393.1111 Baker, Charles/14: Telegram

The Consul General at Hankow (Adams) to the Secretary of State

17. Oahu has received following message at Pailochi from Charles Baker: Consulted with [dated January 24:] [Page 468]

[“]American Consul General, through Rapid Company, Shanghai. Sirs: I have the honor to state that I am in the hands of Communists at Chowho, Hupeh. On January 16th while Y. R. lighter No. 2 was proceeding upriver she grounded at Low Point and while trying to get her off was seized by Communists where [when] I was forcibly taken on shore and have been living under the most deplorable conditions since. Yesterday, January 23rd, two men interviewed me stating they were agents of the Soviet Government and demanded a large indemnity for my release and stated if some indemnity was not forthcoming I would be beheaded. Of course the indemnity demanded, $10,000,000, is simply impossible but perhaps between the United States Consul General and the Rapid Company something in the way of a reasonable indemnity may be offered whereby I could be released from this awful position. While I am not exactly ill-treated conditions are such that I cannot stand it long, so gentlemen, if there is anything on earth you can possibly do for me please do it in the name of God. Very respectfully (signed) Charles Baker

In separate note Baker asks that if he is not released soon his deposit in the National City Bank at Shanghai, his salary and two pension checks at the Shanghai Consulate General be sent to Mrs. Charles Baker, 453 61st Street, Oakland, California.

The bandits’ preliminary demands are that 500 Communists held at Hankow and Shanghai be released and that money and a long list of merchandise of a total value of more than a million dollars be paid to them. They demand an answer within 30 hours. I am continuing to press Ho Chen-chun for effective action but at present the Hupeh authorities are exerting their best efforts to prevent Wuhan6 itself from being threatened by strong communist forces.

Legation and Nanking informed.

  1. Area comprising Wuchang, Hankow, and Hanyang.