393.1123 Seymour, Walter F./23

The American Minister in China (MacMurray) to the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs (C. T. Wang)80

No. 719

Excellency: With reference to my note No. 687 of October 31, 1928, and to your reply of November 27, 1928,81 regarding the murder of Dr. Walter F. Seymour, an American citizen, on April 16, 1928, at Tsining, Shantung, by soldiers of the Nationalist Government, I have the honor to recall to Your Excellency the course which this case has followed.

Under date of May 10th, the Legation caused to be brought to the attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs notice of the murder of this American citizen,82 with the request that the guilty person be arrested and punished; and the right was reserved to submit at a later date a claim for appropriate indemnity. On July 16th, and again on August 4th, further communications were addressed to Your Excellency on the subject. Under date of August 8th, a reply was received stating that an investigation was being made and that the results of this investigation would be communicated to me. Another note was addressed to Your Excellency with regard to this matter on October 31st; and a reply from you, dated November 27th, made the following statement in regard to an investigation conducted in behalf of the Nationalist Government by its Military Commander in Shantung, General Sun Liang-ch’ang:

“After my army had attacked and captured all parts of Tsining, I heard that there was an American, Dr. Walter F. Seymour, who had been injured, and I immediately sent an officer to the said hospital to make an investigation. According to the statement of the hospital, at the time that the Nationalist Army was attacking the southern gate Dr. Seymour went outside of the gate to look around, then returned within the hospital. At that time there were disorderly soldiers outside the gate running about firing in all directions. Dr. Seymour, who was standing within the gate, was struck by a bullet and killed. At that time the enemy was retreating and conditions were chaotic. I am afraid that Dr. Seymour was killed by a stray bullet.”

[Page 873]

I am instructed by my Government to state that the result of this investigation into Dr. Seymour’s death, as given in Your Excellency’s note of November 27th last, is not acceptable to it. The testimony of eye witnesses given to Chinese officers in high command, including General Sun himself, and other evidence points conclusively to the commission of a wanton murder. My Government would be reluctant to believe that the National Government is indifferent or that its responsible officials are unable to apprehend the criminals and administer justice. Nevertheless it must come to one of these conclusions unless there is afforded, without further delay, satisfactory evidence that the Nationalist Government does not condone the offense and is willing and able to take proper action in the premises.

I avail myself [etc.]

J. V. A. MacMurray
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Minister in China in his despatch No. 90, March 17, 1930; received April 23, 1930.
  2. See telegram No. 858, December 5, 1928, from the Minister in China, Foreign Relations, 1928, vol. ii, p. 290.
  3. Apparently note delivered May 15, 1928, by the Consul General at Shanghai to the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs; see telegram No. 377, May 21, 1928, from the Minister in China, ibid., p. 286.