811.221/4–2547: Telegram

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

898. Major Rigg and Captain Collins arrived Nanking this afternoon and made their oral report to the Embassy which may be summarized as follows:

The circumstances of capture were approximately as previously reported. Immediately evacuated to Harbin over a period of 6 days during which time Captain Collins suffered from frozen feet. On arrival Harbin they were placed separately in solitary confinement under heavy guard in a domestic dwelling. This confinement was continued from March 6 to April 9. During this period they were frequently and separately interrogated by a “summary court”. This apparently constituted trial but neither officer was informed that it was trial. Li Li-san conducted in part Collins trial and General Wang25 the remainder and Major Rigg’s. Officers were initially informed they were prisoners-of-war, subsequently by inference from various statements they were apparently on trial as spies and accused of fighting with the Kuomintang. Trial consisted of typical catch questions aimed in different fashion at each officer. Both officers answered factually, and did not disclose classified information. Officers succeeded in some coordination by surreptitiously exchanging notes left in common toilet. Li Li-san conducted trial in acceptable manner. General Wang used rough tactics, employing verbal abuse, and on several occasions both officers were threatened with torture. Results trial were summarized from Communist point of view in statements [Page 1448] of interrogation which officers were required to sign. On April 9, solitary confinement ended and Li Li-san invited them to lunch and informed them that commitment made by General Chu Teh about their release would be honored; otherwise they had sufficient grounds to hold them. Thereafter, minimum liberty allowed both officers until movement to release point. This movement made by American built weapons carrier and release to ConGen Clubb accomplished without incident.

During whole period no contact was allowed Rigg or Collins with anyone other than guards except for one short shopping tour under ground [guard?].

Entire period of capture characterized by hostile attitude on part of guards who, on many occasions, threatened them with bayonets. They also received rough treatment from political commissars attached to military units with which they came in contact. On all occasions American foreign policy was focal point of attack. Food and medical care were adequate.

  1. Presumably Gen. Huang Yi-feng, former Communist representative on the Communications Group of Executive Headquarters at Peiping.