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893.801 Search/58: Telegram

The Consul General at Hankow (Adams) to the Secretary of State

HANKOW, December 12, 1931-1 p. m. [Received 4:39 p. m.]

125. 1. Yesterday morning about 30 armed and 200 unarmed soldiers belonging to the Chinese salt revenue guard boarded the American motor vessel Ifung lying alongside a hulk at Hankow. The American steamship Iping was at the same moment hauling herself alongside the Ifung. The Iping, downbound from Ichang, had on board an armed naval guard from the U. S. S. Palos and also approximately 18 tons of silver reported to belong to the Young Brothers Banking Corporation.

2. The American armed guard requested the Chinese soldiers to leave the Ifung. The Chinese soldiers refused to do so. The armed guard thereupon exploded tear gas bombs among the Chinese soldiers who hurriedly left the Ifung. So far as could be ascertained by the American naval authorities no one was injured during the incident. 3. Shortly thereafter the incident was discussed by the commanding officer of the Guam with a Chinese officer who came aboard and who claimed to be the commander of the Fourth Independent Battalion of Government Revenue Guards.

4. I received my first information regarding the incident yesterday afternoon. I have thus far received no complaint from the Chinese authorities with regard to the incident.

Legation and Nanking informed.


393.11/1385: Telegram

The Consul General at Nanking (Peck) to the Secretary of State

NANKING, December 18, 1931-3 p. m. [Received December 18-9:25 a. m.]

128. In a confidential circular letter mailed December 17,75 to American citizens in Kiangsu north of the Yangtze River and in Anhwei this Consulate General referred to the death of Reverend J. W. Vinson at the hands of bandits and warned American citizens in those districts that although this Consulate General had made insistent requests of the appropriate authorities that measures be taken for the security of American life and property, concrete results from the measures which the Chinese authorities have promised to take against them are discouraging and could hardly be expected for "Not printed; circular was dated December 16.

some time. The American citizens to whom the circular was addressed were advised to retire temporarily from the interior with the exception of men of not more than middle age and American citizens residing in localities where in their own opinion exceptional reasons existed for confidence that full protection could and would be afforded them.

Copies of the circular letter are being transmitted by mail to the Department and the Legation.


893.801 Search/60: Telegram

The Consul General at Hankow (Adams) to the Secretary of State

HANKOW, December 23, 1931-4 p. m. [Received December 23-7: 12 a. m.]

127. My 125, December 12, 1 p. m. No representations have been made by the Chinese authorities and I am inclined to believe that none will be made since the troops who were put off the Ifung have left this area.

Legation and Nanking informed.


393.1111 Halverstadt, Harriet/1: Telegram

The Vice Consul at Foochow (Burke) to the Secretary of State

FOOCHOW, December 24, 1931-4 p. m. [Received December 24-9:05 a. m.]

Methodist Mission reports that Miss Harriet J. Halverstadt, an American missionary, was captured about 20 miles south of Foochow by men dressed in marine uniform today at 1 p. m. I am urging the Provincial Government to take prompt action to effect her release..


393.1111 Halverstadt, Harriet/3: Telegram

The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

PEIPING, December 27, 1931-11 a. m. [Received December 27-3:50 a. m.]

1133. Legation's 1128, December 26, 11 a. m.76

1. Following from American Consul General at Nanking:

"December 26, 4 p. m. I have addressed note to Foreign Office as directed and expressing your expectation that the guilty persons will

70 Not printed.

be sought out, tried and punished in accordance with law. Foochow informed and requested to supply additional information."

2. Following from Foochow:

"December 26, 7 p. m. My December 24, 4 p. m. to the Legation. Halverstadt not released. Her whereabouts uncertain. Provincial Government only making half-hearted attempt to obtain her release. Believed to be captured by bandits and prospects of release are uncertain."


393.1111 Halverstadt, Harriet/14: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in China (Johnson) WASHINGTON, December 30, 1931-5 p. m. 473. Your 1136, December 28, 11 a. m." and previous in regard to capture of Miss Halverstadt.

1. Department notes from Foochow's telegram of December 29, 1 p. m.," that Miss Halverstadt has not been released and that the Methodist Mission believes that she is held at a place within an easy 2 hours' walk from launch connections. Department desires that you press this case with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stating, as under instruction from the Department, that the American Government is deeply concerned.

