793.94/9859: Telegram

The Counselor of Embassy in China ( Lockhart ) to the Secretary of State

504. Embassy’s 502, September 2, 3 [2] p.m.98

1.
Secretaries of the British and French Embassies called on the Mayor and the Japanese military authorities yesterday and obtained assurances that a sufficient number of Chinese police would be armed to attempt to effect the rescue of the Europeans kidnapped August 30 (Embassy’s 499, August 31, 6 p.m.) and that Japanese military forces would take no action against the kidnappers until after the rescue. Brothers of the seminary concerned are reported as saying that the leader of the band, numbering about 100, was a Northern University man, that a number of students of other universities of Peiping were members of it, that they have asked for no ransom but stated that they would release the foreigners after the Japanese military have evacuated North China. The number of foreigners kidnapped from the seminary is now said to be 10, including 2 Spaniards but no Italians.99
2.
Heavy artillery firing was audible in Peiping yesterday afternoon reportedly being Japanese action against a group of irregulars near Mentoukou.
3.
The local press published yesterday an order of the Japanese military announcing severe punishment for spies, those who oppose the Japanese Army or incite sedition and those who injure the security of the Japanese Army. The press adds that the Japanese military have indicated that offenders who are nationals of third countries will be dealt with on the basis of international law and treaties.
4.
Occasional arrests of wealthy Chinese by the local authorities apparently not for political purposes continue to be reported. Examinations and search of Chinese leaving Peiping for Tientsin have become more stringent during the last few days. Numbers of Chinese who have lost their jobs as a result of stagnant business during the past few weeks are leaving for their native homes. The press indicates that the Japanese authorities are attempting to curb dishonest treatment of Chinese shopkeepers by Japanese soldiers.

Repeated to Nanking.

Lockhart
  1. Not printed.
  2. Seven Catholic priests were released by their captors in the next 2 weeks. Three other captives returned to Peiping on October 17.