393.1111—Lundeen, Anton: Telegram

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

436. My 420, September [October] 17, 4 p.m. and 434, November 1, 10 [11] a.m.33 October 26th and 27th talked several hours with American wife of missionary Forsberg,34 former resident of the United States, captured with Lundeen, his fellow worker. I also read letters of two missionaries to their wives up to September 18th. Following facts established:

Captors not ordinary robbers as they took no money and little of other property though money was in sight. Believed to be former soldiers probably of late Honan Tuchun Chosti [Chao Ti?,] their object being to make trouble for Wu Pei-fu. They demand as condition of releasing missionaries, recognition of their band as unit of National Army.

Missionaries report area traveled overrun by robbers and villages deserted. Captors treat them as well as conditions permit, deliver to them food regularly sent by wives who will also send warm clothes. Missionaries also preach gospel to captors and appreciate opportunity.

Wives apprehensive of prolonged captivity and in case of fighting exposure at the front.

Had full and frank conference on the subject with General Wu October 28th and Christian General Feng 29th. They confirm Mrs. Forsberg’s diagnosis situation. Both were hopeful early release. Unfortunately Presidential mandate 31st appointed Feng Inspector General Army with command of metropolitan forces. His successor, General Chang Fu-lai, not Christian. However, General Wu retains supreme command in Honan, capture took place only 60 miles from his headquarters and he is sincerely interested in release.

Wu told me he expected release through negotiations and in a short time. Peking Government had, contrary to his views, consented to incorporating captors as a unit in National Army. He had finally acquiesced provided that they were sent out of Honan. Feng also predicted release shortly through influence of leaders he had captured.

I have no doubt both generals are perfectly sincere, but I am not sure of their power to accomplish speedy release. Wu September 18th promised French officer, so French Minister told me yesterday, that in one month the two French engineers on Lung-Hai Railway captured August 15th would be released but they are still held. [Page 866]Furthermore, British missionary in Honan carried off October 30th. Seizure of foreigners by brigands or insurgents as pawns in the contests of rival political and military groups is a new development in China and it is impossible to foresee to what lengths the insurgents may go. However, it is to the interest of the captors to keep the missionaries alive. I will watch closely. Possibly Feng’s coming to Peking may be helpful.

Schurman
  1. Latter not printed
  2. The Rev. C. O. Forsberg, a Swedish missionary.