Ronning, Chester Alvin
Chester Alvin Ronning, diplomat (b at Fancheng [Xiangfan], China 13 Dec 1894; d at Camrose, Alta 31 Dec 1984). He spent his early years in China and in northern Alberta. He served in the Royal Flying Corps (1918), but upon completion of courses at U of A and U of Minn, he returned to China as a teacher (1922-27) until being named principal of Camrose Lutheran College. While principal (1927-42), he was an MLA (1932) in the UNITED FARMERS OF ALBERTA
government and was active in the CO-OPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH FEDERATION
. After leading an RCAF intelligence unit (1942-45), Ronning entered the Dept of External Affairs, serving in China (1945-51), in Ottawa (1951-54), as ambassador in Norway (1954-57), as high commissioner in India (1957-64), and also as a member of the conference on Korea in Geneva (1954) and on Laos (1961-62). He undertook special missions to Hanoi (1965 and 1966) to attempt to mediate during the Vietnam War. Ronning was an untiring advocate of the recognition of the People's Republic of China and of its admission to the UNITED NATIONS
. His knowledge of China and his friendship with such Asian leaders as Zhou Enlai made him an invaluable go-between.
BRIAN L. EVANS