393.1123 Coltman, Charles/12

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs, Department of State (MacMurray)

The Chinese Chargé, Mr. Yung Kwai, called this afternoon, and told me that he had received from his Government a telegram instructing him to explain to the Department that the Chinese Government was carefully investigating the facts in regard to the murder of Mr. Coltman. He asked if we had any information that we might give him concerning the case. I told him that I was glad of the opportunity to explain to him what had happened, and to convey to him some sense of the extreme seriousness with which this Government regarded the matter. I then read him, practically complete, the telegrams we have received from Peking in the matter [Page 717] (No. 492, December 13; No. 495, December 15; No. 502, December 22; No. 2, January 2; and No. 4, January 3.)

Upon my emphasizing to him the fact that the Chinese Government did not appear to be conscious of the gravity of the issues involved, he volunteered to send “a strong cable” to the Chinese Foreign Office. … I said that … I had no objection to letting him know the attitude that this Government had taken as illustrated in its telegrams (No. 294, December 20, and No. 297, December 23). I thereupon read him the substance of these telegrams, omitting the confidential paragraph, in No. 294, and the reference to the remission of the Boxer Indemnity, in No. 297. He said that that would give him an indication of this Government’s views; and I emphasized the fact that the reading of this correspondence would have made evident to him that Dr. Schurman was not acting independently, but on the basis of very precise instructions from his home Government, which had fully approved his action in the matter and was prepared to back him to the utmost of its ability. He said he fully realized this and would cable his Government in that sense.