In February The U.S.–China Policy Foundation was saddened by the passing of Arthur W. Hummel, Jr., a cofounder of the U.S.–China Policy Foundation, a pioneer in promoting positive U.S.–China relations, and a respected friend. Known for his integrity and deep understanding of China, Art Hummel will be remembered as a skillful Foreign Service officer who eloquently and successfully maneuvered through difficult bilateral relationships during his thirty-five-year diplomatic career.
Born in China to missionary parents, at age eight Hummel moved back to the United States with his family. As a young man in 1940 he returned to China, taught English, and studied Chinese at the College of Chinese Studies in Beijing. The Japanese placed him in Weihsien internment camp after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. In 1944, Hummel and another internee escaped from the camp and joined the Chinese Nationalist guerrillas, fighting against the Japanese occupation of China until the war ended.
In 1950 Hummel began his impressive Foreign Service career serving as ambassador to Burma (1968–71), Ethiopia (1975–76), Pakistan (1977–81) and China (1981–85). He also served in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan and was in charge of East Asia and Pacific Affairs as Assistant Secretary of State (1976–77). Hummel was a superb negotiator who earned the respect and admiration of the officers who served under him and his foreign counterparts.
During retirement, Ambassador Hummel remained in contact with his numerous friends, lectured on college campuses across the country, participated in various conferences, and remained an adamant promoter of educational exchanges between the United States and Asia.
His personal contribution to developing and improving
American relations with China was an impressive achievement that will always
be remembered. He will be deeply missed.