893.00/7618: Telegram

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

381. My 376, September 7, 3 p.m. The following two telegrams from American consul general at Hankow:

“September 6, 9 p.m. Wu Pei-fu left Hankow shortly after 7 tonight for kilometres 10 north of Hankow accompanied by several trains of loyal troops. He stated that he will attempt to return to Hankow when reenforcements from the North arrive. His ability to return seems doubtful however.”

“September 7, 10 a.m. In his retreat northward last night Wu was accompanied by 294 cars of troops, others were being loaded to follow, and large numbers retreated northward on foot. Some looting by soldiers on foot. Evacuation of Hankow by Wu and his soldiers before daylight this morning is understood to have been demanded by the Cantonese yesterday afternoon, and arrangements were hastily made. Many of Wu’s soldiers disarmed. Practically no machine-gun and rifle fire at Wuchang last night but intermittent artillery fire throughout the night. Wuchang apparently is still in the hands of the Northerners but it is inconceivable that these can hold it indefinitely. Hanyang Arsenal now completely in the hands of Southerners. Wu’s main difficulty seems to have been the disloyalty of some of his principal officers and his troops. His gunboats which were operating opposite the, concessions for several days and drawing the fire of the Cantonese have left for down river.

Generally believed that Cantonese will consolidate their position between here and Canton with a view to carrying the campaign northward.

Intense excitement in native city last night but no serious trouble reported.”