393.1123 Seymour, Walter F./7: Telegram

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

377. My 274, April 25, 7 p.m.

Under the Legation’s instructions Cunningham45 delivered the following note on May 15 to the Shanghai Bureau of Foreign Affairs for transmission to Hwang Fu46:

“On April 25th the American Legation was informed through the American consul at Tsingtau that Dr. Walter F. Seymour, an American citizen and head of the hospital of the American Presbyterian mission at Tsining, Shantung, had been shot and killed by soldiers on April 16th. The Legation is now in receipt of evidence with regard to the death of Dr. Seymour, substantiated by the statement of eyewitnesses and others having knowledge of the relevant facts. This evidence unmistakably shows that on April 16th several Nationalist soldiers under the general command of Marshal Feng Yu-hsiang seized Dr. Seymour on the street outside of the mission compound. He broke from their grasp, and entering the compound, [Page 287] barred the gate, whereupon the soldiers fired through the gate, one bullet passing through Dr. Seymour’s heart. The soldiers then opened the gate, robbed his body, and departed. Dr. Seymour died 10 minutes thereafter. On April 24th Generals Fang Chen-wu, Sun Liang-cheng, and Ho Yao-Tsu of the Nationalist forces called at the mission and expressed regret at the shooting of Dr. Seymour. Since then, however, insofar as the Legation is informed, no effort has been made to cause the arrest and punishment of the soldiers guilty of this murder. Awaiting confirmation of earlier reports I have not hitherto addressed you with regard to this brutal murder of an American citizen. I must however express surprise that I have as yet received from you no expression of regret or word that you have caused any investigation to be made with a view to the punishment of those guilty. In view of the foregoing I have to request that the murderers be arrested and executed and that the officers who not only failed to apprehend and punish the culprits but even gave encouragement to such inhuman and uncivilized acts by subsequently permitting the occupation and looting by their soldiers of the American mission buildings be at once arrested and severely punished. I must meanwhile make in behalf of my Government reservation of the right to present such further requests as it may deem necessary especially with regard to the payment of appropriate indemnities.”

It is suggested that the Department may deem it appropriate to make public the text of the above.
  1. Edwin S. Cunningham, consul general at Shanghai.
  2. Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Nationalist Government at Nanking.