394.115 Panay/10: Telegram

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

31. Following statement has been issued to the press:

“At 1:30 p.m. December 12, 1937, the radio of the U. S. S. Panay ceased operating in the midst of a message which was being received [Page 489] by the U. S. S. Luzon at Hankow. At that time the Panay was anchored 29 miles above Nanking. It is estimated that besides her crew the Panay carried four members of the Embassy staff and five other American men. It is also thought that one British and three Italian subjects were on board.

At 9:30 a.m. December 13 the American Ambassador at Hankow received a telephone message from Dr. Taylor, American missionary physician at Anking, Anhui, stating that he had received a telephone message from George Atcheson, Junior, senior American diplomatic officer on board the Panay, that the Panay had been bombed and sunk and that 54 of the persons on board had survived. Atcheson was then at Hohsien, Anhui, and presumably the other survivors were there also. Atcheson stated to Dr. Taylor that the ships of the Standard Vacuum Oil Company anchored near the Panay were sunk as well. It is thought that five of these vessels were there but it is not known whether all were lost. The report further stated that 15 of the survivors, including 1 Italian, were wounded some of them seriously. The British gunboat Bee is proceeding from Wuhu to Hohsien to bring the survivors to Wuhu and the U. S. S. Oahu now at Kiukiang is proceeding to Wuhu to bring them up river.”

Sent to the Department, Peiping, Shanghai, Canton, Manila, Hong Kong.