611.95A241/11–2354: Telegram

No. 406
The Secretary of State to the Consulate General in Geneva1


423. Chinese Communist radio has announced sentencing of 11 Air Force personnel and two civilians to prison terms ranging from 4 years to life for alleged espionage. Air Force men are Colonel Arnold2 and his crew on B–29. Civilians are Department Army employees John T. Downey and George Fecteau missing in flight November 1952 Korea to Japan. You should call Chinese Communist representative into meeting soonest to protest their action as groundless informing them U.S. Air Force has radar evidence Col. Arnold’s plane was intercepted by a group of Chinese Communist fighter planes 12–15 miles south of Yalu when last heard of. You should also point out Chinese Communists have never before mentioned Fecteau and Downey despite repeated requests our part they [Page 946] account for all Americans, and that this is an especially flagrant example deplorable Chinese Communist practice holding prisoners incommunicado.

Department making statement to press tonight, text of which contained in immediately following telegram.3

  1. Repeated for information to London.
  2. Col. John K. Arnold, Commander, 581st Air Resupply and Communications Wing.
  3. Telegram 424 to Geneva, Nov. 23. (611.95A241/11–2354) The text of the statement, announcing that the Consul General in Geneva was being instructed to make a protest, is printed in Department of State Bulletin, Dec. 6, 1954, p. 856.