguished with two well-known diplomats as chief and assistant chief, Sir Frederick Whyte and Lionel Curtis. Sir Arthur Currie, leader of the expeditionary forced to France, was the chief of the Canadian group. These were some of the men and women who day after day sought an understanding of the great problems stirring the Pacific.

Planning the Program

The program was not prearranged, as is usual, but was formulated after the members arrived, by a Pacific Committee upon which persons of ten nations served. By common consent a majority of the hours of the Institute was given to China and her relation to the outside world. Not only the oppressive political situation in which she finds herself, while harassed by civil wars and menaced by Bolshevism, but also Christian missions in China, now facing an admittedly difficult crisis, were reviewed in full. Other questions such as population and food supply, immigration, transportation, radio, investments, racial antagonisms, mandates, and education, were examined, but these seemed far away and immaterial when compare with the urgent demands of China.

The Round Table, known since King Arthur’s day, is not a new plan, but the Institute of Pacific Relations is attempting to develop it into a perfect instrument for finding understanding through discussion combined with good-will. Not more than thirty people gathered about each Round Table. In the evening all the Round Tables met together in a forum to review the day’s discussions and to exchange views.

Usually much time is consumed in all international conferences by the tedious necessity of interpreting speeches from one language to another. Here English only was spoken, and although the Asiatics may have suffered somewhat from inequalities in the give and take of discussion, most of them could speak English quite as fast and furiously as any American or Briton. Wit, sarcasm, sharp repartee, illustration, logic, and even apt quotations from English poets and statesmen were flung across the Pacific (or Round Table) with an abandon at times not a little disconcerting to proud Anglo-Saxons. Any onlooker would have discovered at once that this was a contest of equals, guided by a common aim to dig to the very bottom of each puzzling problem in quest for truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Race superiority received many a knock-out blow. Certainly all members must have gone away with smaller racial and national vanity and with more humility than when they came. A Japanese university professor frankly confessed that until her doors had been opened, Japan confidently believed herself to be the most enlightened country of all peoples. All the world admits that such race was more or less justified, because she had developed a high and remarkable culture, but from the Tonga Islands, where a quite primitive people live, came an eye-opening story. Through travelers the names of two mighty men, Napoleon and George Washington, had become known to the chiefs. Their existence or greatness was not questioned, but they explained it. Once, long ago, it was recalled, certain Tonga men had gone away in boats and never returned. It was now clear that they had landed somewhere, for these two great men must be their descendant. How otherwise could they be great? Other men had always been their inferiors!

What the Chinese had thought of themselves is a matter of record. “Was it not a fact that when the Anglo-Saxons were living in caves, wielding stone axes, and dressing themselves in skins, the rich among the Chinese were living houses of skilled construction and were wearing beautifully woven silken garments?” Chinese with humorous twinkles in their eyes asked at Honolulu. No one who knew history could deny the fact.

Wise professors have given a grand title to this form of race and national pride which makes all men believe themselves the noblest, their nation the best and highest in the world – ethnocentrism. The story of the ethnocentrism of China carries with it the cause and effect of the entire group of problems now emerging from that aroused country to challenge the encroachments of the West and to class her and Russia as the two most perplexing enigmas in world politics.

For four thousand years or more this people, occupying a country larger than the United States, had lived undisturbed from the outside. Few foreigners had visited China, and few Chinese had traveled far from their home land. The West knew little of China and her culture, and China knew practically nothing of Europe and had never heard of America. She had discovered printing, clocks, the compass, silk, prohibition, the single tax, and had even tried complete religious tolerance with legal recognition of Buddhism, Mohammedanism, and Christianity; and all this had come before and during the time when Europe was employing the thumb-screw and rack to establish religious righteousness. The quiet trend of affairs in China had been rudely disturbed by the introduction of opium, guaranteed to produce wonderful dreams, but carrying dire devastation in its wake, and in 1729 the Emperor forbade the smoking of opium anywhere in his vast empire. At that time the importation was two hundred chests, per annum.

