893.00 Nanking/234: Telegram

The Consul General at Shanghai (Cunningham) to the Secretary of State

Following telegram has been received from the Minister:

“March 12, 8 p.m. Your telegram of March 9, 5 p.m.

I am deeply disappointed that although, in our conversation in Shanghai, Huang gave assurances of his intention to offer terms wholeheartedly making atonement for the wrongs done at Nanking to the American Government and its citizens (in substitution for the inadequate and [niggling] proposals hitherto made in behalf of the Nationalist Government), what he now proposes not only is actually less satisfactory [in substance] than previous proposals, but demonstrates even less disposition to make honorable amends. The [particularity] with which the expressions of regret are limited to [the] material damages and personal injuries inflicted seems conspicuously to imply an unwillingness to acknowledge or to reprobate the [fundamental] fact that acts of hostility were committed against the [flag and against the] person of the official representative of the United States and against its citizens. But an even more vital objection to the present relations [proposal] is its [unwarranted] assertion of a grievance against the American Government for the action taken by its war vessels under stress of dire necessity to save our consul and others from imminent massacre. The making of a claim so base [less] and so preposterous under the known circumstances cannot but impugn the good faith with which the present propositions [proposals] are submitted.
You will please express to Huang (preferably in conversation with him, but if necessary through Wood7) my disappointment that he has submitted a proposal which I cannot be expected even to discuss, in a form that embodies the wholly unwarranted attempt to charge us with a share of the blame for the outrages at Nanking, in such terms as would make it appear that we had more to regret and be ashamed of than the Nationalist regime [whose forces] committed the outrages.
I should appreciate any light you may be able to throw upon Huang’s volte-face and his apparently deliberate insistence upon a [Page 327] point which he well knew we could not consider. Has he, in the fear [face] of factional opposition, found himself unable to carry out iris own policy of conciliation in this matter [and] therefore tried to [save face] by bringing the discussion to a close with a gesture of defiance?
Please repeat to Department and to the Legation.


  1. G. Zay Wood, who represented Huang Fu in conversations.