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William Jennings Bryan

John F. Parker in Washington Roll Call, Reader's Digest, May, 1981

William Jennings Bryan, Secretary of State in Woodrow Wilson's Cabinet, was interviewing a man who was seeking a diplomatic post in China. Bryan warned the applicant that it was necessary to qualify as a linguist. "Can you speak the Chinese language?" he asked.

The man was equal to the occasion. Looking Bryan squarely in the eye, he replied, "Try me. Ask me something in Chinese."