893.00/4–2649: Telegram

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

874. E. Youde, Third Secretary of British Embassy, April 24 returned from his mission north of Yangtze on which he fruitlessly attempted to establish contact with Communist authorities and arrange withdrawal of British vessel Amethyst to either Nanking or Shanghai from her present position.4

He crossed river at Pukow April 21 and spent night there. Following day while walking toward battle line at Puchen suddenly found himself in middle of machine-gun battle. He waited until shooting ceased, and then surrendered to Communist troops. He explained to them purpose of his mission and was escorted back from lines, passing through successively higher echelons until he reached district commander and finally area commander. They listened to him, but persistently and pointedly regarded him as having capacity of only private British subject and lacking any diplomatic or official status. Area commander told him Communists would help extricate Amethyst only on condition she support Communist crossing of Yangtze. To this, of course, Youde replied in negative. Communists were much incensed by casualties British Navy had inflicted upon their troops.

Comment: This experience of Youde is first indication Communists intend to deny official status to diplomatic personnel as they have done to consular personnel.

Sent Department, repeated Shanghai 454, EmbOff Canton 312.

  1. H.M.S. Amethyst had been disabled by Chinese Communist gunfire.