The American Minister in China (Johnson) to the Chinese Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs (Wang)36

No. 925

Excellency: I have the honor to refer to Your Excellency’s note of March 19, 1935,37 concerning the death at Hankow in July, 1933, of one Chao Ch’ing-yün and the allegation of the Hankow Municipal Government that members of the crew of the U. S. S. Guam were implicated in the case.

The above-mentioned note was forwarded by the Legation to the Department of State for its consideration and instructions. The Department has now informed the Legation that it has carefully reexamined the record of the case and is impelled to reiterate the conclusion of the American naval authorities to the effect that there is no credible basis for the charges against the American sailors.

As Your Excellency was informed in the Legation’s note of October 26, 1934, this matter has been given the most serious attention by the various American authorities concerned and every effort has been made to ascertain the true facts of the case. The record shows that the American naval authorities took prompt action and conducted an exhaustive investigation, and that the American Consulate General at Hankow left no stone unturned to ensure that justice would be done. However, after a careful examination of the findings of the Navy Department and the American Consulate General at Hankow, as well as the reports of the Chinese officials, the Legation is of the opinion that the evidence submitted fails to establish the responsibility of any members of the crew of the U. S. S. Guam for the death of Chao Ch’ingyün. In this connection the Legation desires to emphasize the fact that the statement of all three physicians (American, German and Chinese) would appear definitely to preclude that the corpse found on the jetty on July 13, 1933, was that of the person who was allegedly pushed into the water on the evening of July 11, 1933.

I avail myself [etc.]

Nelson Trusler Johnson

[In his despatch No. 24, October 11, 1935, the Ambassador in China reported that “a complete deadlock exists in the views of the Department of State and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs” in this case (393.9313/23). Upon reviewing the entire matter, the Department on March 8, 1937, concluded that since “no substantial evidence has [Page 711] been produced showing involvement therein of American Government personnel this Government could admit of no liability whatsoever.” (393.9313/28).]

  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Minister in China in his despatch No. 3684, July 11; received August 10.
  2. Not printed.