The Minister in China (Schurman) to the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs (W. W. Yen)31

No. 192

Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Your Excellency’s note of March 23rd, 1922, in which I was requested to issue instructions to missionaries and merchants of the United States temporarily not to proceed to the regions on the borders of Szechuan, since bandits are intermittently active therein, the object of this measure being the avoidance of untoward incidents.

In reply I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that there are some fourteen American missionaries resident at Batang and about eight at Tachienlu. These missionaries are residing at these places in accordance with rights conferred by treaty. They have, moreover, in the prosecution of their missionary work, invested considerable sums of money in buildings and land. It is impossible for the Legation summarily to instruct them to abandon their work and the property of their missionary societies, and I must therefore insist that the authorities of the region assume full responsibility for the protection of the American lives and property involved. While I shall urge upon my nationals residing at Batang and Tachienlu the taking of all possible precautions under the circumstances, I am unable to admit that the simple assertion of the authorities that the borders of Szechuan are unsafe and their request that Americans be instructed not to proceed thither, in any way lessens the responsibility of the officials concerned to afford to American citizens the protection that is guaranteed by treaty.

I avail myself [etc.]

Jacob Gould Schurman
  1. Transmitted to the Department by the Minister in his despatch no. 764 of June 29, received Aug. 9.