On November 18th we were invited to a dinner at CHIN'S. In all, twenty-six persons were to partake, including all the higher Chinese officials in the town, Mr McLoiN, the postal commissioner, and three gentlemen from the Soviet consulate-general. The dinner was prepared by Russian chefs, wine flowed freely, and CHIN gave a speech in which he expressed his good wishes for a friendly cooperation with the Soviet Union and for our expedition. Fourteen armed soldiers stood on guard in the room.
Acting Consul-General SZMIATIN thanked the speaker on behalf of his country, and I did the same on behalf of the expedition. In my speech I hoped that this magnificent dinner might be taken as an augury that our position was now as assured as it had been in YANG'S time.
Professor Sm. then made a brilliant speech in which he sketched the contours of our journey and our plans. He spoke of the irruption of the new epoch in China and its demands for freedom, of the scientific importance of a thorough exploration of Asia, of our desires and of the interest that Sinkiang should have in our work and its success. We had in China many and powerful friends, CHIANG-KAISHEK and his government, the Chinese scientific world, that both for its own country and for the rest of mankind expected great results from our work. We on our side expected in Sinkiang all the sympathy and all the support that were necessary for a happy issue for our enterprise.