393.1111 Nelson, Bert N./66: Telegram

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

115. [From Perkins.11] Legation’s 91, February 27, 5 p.m.12 Following from American Consul General at Hankow on which Legation is taking no action since telegram was repeated direct to the Minister at Nanking:

“March 9, 3 p.m. Letter dated March 2 received today from Dr. Skinsnes at Sinyangchow states that he has received letters dated February 22 from Nelson and Tvedt. Nelson’s letter reads as follows:

‘We have just been bound and whipped and told to make haste with the ransom money or there would be worse things to follow.’

Tvedt’s letter is of same tenor stating that beating was done with bamboo poles. The old man who brought the letters to Dr. Skinsnes said that the ransom office was located at Liuchiachy13 15 li east of Chiliping and that the prisoners are at Kenchiatawu which is 12 li east of Liuchiachy. The messenger stated that the prisoners looked fair but have been beaten some.

I have informed General Ho Chen-chun of the above. Considerable publicity is being given to this case at Hankow by Central China Post)14 Case has been made the subject of representations to local authorities by this office in writing and by personal calls on more than 22 different occasions and in many other ways efforts have been made to effect release. I am convinced that the only method of effecting the release is through the payment of ransom money as demanded and that this must be done quickly. A personal appeal to Chiang Kai-shek at Nanking might stimulate the Chinese military authorities to action or an emphatic protest lodged by the Department of State with Minister Wu at Washington might arouse the Chinese authorities to a serious effort to release the two captives.

Repeated to Nanking.”

For the Minister:
  1. Mahlon F. Perkins, Counselor of Legation.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Lichiatsai.
  4. British newspaper.