893.00/7–2346: Telegram

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

1179. Following message repeated from Kunming July 22nd, 3 a.m.

Following receipt communication from General Ho71 that adequate protection would be provided persons in Consulate General and oral assurance from General Ho’s representative that persons at Consulate General could return their homes with full protection, Consulate General advised persons to leave which they [apparent omission] July 19, 9 p.m. Following day called on General Ho for final confirmation and was informed that he would provide protection only if persons were turned over to him direct. We informed him that persons had come freely and we did not wish to turn them over to him without their consent. After lengthy negotiation he finally agreed afford protection and provide guard if persons concentrated themselves in no more than three places. Otherwise he unwilling afford protection. Accordingly persons agreed to his plan and on July 21, 11:50 a.m., Consulate General in formal note gave names of persons and three places of residence, one of which Lienta University dormitory.

At about 3 O’clock July 21 ricksha puller of Mei Yi-chi, Lienta Chairman, was kidnapped and tortured by four plain-clothes men. He was interrogated re number of armed guards and guns on Lienta grounds. Have confirmed this report in talk with ricksha puller and have seen strangulation marks on his neck. Meanwhile Professor Chiang Tseng-chung, Democratic League member who had not formerly been at Consulate General, received threats yesterday that if he left his home he would be assassinated. By 8 o’clock General Ho had not yet provided guards at designated places which were, however, covered by Gestapo. Accordingly persons requested Consulate General to again afford them refuge. By 10 p.m. General Ho had still not provided guards and Consulate General agreed afford refuge.

Consulate General’s decision based not only on atmosphere of terrorism described above and uncooperative attitude of General Ho but also on receipt of reliable information from diverse sources consistently indicating complicity of General Ho in at least one or two previous assassinations.

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Editor of local newspaper reports that fellow provincial in San Min Chu I Youth Corps stated that Wen I-to assassination carried out by 6 members of 6th division of garrison command who received 6 million dollars; friend of League member whose brother General Ho’s Adjutant revealed that garrison command’s special service instructed assassinate League members, giving names those topping list (my telegram 6572); Librarian of Kunming Normal School approached by General Ho’s intelligence chief for information re movements and addresses of League members; engineer informed Wen I-to 2 days before his assassination in presence wife of Pan Kuang-tan that assassination planned by garrison command (probably 2nd temporary division).

Previous reports re arrival over 400 special service agents Kunming from Nanking confirmed. In addition American reported that he personally saw 6 special planes arrive at airport yesterday carrying about 300 special service [men].

Nonparty professor reports that he saw person in street who commented that handbills accusing Communists of assassinations were obviously Kmt propaganda immediately seized and carried off by Gestapo.

General Ho has stated to banker friends that Communists responsible for terrorism and numerous posters in town follow same line. In conversation with me General Ho also suggested possibility League members killing each other to embarrass him. At same time garrison command has arrested over ten ranking followers of Lung Yun73 including Yang Tsu-an, Lung Yun’s former aide de camp and Gestapo chief, on basis alleged report of culprit allegedly captured escaping from Li Kung-pu assassination, that Lung Yun’s followers had planned series of assassinations. These arrests create possibility of uprising in Chiaotung area, former Lung Yun stronghold. For past three days have heard occasional heavy gun fire outside city.

Foreign Office delegate, Wang Tchang-ki,74 stated in informal personal conversation with me last Tuesday that “Persons who at the present time criticize the Government must expect to pay with their lives”.

Prominent League member of undoubted integrity reports he yesterday learned from persons working in office of one of committee offices, responsible for assassinations (including three high provincial officials with “CC” connections and two who formerly Whampoa cadets), led by Tao Yung, provincial leader of San Min Chu I Youth Corps, that he had overheard conversations which led him to believe [Page 1401] that committee in a definitely established emergency meeting had considered raiding Consulate General on night of July 15 to complete slanted assassinations but that when objections raised by “more responsible” members of committee plan was rejected.

In view of above circumstances Consulate General now maintaining heavily armed guard of four persons furnished by [apparent garble] unit. Would not attempt to resist large-scale attack which feel most unlikely. Under present circumstances General Ho has reiterated that he will withhold protection from Consulate General if refugees remain. However do not feel it advisable to expose these persons (who have consistently supported American objectives in China) to ruthless terrorism prevailing in Kunming.

Confirmed with garrison command and local hospital that Captain Hsieh Cheng, garrison command special service officer, fatally stabbed outside city July 15 about 7 o’clock. Have subsequently learned that Captain Hsieh opposed Wen I-to murder and was “taken for a ride” by garrison command. Circumstances of death fully support this explanation.

Intricate relationships between various special service units difficult to unravel with certainty. However, would appear that there is liaison between units of General Ho and committee office and that special service units from Nanking are under committee office. As of 3 p.m. yesterday Tang [Tsung?] reported not arrived.

Responsibility for present terrorism would seem to be in Nanking. There are no signs of its abating. It not believed possible to settle this critical situation short of action from highest responsible Chinese authorities in Nanking.

Above is carefully considered report of situation up to this moment. Please instruct. McGeary.75

  1. General Ho Kwei-chang, Chinese garrison commander at Yunnan.
  2. See telegram No. 1155, July 17, 5 p.m., p. 1380.
  3. Former Governor of Yunnan.
  4. Also known as Wang Chang-chi.
  5. Stanley A. McGeary, Vice Consul at Kunming.