393.1123 Lincheng/16: Telegram

The Counselor of Legation at Peking (Bell) to the Secretary of State72

140. My 138, May 7, midnight.73 On behalf of the diplomatic corps, dean today made vigorous representations to the Prime Minister, Minister of Communications and Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs demanding that all possible steps should be taken immediately to secure the release of the foreign captives and the Chinese [Page 632]Government should pay the necessary ransom afterwards. Strong military action must be taken of course to put down brigandage in Shantung and an official inquiry must be held into the whole affair on which the diplomatic corps must be represented. Prime Minister agreed to everything, promised to pay ransom and to act as rapidly as possible. He volunteered the statement that it was intended to dismiss Civil and Military Governors of Shantung.

At a meeting of the diplomatic corps this afternoon it was resolved that the dean should further inform Chinese Government that the diplomatic corps reserved the right over and above any moral and material damages claimed to demand a progressive indemnity for every day after May 12th that the foreigners remain captive.

British Minister proposed that after the present matter is settled a demand should be made on the Chinese Government for adequate police protection of the Tientsin-Pukow line to be supplied by the railway itself and paid for out of its earnings and that to this end there should be appointed foreign traffic manager, chief accountant, and police officers.

Schurman [Bell]
  1. Although telegrams from Peking from May 7 to 17 bear the signature of the Minister, they were apparently sent by the Counselor of the Legation, as the Minister was absent from his post for that period.
  2. Not printed.