893.00 Nanking/2: Telegram

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

257. Following just received by Navy radio from Consul Davis, Nanking:

“0125. March 24th, about noon. After both British and Japanese consulates had been attacked and the consuls reported killed33 and after the known cold-blooded murder of one American missionary and attempted murder of many others, all by Nationalist soldiers, Chinese police informed me that we would be destroyed unless we could escape. [Page 149] Accordingly our party of 1 officer, 11 sailors, 9 civilians and 2 children escaped under constant fire across country to Standard Oil Company’s house on Standard Oil Hill just above city walls which are visible from river and where many Americans and British already were. Although repeatedly robbed and threatened by Nationalist soldiers, vice consul and Standard Oil Company manager managed to keep them out of house for 2 hours but finally they broke in and, seeing our numbers, retired and commenced firing upon us in ever increasing numbers. American and British naval vessels then dropped shells immediately around house and we escaped over wall. Consulate forced by Nationalist soldiers and reported by Chinese as thoroughly looted. Not ascertained whether safe forced and code lost. 1051”

2. Repeated to Hankow and Tokyo.

  1. The report that the British and Japanese consuls were killed was erroneous.