393.1123 Lincheng/48: Telegram

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

157. My 156, May 14, 3 p.m. Following text of note handed afternoon 14th by dean to Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs: [Page 638]

“With reference to my note the recent outrage on the Tientsin-Pukow Railway at Lincheng, I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that the diplomatic body has decided to insist that the Chinese Government should take immediate steps to reenforce the troops and police guarding the principal Government railways, especially the Tientsin-Pukow and the Peking-Hankow lines and the passenger trains running thereon, and to request Your Excellency to inform me at the earliest possible moment of the nature of the steps taken by the Government to this end.

Further, the diplomatic body with a view to the protection of their interests and to safeguard the lives and property of their nationals, have appointed a commission of foreign officers who will be entrusted with the duty of investigating the measures taken by the Chinese Government to protect the said Government railways from a recurrence of outrages similar to that which has occurred at Lincheng, and for that purpose require that the Chinese Government should undertake to arrange for the free transport of these officers on the railways and for all the necessary facilities for their comfort, etc., these details to be arranged by the Ministry of Communications in conjunction with the administration of the several railways.

I am desired by my colleagues to add that the diplomatic body reserve to themselves the right, on receiving the report of the commission of foreign officers aforesaid to demand in the name of their respective Governments any further increase in the number of troops and railway police or modifications in the measures taken to protect and patrol the railways as may be recommended by the said commission and appear to them to be desirable.”

Following also handed at same time by dean to Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs:

“The Mexican Minister has informed the diplomatic body that an official of the Foreign Office called on Mr. Kolessoff, the interpreter of the Mexican Legation, on the 12th instant and showed him the text of a message received from the Chinese consul general at San Francisco, United States of America, stating that the relatives of Mr. and Mrs. Manuel Ancira Verea are ready to pay any ransom demanded in order to obtain their release by the bandits near Lincheng. The same official observed that it would be difficult to deliver the ransom to the bandits as the Mexican Legation had no representative at Lincheng, and this would appear to indicate that the Foreign Office accepts the principle that the ransom may be paid by the relatives of the captives and is contrary to the attitude which the diplomatic body has adopted on this point. The Foreign Office should be aware that the Chinese Government is responsible for the payment of whatever ransom may be necessary and that they should accept no funds from private sources for this purpose.”

Schurman [Bell]