An Envoy to China

Perhaps China would be today locked in with all her gates shut as she was in 1793, had it not been for opium and an awakening bump from the aggressive, militaristic traders of the West. In that year George III of England, still reigning and claiming his right to do so as authority from God, sent the McCartney mission to China, to another King, who likewise claimed his right to rule from on high. These divinely appointed rulers had thereby an historical ethnocentric tilt. The mission came with rich gifts and bearing from His British Majesty a petition to His Celestial Highness, begging that a British envoy might be permitted to reside permanently in Peking in order that trade between the two countries should increase and prosper.

The Emperor of the Heavenly Kingdom refused in emphatic terms. “Our dynasty’s majestic virtue has penetrated into every country under Heaven, and Kings of all nations have offered their costly tribute by land and sea. As you ambassador can see for himself, we possess all things. I set no value on objects strange or ingenious and have no use for your country’s manufactures.”

The entire letter was equally polite and definitely as firm. So in 1793, only one hundred and thirty-four years ago, a mere span in the life of a four-thousand-year-old empire, there is a record of what China’s ethnocentrism thought of itself.

Despite this summary dismissal of the British petition, however, trade continued without the consent of the Celestial Court. The universal law of supply and demand, with a handsome profit between them, proved too great a temptation to be withstood. The rich and mighty the world around wanted the rare skills and curios found in China, certain weak Chinese wanted opium and wanted it much, while unscrupulous Chinese wanted the profit. So many wants could not be resisted, and “in ways that were dark and peculiar” the trade went on.

The Opium Trade

Three years later, in 1796, another edict absolutely prohibiting the importation of all opium was issued, and this decree was repeated in 1800. By this time the importation had increased to four thousand chests per annum, yet prohibition of opium with those anxious to sell on one side, and those craving to enjoy its seductive dangers on the other, while men of meager morals stood between, availed little. The trade merely dug itself into deeper, darker and more secret channels. The Emperor commanded again and again, and it is said that the law was finally enforced; but in the river opposite Canton lay the foreign British ships serving as opium warehouses.

The Emperor then sent Commissioner Lin in 1839 to make a complete end of the business. He with his men surrounded the opium merchants and compelled them to deliver up 20,283 chest of opium lying in their ships. He destroyed it all. The Chinese called the British “barbarians,” and the Commissioner put a price on the head of every Britisher captured alive or dead. The British answered with guns, and thus began the so-called “first opium war.”

It was closed with the treaty of Nanking in 1842, the first treaty, except one with Russia, ever signed by China. It stipulated that China should pay twenty-one millions of dollars in reparations; it granted Great Britain the port of Hongkong, and opened four other ports to foreign trade. Hongkong became a center for the sale of opium, and under its influence the importation went up to seventy-five thousand chests by 1858, and there arose the second opium war, in which France joined with Great Britain.

Meanwhile the Emperor Tao Kwang, of whom it was said that he had lost three sons through the opium vice, steadily refused to legalize the importation which had remained contraband all those years. He said pitifully and helplessly at a parley with foreign traders in Peking:

“It is true I can not prevent the introduction of the flowing poison; gain-seeking and corrupt men will for profit and sensuality defeat my wishes; but nothing will induce me to derive a revenue from the vice and misery of my people.”

The Treaty of Tientsin, which closed the second war, legalized the importation of opium and guaranteed protection for the teaching and profession of Christianity for the first time since Christianity had been proscribed in 1724. The Emperor was unwilling to sign it, and a third opium war occurred in which the Emperor’s summer palace was first looted by the French and then burned by the British. In 1860 the treaty was signed. More indemnities, more concessions of territory were made, always under protest, and by the intimidation of superior foreign force.

