393.1123 Lincheng/46: Telegram

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

156. Two following telegrams from Davis and Philoon at Lincheng. First reads as follows:

“May 13, noon. Bandits’ present conditions are raising Paotzeku77 siege and the taking all bandits into Chinese Army. Bandits claim to number 8,000 between here and the sea. Military Governor verbally [Page 637]has agreed to both conditions. Leaving the details Military Governor. He states that siege raised last night. Anderson78 and Chinese officials have again gone in endeavor to further negotiations. Prospects of an early settlement are good, although bandits getting short of food, ammunition. Request inform the French Minister, Italian Minister.”

Second reads as follows:

“May 14, 11 a.m. Anderson party returned last night report lack of definite agreement on details among chiefs who hold meeting today and promise send in report tomorrow. General terms already reported still acceptable to both sides.”

Chinese Foreign Office state they expect negotiations will soon be completed for prisoners’ release.

At meeting of the diplomatic body today it was decided that the dean should remind Foreign Office that the requested indemnity had been running since May 12, 12 p.m., see my telegram 140, May 8, 5 p.m. It has not yet been definitely settled whether this progressive indemnity shall be in cash or in the nature of “sanctions”, that is, undertakings for proper policing and control of railways in the future.

Diplomatic body also unanimously resolved that the dean should address a note to the Foreign Office stating that the foreign powers expect the Chinese Government to take all proper steps in policing railway lines and guarding trains and that diplomatic body will appoint a commission to travel on trains at the Chinese Government’s expense to see that proper steps to these ends are being taken, failing which diplomatic body reserves the right to take any further action necessary. I shall telegraph text of the note when drafted.

A suggestion by the French Minister that foreign countries should place armed guards of foreign vessels on trains was negatived on the ground that, should they be attacked and killed, it might involve us in war with China, to which we could not commit our Governments at this stage.

Schurman [Bell]
  1. A bandit stronghold which had been besieged by provincial troops for several months.
  2. Roy S. Anderson, an American citizen who played a prominent part to securing the release of the captives.