393.1123 Coveyou, Walter/29

The Consul General at Hankow (Lockhart) to the Chinese Commissioner of Foreign Affairs for Hunan (Kung Tehpeh)46

Sir: I have the honor to refer to your letter of June 3, 1929,47 in which you state that Chen Tsu-ming, the leader of the bandit gang that murdered the three American missionaries in western Hunan a few weeks ago, had been killed, and to state that I am now in receipt of first hand information from Shenchow stating that Chen Tsuming has not been executed nor has he been apprehended. Reliable evidence is at hand indicating that he was at large as late as July 9 at Tswei Nieh Yuan, a place about 40 li distant from Hwai Hwa. The Magistrate’s statement that Chen Tsu-ming had been apprehended and executed is erroneous, according to my informant at Hwa Chiao.

It also appears that the two bandits said to have been executed for the crime were members of the Hwa Chiao Home Guards and were not implicated in the murder. A letter has been received from a person who was sent to Hwa Chiao immediately after the murder of the three missionaries, and this investigator states definitely that the bandits have not been apprehended. In view of the information in my possession at this time I am compelled to come to the following conclusions, namely:

The bandit leader has not been executed.
None of the bandits who killed the three missionaries have been executed.
The location of the bandit leader on July 9, 1929, must have been known to the local officials.
General Tsen Yu-mo of Fenghwang captured a man in possession of articles of the murdered men, but refused to punish him.
The Yuanchow Magistrate who reported the death of the bandit leader cannot give proof of the execution. [Page 508] I beg to request that this case be given your further attention and that all members of the gang implicated in the heinous crime be immediately brought to justice.

Accept [etc.]

F. P. Lockhart
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Consul General in his despatch No. 1174, July 19; received August 19, 1929.
  2. Not transmitted to the Department of State.