This briefly is the sad background of modern China and her problems, wherein opium and missionaries entered an ancient, walled-in empire together at the point of the same guns. Although opium caused her downfall, Christianity, in the words of one member of the Institute, Dr. Bau (Professor of Political Science, Peking National Normal University), has given China a roundabout impetus to her own deliverance:

“The fundamental cause of the rapid growth of nationalism in China is education. This has been largely stimulated by foreign missionaries. For a while they ran the best educational institutions in China and thereby dominated the thought and character of the younger generation. In time returned students from Japan, Europe, and America, with good foreign training, mannered the staffs of the important educational institutions in China. What were once high schools, having been able to secure the services of these men, have developed into junior colleges; and what were once junior colleges, with the same impetus have grown to be full senior colleges. What is more, on account of the rapid influx of these returned students, new institutions of full collegiate standing have sprung up. The Chinese, formerly ignorant of Western peoples and afraid of them, are no longer subject to such apprehension.”

While missionaries from all the Western world were building up education and thus helping the Chinese to see the way to independence, British missionaries ceaselessly reported to their churches at home that the Chinese continually reproached them for the part the British had played in foisting opium upon China. In consequence, a “soul searching: and a resulting campaign to clean the record of a Christian nation has been in progress in the churches of Great Britain for more than half a century. While the United States was not a leader in the “unequal treaties” forced upon China, she has participated in all the privileges they offer and has acquiesced in all the humiliations put upon the Chinese; in consequence, there has been much agitation in the American churches as well, on the general theme of the political relations between the United States and China.

For half a century missionaries, opium, machine guns, education, insults, and growing understanding have each diligently been at work on popular opinion in China. Today she send her children to school, her boys and girls to colleges at home, and her young men and women to Japanese, British, and American universities. For a generation or two these young men and women have been returning to teach China at home through her schools, her press, and her platforms about the Western world and its great liberal movements, the revolutions in its history, its struggles for the rights of man and the evolution of democracy. They have explained the growth of international law and the meaning of the sovereignty of nations.

Chinese Nationalism

Simultaneously, discrimination against the Chinese by foreigners in their own China has aroused any flagging spirit to a strong sense of nationalism. For example, the International Concession at Shanghai is governed by a Municipal Council composed of representatives of foreign nation nations including Japan, but in which no Chinese are admitted. Yet Chinese residents within the Concession claim that they pay 75 percent of the taxes which maintain the government, and naturally the old American cry of “no taxation without representation” is doing its unerring work in China. Certain parks have been established within the Shanghai Concession, and all the world except the Chinese is admitted. For some time the insulting sign was placed at the gate, “Chinese and dogs not admitted.” Across the street on Chinese territory a playground was soon established, and the retaliating sign at the gate read “Europeans and dogs not admitted.” Both signs mysteriously disappeared in the darkness of one night, but the incident has never been forgotten.

An English gentleman met a cultured Chinese in London, and when he visited Shanghai, he invited the Chinese to lunch with him at a men’s club within the settlement. The Chinese, but was kept standing outside the door for some time, and when, at last, the much embarrassed English visitor came to him, it was with the disconcerting message that Chinese were not under any circumstances admitted to the club. These and many other discriminations related in Honolulu have rankled deep in the souls of Chinese men until rich and poor, high and low, are chanting together the old familiar slogan of rebellion, “China for the Chinese.”

Changing public opinion has not been confined to China. A chastened and enlightened Great Britain and America, not quite willing to apologize for that which has been, but more or less well intentioned as to the future and ready to act, now await the opportunity.

So it happened that in 1927, out in the middle of the Pacific, where the sun shines all the time and the air is filled with the music of the gentle lapping of blue waves against the green shore, East and West met in the Institute of Pacific Relations to talk things over. The British charged by the Chinese with being the first and chief transgressor in the political humiliation of China, mainly conducted the discussions on extra-territoriality, tariff autonomy, concessions, courts, and other political problems. Interesting and informative as these conversations were, those dealing with Christian missions in China (what they had done to arouse latent nationalism and what that nationalism in turn is now doing to missions), soared to far greater heights and dug down to deeper depths in the search for truth and understanding than any other in the Conference. It appeared that Christian missions quite as much as any other influence have caused the present rebellion against foreign powers. It is said that the “hard-boiled” traders in Shanghai are possessed of the “Shanghai mind,” and this mind believes that trade with plenty of dollars is “the inalienable right of mankind,” and so it says “D— the missionaries.” Christians do not use such phrases, but with as intense an emphasis, though expressed in far gentler words, they lay the responsibility for their present trying crisis upon the “go-getting traders.”

