393.11/500: Telegram

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

264. My 255, March 25, 7 p.m.

Following is résumé of the latest naval reports regarding Nanking: Entire Socony foreign staff safe. Only one known American dead, Mr. Williams of Nanking University. Japanese landed 50 men covered by 3 destroyers and apparently occupied Japanese hulk. Eighty-seven women, fifty-two children and men, American refugees, sailed from Nanking for Shanghai morning of 25th. Preston, escorting, fired upon from Nanking while returning there and from forts above and below Chinkiang where fire returned with 4-inch battery; no casualties reported.
As the result of strong stand taken by naval authorities on 25th, foreigners began to come out of city that afternoon; Japan to complete evacuation that night, British consul general and missing marines were starting to come off to the Emerald. It was considered fair possibility that the 120 Americans who took refuge in Nanking University would be evacuated to ships that night. In view of this, naval authorities were postponing consideration of further action until the 26th. At 6:35 it appeared the American refugees referred to above who had been prisoners in Nanking University since the morning of the 24th, had begun to withdraw to wharves, not under military escort but thus far unmolested. Among this group was a Miss Moffatt who was wantonly shot twice through the body by Nationalist soldiers. American consul was aboard Isabel.
So far as was known at 6 o’clock on 25th all American homes and missions at Nanking had been looted. Theological Seminary, Hill, Cressy School and residences of Mr. Hutchinson and Mrs. S. J. Mills [Page 150] known to be burned and probably majority of the American residences burned. All official and personal property in American consulate looted or wantonly destroyed by Nationalist soldiers in uniform. Many Americans, including women, were treated with the greatest brutality by soldiers [in?] Nationalist uniform who tore off their clothing and otherwise maltreated them. Practically all outrages were committed by soldiers in Nationalist uniform. One instance was reported of pistolling of French priest by Cantonese officer.
I have instructed American consul general at Shanghai to ascertain and telegraph directly to the Department names of American refugees from Nanking referred to in paragraph 1. I shall instruct Consul Davis tomorrow to take like action regarding Americans evacuated to the ships at Nanking.