393.1111 M Nielsen, Niels/6: Telegram

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

125. Your 346, April 20, 3 p.m., and previous. Danish Minister called at Department yesterday and stated that because of Nielsen’s Danish birth and the Mission involved being Danish Lutheran, there [Page 720] is in Denmark great interest in this case. He said that there was talk of raising money for ransom and his Government wished information and suggestions.

Hornbeck gave the Minister information on the basis of the incoming telegrams, indicating that certain features should be regarded as confidential, and gave an account of the official attitude and the methods which are usually employed in dealing with such a case. He advised against manifestation of any interest at this stage in the question of raising and offering funds for ransom. He suggested minimum of publicity, pointing out that publicity, if it becomes known to the captors, adds to the difficulty of effecting release of captives. The Minister produced various newspaper clippings which show that most of the information received by the Department prior to your telegram under reference is matter of public knowledge. Hornbeck pointed out that information which the press gathers from its own sources is less impressive with the public, including bandits, than is information if and when given out by governments. The Minister pledged discretion. Hornbeck suggested that best point of official contact would be between Danish and American Ministers in Peiping.

Department notes with gratification contents of your telegram under reference.