393.1123 Coveyou, Walter/37

The Consul General at Hankow (Lockhart) to the Minister in China (MacMurray)54

L. No. 854

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my despatch No. 828 of September 18 [13], 1929, and to previous correspondence, and also to the Legation’s instruction of September 19, 1929, on the above mentioned subject, and to enclose herewith a memorandum recently furnished me, at my request, by the Reverend Timothy McDermott,55 giving detailed information regarding the efforts put forth by the Chinese authorities to apprehend the persons guilty of the murder of the three missionaries. The Reverend Father McDermott’s memorandum explains itself. The information contained therein is at variance in some respects with information furnished me by the Chinese authorities in Hunan. It seems fairly well established that none of the five persons executed on account of this crime had any actual direct participation in it. While some of those executed may have been indirectly implicated or may have had prior knowledge, it seems clear from the Reverend McDermott’s statement that the bandits who actually committed the crime have not yet been apprehended. In this connection, I beg to enclose herewith a copy of a telegram addressed by me on September 19 to General Ho Chien at Changsha55 requesting specific information as to whether any persons suspected of committing the crime have been apprehended, and if so, whether they have been tried and found guilty and what punishment, if any, was meted out to them. It will be observed that I requested the names of such persons and any other details available showing efforts put forth by the Chinese authorities to bring to justice all persons guilty of the crime. A copy of General Ho Chien’s telegraphic reply of September 21, 1929, is enclosed herewith.55 The two brigands, Chu Chia-tsai and Chu Chang-nan, were undoubtedly executed as claimed, but no evidence has been adduced showing that they directly participated in the crime. The other three persons who were executed, namely, Lou Sen-lung, Mrs. Yun neé Nien, [Page 512] (keeper of the inn) and Hwang Tse-yun, commanding officer of a volunteer corps, were merely suspected of having some connection with the unfortunate affair. It appears that Chen Tse-ming and Mao Chiying who are also suspected of having had more direct connection with the crime than any others, are still at large. The main difference of opinion between the Chinese authorities and the missionaries resident in the area in which the crime was committed is whether the bandit leader, Chen Tse-ming, and Mao Chi-ying, are still alive. The missionaries interested in the case state that they are still at large and that until they are captured and punished it cannot be said that the crime has been atoned.

There is also enclosed herewith a letter (in Chinese text and English translation) addressed to me by the Commissioner of Foreign Affairs at Changsha under date of September 21, 1929,59 showing that one Chang Liu Lao Ko was arrested, tried, found guilty, and executed in connection with the above mentioned case. It will be observed in the Reverend Father McDermott’s memorandum enclosed herewith that Father Anthony Maloney of Chenki wrote under date of August 26, 1929, that “Chang Liu Lao Ko, a former officer of Chang Hsien Lo, executed here yesterday. Opinion around here though seem[s] to make him innocent of the murder of the priests which was the first item on his condemnation.”

I have instructed Consul Butrick who is now in Changsha engaged in closing the Consulate at that place, to call on General Ho Chien and urge him to renew efforts towards capturing the brigand chief, Chen Tse-ming, and also Mao Chi-ying. Until definite information is at hand showing that these two brigands have been apprehended, tried and adequately punished I do not consider that the case can be regarded as closed.

I have [etc.]

F. P. Lockhart
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Consul General in his despatch No. 1246, October 17; received November 23, 1929.
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