393.1111 M Nielsen, Niels/68: Telegram

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

796. Legation’s 751, September 17 [16], 6 p.m. In despatch dated October 6th American Consul General at Mukden reports that on September 19th he was informed by the Japanese Consulate General that Nielsen’s bandit captors had captured one Torihata, Japanese adviser to the “Manchukuo” police at Siuyen, who had gone to discuss terms with the bandits. Torihata’s companions were released and [Page 730] brought back demand for $15,000 ransom for Torihata and $60,000 for Nielsen, this latter figure being one-third of amount last demanded for his release. Japanese military are highly indignant at capture of Japanese negotiator and have stated that bandits must now be exterminated but final decision in the matter had not been reached at the time of latest reports received by Myers. Military add that they will not pay ransom and are unwilling that “Manchukuo” should do so but that if Danish Mission could raise amount demanded for Nielsen, situation would be quite different. American Consul General is asking that “Manchukuo” take action similar to that taken in the “Nanchang” case when “Manchukuo” recently paid part or all of allegedly large ransom to secure release of three British ship’s officers. Japanese Consulate General alleges such payment was only loan from “Manchukuo” but has promised to endeavor to secure favorable consideration of Myers’ request failing which only remaining effective step would be for Mission to give ransom demanded. Consulate has advised continuance negotiations with a view to securing reduction of the amount of ransom demanded. Danish missionaries in Manchuria are opposed to the payment of other than small ransom such as 10,000 “Manchukuo” dollars since they believe that if large ransom is paid it will make impossible missionary work in the interior by foreigners.

Mrs. Nielsen on October 1st reported that messengers were still being sent out to the bandits and that there were rumors that Nielsen will not be ransomed but that Japanese troops will attack bandits, troops having left Siuyen on September 30 and October 1st. Myers stated he will continue to urge the authorities concerned to negotiate with the bandits and to expedite such action in every way.

In reference to the Department’s 316, September 14, 2 p.m., the Legation and Myers agree that further reference of the case to Tokyo may have good effect. Copy of Mukden’s despatch of October 6 was forwarded direct to Embassy at Tokyo and I suggest that instructions be issued looking to action by authorities in “Manchukuo” similar to that taken to effect release of British “Nanchang” captives.