893.00/10974: Telegram

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

575. Department’s 230, July 10, 2 p.m.

1. Following from mail despatch, July 11th, from American Consul General at Tientsin:

“The Consulate General has learned from a confidential but reliable source that an American named Shoemaker is understood to have participated [Page 24] in the airplane bombing operations of the National Government military forces in the present civil war, having attempted to damage the Yellow River Bridge on the Peiping-Hankow Railway near Chengchow. Shoemaker is stated to have admitted such participation in bombing operations to persons at Hankow some weeks ago. Shoemaker is an aviator. I am unable to say whether this is the same Shoemaker who is reported to have been interested in the sale of American airplanes to the National Government.

The Consulate General, bearing in mind R. S. Section 4090, believes that the information received should be communicated to the Legation for such investigation as it may deem fit to direct. It is believed that Shoemaker is at Hankow or in the Yangtze Valley.”

2. An American aviator, Bert Hall, is reported by the American Consul at Nanking to be engaged in the active military service of the Nanking Government and to have been engaged in battle flying on the Lung-Hai front. In connection with the activities of both Shoemaker and Hall, see Legation’s 402, June 4, 4 p.m.,21 and 406, June 5, 11 a.m.; also mail despatches 201, May 15; 208, May 16, and 211, May 17.22

3. The statute referred to by Gauss apparently authorizes the Minister to take steps to prevent American citizens in China from engaging in military activities “in the service of one portion of the people against any other portion of the same people.” Before making further investigations the Legation would be glad to receive the Department’s instructions as to what action it desires taken in the case of these and such other American citizens as may be engaged in the military service of either the Nanking Government or any of the factions now making war against that Government.

For the Minister:
  1. Telegram in two sections.
  2. Post, p. 125.
  3. Telegram No. 406 and despatches not printed.