893.00/7655: Telegram

The Chargé in China (Mayer) to the Secretary of State

414. My 413, September 17, 4 p.m. Following from American consul general at Hankow, which, although delayed in transit, contains information of interest for the Department:

“September 10, noon. Palos and Pigeon convoyed by destroyer Stewart for 7 miles above Hanyang, left Hankow this morning at 7 o’clock for up river accompanied by merchantmen Iling, American, and Changsha, British. At 7:30 in proceeding past Hanyang, now occupied by Southern forces, all vessels were fired upon by machinegun and rifle fire; Palos and Pigeon hit about 30 times each and destroyer hit many times. Palos returned fire with machine gun; and destroyer, after returning fire with rifles and machine guns for about 10 minutes, silenced the shore fire with a 4–inch shell. No casualties on naval vessels. No report on merchantmen. Destroyer Stewart in returning to Hankow was hailed by British merchantman Kiang Wo, which had on board injured officers and men from Wanhsien attack and they were transferred to the Stewart and brought to Hankow, since Kiang Wo did not wish to be subjected to shell and rifle fire while wounded were on board. Stewart was not fired upon in passing Hanyang on return trip. Palos and Pigeon proceeding upstream. Pigeon will proceed halfway to Ichang; and Palos will proceed to Chungking if possible to support Monocaoy.

Although but little gunfire heard at Wuchang last night, city is still in the hands of Northerners. Negotiation for its surrender still in progress.

Fighting yesterday afternoon between retreating Northern soldiers and pursuing Southerners near Hengtien. Two aeroplanes passed over Hankow flying northward this morning.

Good order still being maintained in the concessions, but scores of lower-class Honanese have been brutally murdered by Hupehese of similar class in native city within the last two days. This trouble is subsiding now.

Business almost at a complete standstill; practically all Chinese banks and big shops still closed. Money situation very serious, medium of exchange being confined principally to foreign banknotes, military notes being issued.

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River transportation demoralized, as practically all ships including big passenger carriers are being fired upon above and below Hankow. The situation of the foreigner is becoming increasingly difficult.

Admiral Williams29 will communicate to you details of Wanhsien incident.”

  1. Rear Admiral Clarence S. Williams, commander in chief, U. S. Asiatic Fleet.