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to the request of the representative of the Presbyterian Mission at Yeungkong, Kwangtung, that a protest be lodged by the Consulate General against the massacre of lepers in a leper settlement at Yeungkong, and to enclose a copy of the Embassy's instruction of today's date to the Consulate General at Canton on the subject.212
As pointed out in the above mentioned instruction, the mission's representative based his request that a protest be filed on the contention that the massacre constituted interference with the mission's medical work.
From the information at hand it appears that the leper settlement was not established by the mission but by the local authorities. The mission apparently maintained a chapel in the settlement and a hut from which medical supplies were distributed. These buildings and their contents are reported to have been looted following the massacre. The mission hospital located a mile and a half away was not involved. The Embassy instructed the Consulate General that in the circumstances the Embassy did not consider that sufficient legal grounds existed for the filing of a protest by the Consulate General against the massacre, but informed it that the filing of a claim for losses suffered by the mission on account of the looting would appear to be in order. Local political complications developed as soon as word of the massacre leaked out, which is another reason why a protest by the Consulate General against the massacre would appear undesirable at this time, unless bona fide American interests could be established. Respectfully yours,
NELSON TRUSLER JOHNSON
393.1163P92/57 The Counselor of Embassy in China (Peck) to the Director of the De
partment of European and American Affairs, Chinese Foreign Office (Liu) 22
NANKING, June 9, 1937. DEAR DR. Liu: The American Presbyterian Mission maintains two hospitals and two or three schools in the south suburb of Hwaiyuan, Anhwei Province, outside the city wall. These institutions have been there for many years.
The members of the Mission have reported to the Embassy that they are considerably alarmed by the fact that the military forces of the National Government have converted three unused temples situated in immediate proximity to the hospitals and schools, as places for the storing of ammunition. It is reported there that these ware
na Not printed.
* Copy transmitted to the Department by the Ambassador in China in his covering despatch No. 516, June 24; received July 26.
house[s] contain large quantities of hand grenades, rifle and artillery ammunition. They are carefully guarded day and night. Proclamations have been posted prohibiting any person from approaching these ammunition warehouses closer than a distance of one Chinese li. The members of the American Presbyterian Mission feel that there is a constant danger of explosion and that the presence of this ammunition is a serious danger to the property of the Mission and to the lives of all the people on the Mission premises, including American citizens, the Chinese patients in the hospitals and the Chinese students in the schools. They have requested that the American Embassy report their anxiety to the appropriate authorities of the Chinese Government and inquire whether it will not be possible to remove the ammunition from the south suburb of Hwaiyuan, and especially from the vicinity of the Mission property, to some place where its presence will not endanger life.
I think you will recall that on one occasion ammunition stored in a warehouse situated just outside of Nanking, near the Hansimen, exploded, and likewise ammunition stored in a warehouse in the city of Sian, Shensi. It is a well-known fact that ammunition kept in storage is capable of explosion without any outside cause, but owing merely to chemical decomposition in the ammunition itself.
I shall be grateful if you will be so kind as to bring the state of affairs at Hwaiyuan to the attention of the appropriate authorities and ascertain whether something cannot be done to remedy it. Yours very sincerely,
WILLYS R. PECK
in China (Johnson) 28
SHANGHAI, July 13, 1937. . SIR: I have the honor to enclose, as of possible interest to the Embassy, copy of a letter 24 which the Consulate General addressed several months ago to American citizens residing at interior places in the Shanghai consular district (except Nanking), requesting cooperation in compiling data which might be of assistance in event of any emergency in China in which the safety and protection of American citizens in the Shanghai district would become a matter for consideration.
In consultation with the heads of Missions at Shanghai, the Consulate General prepared a selected list of Americans to whom the letter was addressed, seeking so far as possible to include outstanding Americans who might be relied upon to cooperate in a cordial, discreet and intelligent manner. Steps were also taken so far as possible to provide for the delivery of the letters by hand, through the Mission offices at Shanghai which handed them to the American addressees when they came to Shanghai on mission or other business, or delivered them to other Americans who were proceeding to the interior to the places for which the letters were intended. In this way the inquiries were distributed without the necessity of resorting to the mails except in a very limited number of cases.
* Copy transmitted to the Department by the Consul General at Shanghai in despatch No. 888, July 13; received August 9.
2 Not printed.
The response has been both prompt and gratifying, and the Consulate General now has a reasonably complete file of information on American citizens and interior places at which they reside for immediate reference in any emergency.
It has been found that the outline sent by my letter has been followed in most cases, and sketch maps have usually been provided. In many cases the desired information has been given by notes on the original outline. In future the outline will be so prepared as to make it possible for all persons to follow this course if they desire.
