393.1123 Hobart, Mrs./21

The Consul at Tsinan (Price) to the Minister in China (MacMurray)10

L. No. 13

Sir: Confirming my telegram of 9 A.M. today, sent over Japanese military wireless, I have the honor to enclose a copy of the diary written by Mr. Wellington, a British missionary at Taian, Shantung,11 which forms the basis of the report concerning the death of Mrs. W. T. Hobart.12 This Consulate has had no word whatsoever from Taian or any place in southern Shantung within Nationalist occupied territory since April 27th.

The Legation will recall that, on learning of the murder of Dr. Seymour at Tsining, this Consulate not only sent out further urgent advice to Americans in the Consular District to leave for Tsingtao or Tientsin, but likewise sent a special automobile to Taian, on April 26th, to enable Americans there to leave. Mr. and Mrs. [Thomas L.] Blalock and Miss [Kathryn] Felt accepted the invitation, but Dr. and Mrs. Hobart and the Misses Lillian Greer, Elsie L. Knapp, Frances S. Meader, and Ellen M. Studley, of the Methodist Mission, and the Misses Ava P. Anglin and Grace E. Nicholson, of the Assemblies of God Mission, declined to leave.

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The Legation is asked to note that the diary makes mention of this Consulate’s urgent appeal to Americans to leave Taian.

I do not understand how the diary and the letter received by the British Consul came through, as apparently they did, by mail, as this Consulate has received nothing, and the postoffice here has been closed since May 3rd, only just being opened for mails eastward to Tsingtao, solely.

I am, therefore, despatching a special messenger with letters addressed both to Dr. Hobart and to the Commanding Officer of the Nationalist Armies in Taian, the latter to request an immediate investigation into the facts to determine responsibility for the death of Mrs. Hobart, if found to be true. I shall report at once upon the return of the messenger, which may not be for some days, in view of conditions now existing.

I am greatly distressed over this report, following so closely upon the murder of Dr. Seymour, but I feel that the Consulate had done everything possible not only to persuade all Americans to leave, but, in the case of the Americans at Taian, to assist them to leave.

I have [etc.]

Ernest B. Price
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the consul in his despatch D. No. 12, May 11; received June 19.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Wife of Dr. William T. Hobart, of the American Methodist Episcopal Mission, North.