393.1121 Smit, Albert H./1: Telegram

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

106. 1. Following from American Consul, Nanking:

(Sent to Shanghai for the information of Minister.)

“February 4, 6 p.m. Albert H. Smit, an American citizen, of the Christian Reformed Church Mission, Jukao, Kiangsu, informs me that on January 28, while he was driving his automobile from Jukao to Tungchow, his car struck and knocked down a Chinese who subsequently died as the result of injuries received during the accident. [Page 508] Smit reports that at the time of the accident his car was traveling at the rate of 30 miles an hour on paved road. Four other Americans and one Chinese were in the car when the accident occurred.

Smit and car were taken into custody by the Tungchow police who questioned Smit and three other Americans and one of the Chinese [the one Chinese?] in the car. Following this Smit and his car were released, allowed to return to Jukao under a guarantee by Dr. G. L. Hagman, an American resident of Tungchow, that he would produce Smit and the car in Tungchow if and when the Chinese police so demanded.

Smit is indirectly informed that local Chinese plan to write Nanking for instructions.

I am telegraphing Smit advising him to proceed immediately to Shanghai and report the matter to the District Attorney. I respectfully suggest that the Legation request the District Attorney promptly to institute proceedings against Smit. My reason for this recommendation is to forestall any complications that may arise through possible attempt by the Chinese to take jurisdiction over Smit.

I have not received any communication from the Chinese in the matter.”

2. I have sent the following to American Consul General at Shanghai:

“February 5, noon. Nanking’s February 4, 6 p.m., 4th paragraph. Should Minister Johnson not have acted, please consult the District Attorney informally and report by telegraph.”

For the Minister:
  1. Telegram in two sections.