393.1163/5–848: Telegram

The Consul General at Peiping (Clubb) to the Secretary of State

206. ReContel 188, April 17.36 Following is English translation of Chinese language broadcast from North Shensi Hsin Hua (Communist) radio station May 7:

“Shansi-Chahar-Hopei dispatch” statement was made on 4th by spokesman of the Central Hopei Military Area Army Headquarters of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army with regard to request of Mr. Clubb, American Consul General at Peiping, who asked the local authorities at Sienhsien to assist return of 12 foreign Sisters of Catholic Mission of Society of Precious Blood at Sienhsien to their homeland. Statement said that it is customary policy of Liberation Army to protect religion of the people and their freedom in belief. Activities of all foreign missionaries will receive protection of democratic government if they obey the laws of policies of democratic government and do not participate in any work connected with American aid to bandit Chiang waging the civil war, or engage in other activities of intrigue in liberation areas. Security authorities at Sienhsien have discovered large scale international espionage activities going on in the Catholic Mission at Sienhsien, which is now receiving legal treatment. It was also found that aforementioned 12 Sisters are not in any way connected with those activities and they are now being protected in accordance with laws of the democratic government. Mr. Clubb, American Consul General at Peiping, requested that assistance be given them to leave Sienhsien and return to their country. Letters from Mr. Clubb to Sisters have been handed over to latter. Whether they wish to leave or not is entirely up to their own free decision.37

In connection with this incident, letters have been dropped by an unidentified plane from our air territories without first notifying or receiving permission from Liberation Area Democratic Government. This is an illegal violation of sovereign air rights of liberation area. In times of war, such acts might easily have unfavorable results. We hereby especially lodge protest and arouse attention of American authorities notifying them that if in future they should wish to conduct any negotiations with us they should first of all contact us by sending messenger to our authorities by land and should not resort to former method of dropping letters without first receiving our approval.

(Shansi-Chahar-Hopei-dispatch) At about 10 o’clock on morning of 3rd, 3 letters were dropped in vicinity of Catholic Mission at Sienhsien by unidentified plane, which flew into central Hopei liberation area. One of the letters was addressed to Sienhsien Government by Mr. Clubb, American Consul General at Peiping. Its contents said [Page 828] that Canadian Home Mission of Society of Precious Blood has ordered notification of 12 Sisters, being 5 Canadians, 5 Americans, and 2 British, of Catholic Mission of Society of Precious Blood, located 3 Chinese li northwest of Sienhsien, to return to their country. It was also hoped that local authorities at Sienhsien would assist in their withdrawal from that locality and facilities would be given them in their return home. If the authorities should consent to this, then a reply should be broadcast by North Shensi Hsin Hua broadcasting station and all assistance would be deeply appreciated. Another letter contains confirmation of orders of the Superior General of Society of Precious Blood at St. Hyacinthe in Canada instructing Sisters to return to their country by Bishop Chao Chenshang of Catholic Mission at Sienhsien. A third letter was from Consul General Clubb to Catholic Mission at Sienhsien. These letters were picked up by people of that locality and handed over to Sienhsien Government. The letter to the Sienhsien Catholic Mission from Mr. Clubb has been given to former by the democratic government.

In view circumstances this item was broadcast on regular Chinese language news program. Text of item in English translation is being supplied local foreign press correspondents at 1 p.m. today for sake accuracy in regard to report. It is also being confirmed to them that such message as described in radio broadcast was in fact communicated by this office. No further release to press regarding matter is contemplated at this time. Matter press release is being coordinated with Tientsin office. Shanghai please forward American Consul, Hong Kong, by airmail.

Sent Department 206; repeated Nanking 362, Shanghai 195, Tientsin.

  1. Not printed.
  2. The 12 Sisters arrived safely in Tientsin on June 17, accompanied by Vice Consuls Gordon Tullock and Howard L. Boorman who were sent to escort them from Sienhsien. Both Chinese Nationalist and Communist authorities cooperated in arranging this successful operation.