393.0015/10–1148: Telegram

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

292 [sic]. Herewith repeat of Tsingtao’s 292 to Embassy October 11, noon.

[“]USN destroyer Higbee departed Tsingtao 6 p.m., October 9 for Chefoo to evacuate foreigners. Arrived off Chefoo 6 a.m., October 10. Strong and 1 naval officer went ashore with 4 enlisted men without arms who established visual signal station for communication with destroyer. City in confusion, many officials having departed October 9 during what was understood to have been general panic probably resulting from arrival at least 7 ships for evacuation troops. All shops closed and boarded up. Mayor apparently has been instructed to be last to leave with his top subordinates. He has completely isolated himself from public. Police still functioning and with aid of soldiers are keeping best order possible and preventing violence. Harbor area packed with large numbers persons seeking water transportation. Sino Navy has 3 vessels Chefoo to take off officials, all students who wish to leave and any other civilians who can be accommodated. One ship to proceed Chinwangtao which Sino Navy intends hold, other 2 ships to Tsingtao. Vice Admiral Kwei,73 CinC Sino Navy, at Chefoo in cruiser Chungking to supervise this portion of evacuation. Commanding General, Chefoo, on October 9th to calm people placed printed proclamations about city stating he had received telegram from Nanking ordering him to remain Chefoo and defend city. Effect only temporary. Despite excitement of people, no evidence whatsoever at any time of anti-foreign feeling on part civilians or military.

Latter were uniformly courteous on all occasions. To avoid misunderstandings two small boats from USS Higbee came alongside dock only when loading passengers and cargo designated by Strong and naval officer from ashore. No incident of untoward nature during trip. Although Communists are actively attacking around Chefoo perimeter, no firing is audible within city. CAF on October 10 sent at least three flights of two fighters each which bombed and strafed Communists. These actions observed from Higbee.

Strong and naval officer personally interviewed every foreigner known to be at Chefoo. Only 10 of some 38 persons made decision evacuate. Of these 10, 4 were nuns of French hospital, 4 German civilians, 1 Greek and 1 Italian civilians. With prior consent ComNavWesPac, 4 Chinese nuns from French hospital were embarked on Higbee. Eight Chinese Catholic priests and 8 Chinese Catholic Mission girl students were with written consent Admiral Kwei placed aboard Chinese warship from Higbee’s boats. Very few civilian Chinese requested passage on US naval vessel. These were politely refused and simultaneously told of presence of Chinese vessel for evacuation Chinese civilians.

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Higbee departed Chefoo 6 p.m. October 10, arrived Tsingtao 8:30 a.m., October 11. All 14 evacuees transported to local Catholic Mission which assisting civilians contact friends and relief agencies. Signed Turner.”

  1. Vice Adm. Yung-ching Kwei, Commander in Chief of the Chinese Navy.