121.5493/4–1547: Telegram

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

812. Embassy has released following press statement today:

A Chinese Communist English-language radio broadcast on April 13 made the following statement concerning Major Robert Rigg and Captain John Collins, Assistant Military Attachés of the American Embassy:

“Major Rigg and Captain Collins, both of United States Army and Assistant Military Attachés of American Embassy in China, were caught alive while they were reconnoitering military positions of Manchurian United Democratic Army under cover of Kuomintang troops.”

The Embassy wishes to state that Major Rigg and Captain Collins were merely observing military activities in the country of their assignment in pursuance of the normal functions of military attachés and were acting independently in this capacity.

Major Rigg and Captain Collins were captured by a Chinese Communist patrol in the forenoon of March 1, 1947, while observing military conditions approximately 21 kilometers northeast of Changchun. Subsequently General Chu Teh, Commander-in-Chief of Chinese Communist Forces, and his Chief of Staff, General Yeh Chien-ying, gave categorical assurances on March 11 to the Chief of the American Liaison Group at Yenan, that orders had been issued to General Lin Piao, Commander-in-Chief of Chinese Communist forces in Manchuria, that Major Rigg and Captain Collins, then stated by General [Page 1446] Yeh Chien-ying to have been en route to Harbin, were to be released immediately upon their arrival there. At the same time channels of radio communication satisfactory to the Chinese Communist commanders were arranged in order to facilitate the return of Major Rigg and Captain Collins to Changchun.

The Embassy is awaiting further communication from the Chinese Communist authorities who have not yet complied with their commitment to release the two Assistant Military Attachés of this Embassy. End of release.

Sent Dept as 812, repeated Changchun as 41.