Our Various Religions

The first and most embarrassing handicap to united action is the division of foreign Christians into Catholics and Protestants, and the further division of Protestants into many nominations. Together they cover at least two thousand stations, the Catholics represented by some fifteen hundred and the Protestants by eight thousand missionaries. Well over half of both come from the United States. The Protestants claim investments in China to the figure of $80,000,000 and are said to spend there some $10,000,000 per year. In order to avoid friction, the Protestants have divide the territory with more or less success.

Two Corean girls in Honolulu said: “We live in different provinces in Corea. I am a Mehtodist, and my friend is a Presbyterian. We do not know why this is so, but in my province there are only Methodists, and in hers there are only Presbyterians.”

The division of the Christian faith in to denominations has not only proved a stumbling block all the way along, but now is offering the most astounding challenge to the West. The Chinese Christians, well versed in history, gently argue that as Christianity has developed many forms in accordance with the country and leaders who have interpreted it, the Christianity of North Europe being unlike that of South Europe, yet not like that in the United States, so, if left to herself, China will work out her own form of Christianity, which may be quite different from all the others, but will certainly be divided into denominations. Gently the Chinese Christians impressed upon the Round Tables the fact that they dreamed of a Chinese Christian Church utterly free from the domination of any other country.

When asked if, in their judgement, there was no longer need of missionaries in China, they sweetly but firmly responded that there would always be need of them, but only when and if they came at the invitation, and under the direction, of the Chinese Christians.

“Christ was himself an Oriental; perhaps Orientals free to study him without foreign direction may understand him better than occidentals may have done,” they said.

These are thrusts that hurt, yet brave, far-visioned men of long experience admit the possibility, and may yet approve the plan, that all missionaries withdraw from China, and thus give the Chinese the opportunity to work out their own religious future; but difficulties line the way.Not only are there the many denominations, but there are fundamentalists and liberals. When Christians first sent missionaries into the Orient, it was believed that this “heath people” would be forever damned if it did not receive the word of God. That viewpoint has passed for the liberals, but it has not passed for the fundamentalists. The liberals realize that if they should withdraw because of their clearer vision of the situation, it would not necessarily follow that the more orthodox among missionaries and churches would do so.

More, the delicate question of money and property, while not mentioned in the discussions, was clearly in the back of missionary minds, and the remembrance of that vast investment of eighty millions of dollars and the annual expenditure of ten millions more was never absent. Would the Chinese protect this property? Would they raise the money to continue the operation of Christian institutions? Or would the churches at home be willing to contribute money, knowing that it would not be spent by their own people? Would the institutions built with so much labor and love survive without money?

It was clear that these two groups of men, Anglo-Saxon and Chinese, loving and respecting each other, were hurt to the very quick by the delicate division between them. The Chinese Christians realize that they are not quite trusted to carry on alone by those who have been their friends and benefactors, and missionaries are shocked and wounded because they discover that after lives devoted with much sacrifice to Christian labors in China, they are no longer wanted.

Chinese Christians

In the gossipy agitation of the swelling nationalism at home, the Chinese Christian is under a trying fire which anxiety to his mission friends, The Communists have boldly charged that “Christianity is an opiate devised by capitalists in order to put over their schemes.” When Christians defend their faith by a counter-charge and say that Communists are merely presenting a propaganda paid for by Moscow with sinister purpose behind it, the Communist cynically asks if Christian propaganda is not paid for by London and New York. Chinese Christians opposing Bolshevism charge it with the desire to overthrow existing institutions in China and declare that Soviet Russia will use force to impress its ideas upon China. The Communists come back with the truism that Christianity has already overthrown ancestral worship, and with the twisted argument that gunboat, marines, and intimidation have kept the missions going.

