493.11 Ekvall. Henry/111

The American Minister in China (Johnson) to the Chinese Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs (Wang Ching-wei)53

No. 660

Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Your Excellency’s note of October 2, 1933,54 informing me that Ma Jung-hua and the other culprits involved in the murder on June 25 [20?], 1932, at a point near Lanchow, of Mr. William Ekvall Simpson, an American citizen, had been transferred to the Kansu High Court for trial.

In this general regard, I would observe that nearly one year has [Page 533] elapsed since the Kansu Provincial Government, in a communication dated November 11, 1932, informed the American Consul General at Hankow that Ma Jung-hua, Fan Yung-te, and Ma Wei-ho (who had previously been designated by the Kansu Government as the chief culprits in the case) had been tried by court martial but had denied complicity in the murder of Mr. Simpson. The Kansu authorities added that further investigation would accordingly be made in an effort to obtain further evidence against the guilty parties, but later the authorities professed an inability to secure such evidence.

The American Consul General at Hankow thereupon made careful inquiries in the matter through the Reverend W. W. Simpson, who obtained exact and detailed information which clearly indicates that Ma Jung-hua and the band of which he was leader were responsible for the crime. On May 16, 1933, this detailed information was transmitted by the American Consul General both to the Pacification Commissioner for Shensi and Kansu and to the Chairman of the Kansu Provincial Government, and it is hoped that on the basis of the information thus supplied the Kansu authorities have made strict investigation and have obtained evidence which will enable them without further delay to determine the guilt and to punish to the fullest extent of the law those responsible for the brutal murder of Mr. Simpson and his travelling companion.

The American Government is particularly interested in the prosecution of this case, and, in view of the previous dilatory and inadequate efforts of the Kansu authorities to bring the guilty parties to justice, I deem it expedient earnestly to request that Your Excellency again communicate with the Kansu authorities urging that this long standing case be tried without further delay. In making this request, I am keenly mindful of the fact that the murder of Mr. Simpson was one of several heinous crimes which have during the past eighteen months been committed against American citizens in Shensi and Kansu Provinces, and toward which the responsible provincial authorities have shown a most inexcusable indifference unless persistently pressed by the higher Chinese authorities to take action. (The other crimes to which I refer are the Ekvall and Plymire55 cases, with which Your Excellency’s Ministry is familiar.) Unless those who have murdered and/or robbed American citizens and other foreigners in Kansu and Shensi are apprehended and punished, no foreigner will be safe in those areas, and the lawless elements there will be very definitely encouraged in the belief that foreigners may be murdered or robbed with impunity and with little likelihood that any serious punishment will be meted out to the guilty parties. I accordingly [Page 534] bespeak Your Excellency’s assistance in seeking to bring about, without further delay, the punishment of the murderers of Mr. Simpson.

I avail [etc.]

Nelson Trusler Johnson
  1. Copy transmitted to Department by the Minister in China in his despatch No. 2342, October 25; received November 20.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Rev. V. G. Plymire, an American missionary, victim of robbery in Kansu Province.