393.1123 Coltman, Charles/3: Telegram

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

294. Your 495 December 15, 2 P.M.

Department much perturbed by this further evidence of increasing disregard by Chinese authorities for the rights of American citizens in China and feels that this atrocious act demands that definite steps be promptly taken to atone so far as may be possible for the loss of the life of this American citizen and for the affront to this Government.

[Paraphrase.] Your suggestions regarding amends concurred in except that Department believes removal of the Military Governor should be demanded instead of apologies, if you are reasonably certain of its being accomplished. However the Department is of the opinion that it would be unwise to make demands likely to prove impossible of execution. Therefore the Department leaves to [Page 713] your discretion question whether removal should be requested. [End paraphrase.]

Advise earning capacity of Coltman at the time of death, number of dependents and their probable financial condition. The fact that Coltman was transporting funds for Chinese banks suggests advisability of issuance of instructions by Legation to consular officers with a view to preventing possible abuse in future of American privileges. Before employment of good offices in such cases consuls should make most careful investigation.