893.801 Search/7: Telegram

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

165. Following from Post [Consul General?] at Hankow:

“February 27, noon. Standard Oil Company vessels proceeding from Changsha to Chenglingki and points [north] are held up and searched by armed soldiers at Chenglingki to enforce regulations forbidding the exportation of rice from Hunan. No previous notice communicated to this office of proposal to search and a few days ago I addressed a letter to General Ho Chien at Changsha inquiring as to the character of the regulations and the method of enforcement. I have had no reply thus far. In the meantime warning shots are being fired across the bow of Standard Oil Company vessels approaching Chenglingki from the south causing them to stop and submit to search. Hunan authorities have issued orders exempting the vessels from search but military authorities at Chenglingki do not recognize such exemption.

Please advise whether you wish me to protest these regulations, or to take steps through naval authorities to prevent either armed or unarmed soldiers from boarding the vessels for the purpose of conducting searches.”

“March 1, noon. U.S.S. Oahu left yesterday for Chenglingki under orders of Admiral Craven to investigate matter referred to in my February 27, noon, and to stop interference with American vessels.”

For the Minister: