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

No. 65

Sir: The Department has received your telegram No. 353 of October 30, 11 p.m.,57 and regrets to note that the Military Governor of Hupeh has permitted General Chang Ching Yao to leave Chinese territory despite orders of the Chinese Government for his arrest and trial on a charge of negligence resulting in the death of an American citizen at Yochow in the Province of Hunan.

The Department is impressed by this evidence of a seeming want of desire on the part of the Military Governor of Hupeh to make an example of General Chang Ching Yao who was guilty of gross negligence through his failure, while in command of the military forces occupying Yochow, to furnish proper guards for Americans resident at that place. This is not the first case of negligence on the part of [Page 813] General Chang Ching Yao which has been brought to the attention of the Department of State. The Legation will recall that in connection with General Chang’s operations in Hunan in 1918, foreign lives and property were much endangered at Pingkiang and at Liling58 because of his lack of control over his men and the Department therefore believes that the Chinese Government should have taken advantage of this opportunity to impress upon the Military officers in its service the necessity for conducting operations entrusted to them with due regard to the safety of non-combatants. The Department cannot escape a feeling of apprehension that this negligence on the part of the Chinese Government to deal strictly with so conspicuous an example as Chang Ching Yao will only serve to encourage other military leaders as irresponsible as himself in treating lightly their obligations to give all due and proper protection to the foreign lives and property in their charge.

The Department desires that you bring these views to the attention of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and that you urge upon the Chinese Government the necessity for holding General Chang and others guilty of similar offences to a strict accounting.

I am [etc.]

Bainbridge Colby