2. Department is of the opinion that it would be well for you to direct Peck 78 to call on the Minister for Foreign Affairs and inform him orally that the capture of Miss Halverstadt, following so closely upon the murder of Mr. Vinson, causes the American Government to entertain great anxiety with regard to the safety of American citizens in China, and that Peck might also address the Minister for Foreign Affairs orally but on behalf of the Department along the lines outlined in the Department's telegram No. 127, November 29, 2 p. m., to Nanking," paragraph 2.


393.1111 Halverstadt, Harriet/8: Telegram

The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

PEIPING, December 31, 1931-noon. [Received December 31-2:30 a. m.]

1160. Legation 1133, December 27, 11 a. m., and Foochow's December 29, 1 p. m.79 Following from American Consul General at Nanking:

"Not printed.

"Willys R. Peck, Counselor of Legation and Consul General at Nanking. Latter not printed.

"December 30, 4 p. m. I have orally informed the Foreign Office today of the above telegram and have strongly represented the gravity of the situation. The Foreign Office has received from Foochow a detailed report of measures taken for the release of Miss Halverstadt which will be copied to me. I have been promised that renewed instructions of an urgent character will be sent by the National Government to the Fukien authorities." 80



693.11246 Hoggard-Sigler/2

The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State No. 757

PEIPING, January 21, 1931. [Received February 25.]

SIR: I have the honor to refer to the Legation's despatch No. 644, of December 3, 1930,2 regarding the cases of the Nichols Superyarn and Carpets, Federal, Incorporated, U. S. A., and Messrs. Hoggard-Sigler, both of which were compelled to pay a further duty at Shanghai after payment of all regular dues at Tientsin, the original port of shipment.

The Legation has now received a communication dated December 29, 1930, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in reply to its representations requesting a refund of the dues unlawfully collected at Shanghai. A copy in translation of the Ministry's note is enclosed2 for the information of the Department..

Inasmuch as further correspondence with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding these cases would appear to be futile, it is requested that the Legation be instructed as to what further action, if any, the Department considers might be taken. So far as the Legation is aware, the action of the National Government is without legal basis and in contravention of treaty provisions regarding the collection of customs dues, and it is believed that the National Government is legally liable to refund the dues collected a second time at the port of Shanghai. It will be noted that the Ministry of Finance, to whom this matter was referred by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, makes no attempt to either justify or regularize the double collection of dues, but contents itself with stating that this action was taken in con

30 Miss Halverstadt's release was effected on January 3, 1932 (393.1111 Halverstadt, Harriet/25).

1 Continued from Foreign Relations, 1930, vol. II, pp. 274–294.

'Not printed.

587122-46—VOL. III- 69

formity with the orders of the National Government and that it applied equally to American, Chinese and other foreign merchants. Respectfully yours, NELSON TRUSLER JOHNSON


The Secretary of State to the Minister in China (Johnson)

No. 380

WASHINGTON, January 26, 1931. SIR: The Department has received the Legation's despatch No. 403 of August 15, 1930,3 with regard to reported attempts of the Chinese military authorities in northern Honan to extort forced loans from Chinese agents of an American company engaged in the sale of kerosene.

It would appear from the enclosures to the Legation's despatch that loans of the sort indicated were demanded only from Chinese agents engaged in selling kerosene; that the alleged security for the loan consisted of consumption tax stamps; and that the stamps thus given as security could not be used on untaxed merchandise then held in the warehouses of the Chinese agents. Moreover, the correspondence between the Legation and the Consulate General at Tientsin would indicate that both of these offices recognized the strong probability that forced loans of the sort under discussion were imposed in a manner discriminatory against agents of foreign concerns.

Although the Legation has taken the stand that no real basis exists for the formulation of a protest, the Department believes that it should be borne in mind that forced levies of this sort against the Chinese agents of American companies, whether or not imposed in a discriminatory manner, would, if they were to be indefinitely continued, undoubtedly prevent the carrying on of business relations entered into between the American company and its agents in the interior. This would appear to constitute a new limitation and impediment, freedom from which was guaranteed to citizens of the United States engaged in the purchase or sale of goods of import or export by Article XV of the treaty between the United States and China of 1844. Other treaty provisions which appear pertinent to the case under discussion are those contained in Article VIII of the Sino-American Treaty of 1844; Article XVII of the Sino-American Treaty of 1858; Article XIII of the Sino-British Treaty of 1858; and Article V of the Sino-Netherland Treaty of 1863."

'Not printed.

'Hunter Miller (ed.), Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America, vol. 4, p. 559.

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