893.00/3–147: Telegram

The Minister-Counselor of Embassy in China (Butterworth) to the Secretary of State

414. Blake reports from Taipei that firing died down at 6 p.m. February 28 with total deaths between 10 and 15 both mainlanders and Formosans. No American or foreign casualties known, mob violence being directed solely against mainlanders. Disorder has reportedly spread to Keelung7 and train service south of Taipei suspended. Secretary General office reported situation under control with martial law declared.

Blake reported March 1, a.m., that 11 mainland Chi[nese], including 8 women and children, entered Consulate for refuge without his permission during his temporary absence from premises previous evening. Refugees had previously telephoned for permission but answer deferred pending Blake’s return from urgent engagement. Permission to remain for night granted only after arrival of refugees, on basis possible imminent danger of mob violence in accordance section 3–4, Foreign Service regulations. Blake reported situation to Secretary General’s office and induced 7 of the refugees to return to their homes.

Under date March 1, 3 p.m., Blake reports police fired on crowd in front of neighboring railway administration headquarters, killing 2 to 4 Formosans. Fifteen new unidentified members mainland families presently taking refuge in Consulate. Blake telephoned Governor General8 twice to ask removal refugees from Consulate to [Page 428] place of safety. Later, 7 additional mainlanders climbed over Consulate wall and Formosans in street stoned Consulate once. Blake continues to urge Government to remove refugees.

Embassy is instructing Taipei to be strictly guided by Embassy’s mimeographed circular No. 25, August 7 for CC 6, which set forth American policy regarding according of temporary refuge or asylum.9 Blake informed that situation Taipei apparently involves large scale violence against masses of people which would not make feasible, even if desirable, discretionary sanctuary envisaged in Department’s policy, and that in view of this situation he should, in future, refuse such asylum. He is instructed to impress vigorously upon local authorities their responsibility for removal of any refugees presently in Consulate with suitable safeguards as a measure of protection to the Consulate in the situation that exists.

  1. Second largest city on Taiwan.
  2. Gen. Chen Yi, formerly Governor of Fukien Province, 1934–41.
  3. Circular No. 25, to American Consular Offices in China, “Policy regarding accordance of temporary refuge or asylum”, not printed.