The Consulate General understands that some plan for the concentration and protection of Americans at Nanking has been made by the Nanking office of the Embassy. No attempt has been made to cover Nanking in the information being compiled at this Consulate General. It is believed, however, that it would be useful in any emergency to have available at Shanghai the plan devised at Nanking. Perhaps you may see fit to instruct the Nanking office of the Embassy to supply a copy.
The Consulate General also has in mind reviving and laying down in outline form for ready reference in any emergency, the plan for the concentration and protection of Americans at Shanghai, originally adopted during my temporary assignment to this post in 1926–7, and later used in 1932 as the basis for emergency plans during the crisis here. Unfortunately, however, the staff situation at Shanghai has not permitted this work to be undertaken up to this time, and I fear that the matter cannot be reached for some few months. Respectfully yours,
C. E. GAUSS
393.1164 Yenching University/21 : Telegram
The Ambassador in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State
NANKING, August 4, 1937—10 a. m.
[Received 3:03 p. m.] 365. Following telegram has been received from Peiping: 25
From the Counselor of Embassy in China, Lockhart.
"August 2, 5 p. m. Doctor Leighton Stuart of Yenching University
5 addressed Embassy under date of July 30 as follows:
'Yesterday we hoisted the American flag on the main campus of this University and on two of our residence compounds. If there should be any intrusion in violation of American treaty rights you will be notified'.
Yenching. University is registered with the Ministry of Education (see Counselor Peck's letter of April 9, 1936 to the Embassy here 26). The attitude of the Department regarding American missionary educational institutions which have complied with the registration requirements of the Chinese Government is set forth in its instruction to the Legation No. 871 of May 23, 1928,27 a copy of which is enclosed with the Legation's 252 of June 28 (1928]. Under that instruction I do not see how the Embassy can extend protection to Yenching University or consent to the flying of the American flag over the University premises. Doctor Stuart reports however that about 2 years ago you stated to him that he might fly the American flag. As there is no record in the files of the Embassy here of your reported statement to him, I will appreciate receiving your instructions in the matter by radio.
I believe that Doctor Stuart has taken his present action as a result of the destruction of Nankai University at Tíentsin by the Japanese." To which I have sent following reply:
["] August 4, 9 a. m. Your August 2, 5 p. m. If I had told Stuart that he might fly American flag over Yenching University surely I would have made some record of such a conversation, for matter has been discussed in the Embassy too many times for me to have failed to do this. I agree with you that I do not see how Embassy can extend protection to Yenching University or consent to the flying of the American flag over University premises. If there is an American interest in the property it seems to me that the most we can do will be to notify Chinese and Japanese of the existence of that interest.”
393.1164 Yenching University/24 : Telegram
The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in China (Johnson)
WASHINGTON, August 5, 1937—8 p. m. 131. Your 365, August 4, 10 a. m. According to information in possession of the Department, formal title to a part if not to all of the property at Yenching is held in the name of American trustees in New York. This circumstance appears to entitle the trustees or their representative at Yenching to fly the American flag over such property, notwithstanding the fact that the University, as an institution, has registered for administrative purposes with the Ministry of Education.
The Embassy may in its discretion notify the Chinese and Japanese authorities of the existence of the American interest at Yenching. Please inform Peiping.
393.1164 Yenching University/26 : Telegram
The Ambassador in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State
NANKING, August 6, 1937—5 p. m.
[Received 5:28 p. m.] 379. Department's 131, August 5, 8 p. m.
1. As indicated in the Embassy's telegram of August 2, 5 p. m. from Peiping, both Lockhart and I were of the opinion that the display of the American flag over Yenching University would not be consistent with the Department's instruction No. 871 of May 23, 1928 28 which inter alia reaffirmed that the Department does not as a rule desire to intervene on behalf of American concerns unless the latter are under effective American control. Registration of educational institutions with the Ministry of Education presupposes on the Chinese part control by Chinese citizens.
2. The danger which the Embassy apprehended from the display of the American flag over an educational institution like Yenching University was not, however, based on legalistic grounds. Nankai University in Tientsin has already been the special target of Japanese military action. It is well-known that the student class in Peiping and elsewhere has been especially imbued with nationalistic and antiJapanese sentiments. I felt that the Department would not approve of the giving to Chinese students of protection from Japanese repressive measures as would be implied by the display of the American flag and I foresaw the possibility of serious complications if such repressive measures were to be taken forcibly in spite of such display. The sympathy of American staff members with the students also must not be forgotten.
3. Two American missionary educational institutions registered with the Chinese Government but utilizing American owned property exist in Nanking and their Chinese presidents have already notified me officially of such American ownership. One of them, the University of Nanking, has for a long time been very prominently displaying the Chinese flag. Neither this University nor Ginling College have officially mentioned the matter of display of the American flag but if the latter should suddenly be substituted for the Chinese flag the apparently opportunist assertion of American nationality could hardly avoid creating comment.
* Foreign Relations, 1928, vol. I, p. 570.