293.1111/12–353: Telegram

No. 156
The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Aldrich) to the Department of State


2415. Reference Department’s CA-1311, September 9.1 Foreign Office has received following from British mission Peiping, bearing on Department’s desire for follow-up regarding British letter number 159, July 9, 1953, concerning United States Catholic missionaries under arrest Shanghai. Trevelyan, for many weeks, has been attempting obtain personal interview with Chinese Communist Vice Minister, Foreign Affairs or Director of Western Europe and African department, in order discuss all detainees and general question of status British firms. Efforts unsuccessful to date.

During recent visit to Shanghai, from which he returned to Peiping November 26, Trevelyan went in to question United States missionaries prior making decision as to form of further representations. His report, dated November 28, in substance as follows:

There is little chance of missionaries being released near future.
Trevelyan reluctant make strong representations regarding United States missionaries alone, without mentioning British Commonwealth and other American citizens under detention, about whom there is no information available.
Trevelyan suggests, if no objection, he now send further note in strong terms protesting that no replies received to previous requests [Page 339] for information and referring specifically fact further arrest of American Catholic missionaries made Shanghai June 1953, for which there is no apparent justification. The new note, if sent, would refer to British note number 83, of April 21, 1953 (see Embassy 6186, June 25).2

Foreign Office has not acted on message, but probably will raise no objection to Trevelyan’s suggestion. Will advise what action taken when so informed by Foreign Office.3

  1. Instruction CA-1311 to London, Sept. 9, stated the Department’s desire that the British Chargé in Peking take action to follow up a letter he had sent to the Chinese authorities on July 9 protesting the arrest of several American Catholic missionaries in Shanghai. (293.1111/9–953)
  2. Despatch 6186 from London, June 25, transmitted a copy of a note sent on Apr. 21 by the British Chargé in Peking to the Chinese authorities protesting the detention of U.S. and British Commonwealth nationals in China. (293.1111/6–2553)
  3. Telegram 2980 from London, Jan. 13, 1954, reported that the British Mission in Peking had suggested that, in view of the recent release of several priests from prison, the delivery of a new note should be postponed for a few weeks in order to watch developments. (293.1111/1–1354) Telegram 3623 from London, Feb. 23, 1954, reported that British Chargé Trevelyan had that day presented a formal note to the Chinese authorities protesting on behalf of all Canadians, British, and Americans known to be arrested or interned on the Chinese mainland. (293.1111/2–2354)