The Ambassador in Burma (Key) to the Secretary of State

No. 212

Subject: Desire of Dr. Seagrave to return to his hospital at Namkham.

There are enclosed, for the Department’s information, memoranda of informal conversations which I have had with the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the Foreign Minister1 regarding Dr. Seagrave’s desire to return to his hospital at Namkham and resume his life work there.2

Some weeks ago Dr. Seagrave made a formal application for permission to return to Namkham. This application was rejected on August 9 at which time he was informed that “The Union Government regrets that it is unable to permit Dr. Gordon S. Seagrave to return to Namkham, Northern Shan States at present.”

Subsequently on August 19 word was received that Dr. Grace Seagrave3 who had been left in charge of the hospital following the detention of Dr. Seagrave over a year ago died on August 17. This tragic development meant that there was no physician in charge of the hospital.

The Embassy was able to arrange for Dr. Seagrave, Reverend Gustaf A. Sword, Secretary of the American Baptist Mission, and Vice Consul Ballard R. Donnel, as well as Miss Rachel Seagrave, sister of Dr. Seagrave, to proceed to Namkham on August 22. A full report concerning their visit is attached.4 It will be noted that efforts are being made to have Dr. Albert Ai Lun, heretofore Civil Assistant Surgeon at Lashio, assigned to the hospital in order to assume temporary charge there. It is hoped that the necessary arrangements can be effected in the near future.

As a result of these developments, the return of Dr. Seagrave to Namkham has assumed a new urgency. For this reason, I felt it advisable informally to approach certain key officials of the Burmese Government with a view to seeing whether it might be possible to modify the decision of August 9 above mentioned. The enclosed memoranda of conversations set forth the points covered in my talks. It will be noted that the present prospects of obtaining permission for Dr. Seagrave to return to his hospital are favorable and it is hoped therefore that in the not distant future Dr. Seagrave will have resumed charge of the hospital.

[Page 294]

The Embassy will continue to keep the Department informed on future developments.

David McK. Key
  1. Sao Hkun Hkio.
  2. None of these memoranda is printed.
  3. Dr. Gordon Seagrave’s wife.
  4. Not printed.