Dr. Hung of Peking said, “There is no objection among Christians or anti-Christians to the spread of the idea of the spirit of Jesus, but there is a common belief that most missionaries can not free themselves from the things for which Christian nations stand.”

Dr. Hodgson, a British missionary, added, “It is true the Christian Church in China is now under suspicion of being an instrument of foreign powers.”

And Dr. Hume, formerly President of Yale in China, added, “China has reached a stage where she is unwilling to have her soul saved for her by the West.”

Missionaries, therefore, are finding their faith accepted but themselves rejected.

An unforgettable climax of all the discussions was reached at the closing session of the mission Round Table. A Professor of International Law opened by defining the legal status of missionaries in China, which is, of course, governed by the law as laid down in the so-called “unequal treaties” with foreign nations against which China protests.

Dean Hung’s Address

Dean William Hung, Professor of History and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences of Yen Ching University (Peking), a young man of thirty-odd years and a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, was invited to respond. He arose slowly and reluctantly. Under the control of the intensity of his own thinking, the room and the people around appeared to fade away. He seemed unaware that he had a body. It was only a brain at work – a brain of an old, old race educated in a modern school. Slowly and deliberately, apparently creating as he progressed, he said in effect:

“I do not like international law. It seems to me to be an effort to rationalize that which has been done before, regardless of whether that accomplishment has been right or wrong. It is said that two wrongs can not make a right, but to my mind international law is all the time trying to make a right out of a wrong; for example, when the treaties were imposed upon China at the point of the bayonet, treaties which compelled her to accept missionaries at the same time to give away her territory, her ports, and her sovereignty [he mercifully refrained from including the legalizing of opium], it was a wrong, nothing but a wrong, and no one can deny that it was a wrong. When the Manchus signed those treaties because they were intimidated, they also did wrong; yet those two wrongs are the only support for a treaty which is quoted as the law guaranteeing protection of missionaries in China. It is the same law that robbed us of territory and of sovereignty. I hold that no law brought into existence by wrongs can be accepted by the conscience of mankind as right. Two wrongs can not make a right. No agreement between nations can justly be recognized as law unless both parties to it are equally free to assent.”

The exact words are unhappily lost, but those who heard him seemed to feel the presence of a modern Confucius flinging an ultimatum to World Powers, to which no reply could honorably be made except admission of it truth.

In the background of the world’s mind has been the possibility that China may yet repudiate all the international treaties which in any way encumber her freedom. Dean Hung appears to have presented the principle upon which China may yet proceed. The Chairman of the Round Table looked as though he were tempted to say, “Let us pray”; or since there were Buddhists present, he may merely have wished to ask for a period of meditation. He said nothing. Silence controlled nevertheless. Then the discussion picked up again, cautious, timid, boring, and dragged on tediously until noon. The ultimatum had been pronounced – the last word had been said, and no one in that room knew what to say in response; or if they did, had not dared to say it. That young Chinese had inadvertently issued to sixteen nations a defiance which as yet remains unanswered. With this final challenge of old China still ringing in our ears, the second Honolulu conference of the Institute of Pacific Relations came to an end.

Soon the one hundred and twenty-odd members, who had shared in the discussions, loaded with the beautiful perfumed leis, found their way to many ships which would take them homeward to ten nations. From the decks they waved their farewell to new-found friends, while bands played “Aloha oe.”

At Diamond Head, the base of a giant volcano, a pretty ceremony took place. The band again played “Aloha” and members, gathering around the deck rail, cast the leis, hundreds of them, one by one, over into the sea. The legend is that if any one of these leis drifts back to shore, the one who has worn it will surely return.

“You shall hear the long waves drumming and the ukuleles strumming
And Hawaiian voices crooning in a plaintive strain and low,
And however far you travel, it’s a spell that won’t unravel,
And the thrall of it shall hold you and you’ll long again to know
All the sweet and poignant rapture which you can not quite recapture
Till Old Diamond Head is rounded on your journey back.”

PDF of manuscript

Catt, C. C. (1928). Let's talk it over. Good Housekeeping, 86(3), 56-188.