The Fourth Biennial Conference of the Institute of Pacific Relations was held in Shanghai, China, from October 21 to November 2, 1931, With two sessions in Hangchow, the place originally announced as the conference site.
This volume is a record of the round-table discussions of this Conference with extracts from the materials prepared for them and from addresses delivered at general sessions. A handbook, prepared primarily for the guidance of conference members, and outlining the history, philosophy, and methods of the Institute, is reproduced in Appendix II.
That the Institute weathered the troubled circumstances in which it was held has widely been acclaimed as a remarkable achievement in itself. The world-wide economic depression and the financial crisis in some of the participant countries, famine and flood disaster in China, and, finally, the "Manchurian incident" which capped a long series of controversies between China and Japan had made the holding of the Conference at the scheduled time and place well-nigh impossible. The credit for overcoming all these handicaps belongs particularly to the Chinese and Japanese members of the Institute whose personal courage and devotion to the Institute braved opposition in their own countries and who came to Shanghai to spend two weeks together in close personal contact, to study with the nationals of six other countries the outstanding problems that faced the peoples bordering the Pacific. When the Pacific Council, the governing body of the Institute, met in Shanghai in the week preceding the Conference, the tension in both countries was so great that it was considered inadvisable to hold the regular Conference, as scheduled. Plans were made for a "modified Conference," consisting in the main of expanded sessions of the organizational committees of the Institute, charged with the conduct of its ongoing activities. But after a week of working together in the business meetings of the Pacific Council, the International Research Committee, and the International Program Committee, the members were ready for more extended discussions; and on October 21 it was possible for Dr. Hu Shih, the president of the Conference, to open its first regular session with the words: "This is the Fourth Biennial Conference." A part of his address is here quoted as indicating the temper of the subsequent conference sessions:
"This Conference has been made possible by a tardy realization on the part of its Japanese and Chinese members that, whatever calamities may have befallen their respective countries through the folly of their political leaders, some good may yet result from the coming together and the thinking together of the enlightened men and women of the various nations, and the application of scientific method both in research and discussion in international affairs.
"We may now congratulate ourselves that so far the Institute has successfully passed a severe test and has courageously met a powerful challenge. The challenge, as I look at it, has been this: Dare we give up thinking in the face of great emotional upheavals, in times of national crises? Is the ideal and method of the Institute only . . .