Memorandum on the Situation in Taiwan

The following paragraphs were taken from Ambassador Stuart's memorandum to Chiang Kai-Shek on April 18, 1947. You can download the complete memorandum by clicking here.

On the evening of February 27 certain armed Monopoly Bureau Agents and special police agents set upon and beat a female cigarette vendor, who with her two small children, had protested the seizure of her cash as well as her allegedly untaxed cigarettes. She is reported to have died soon after the agents, who shot at random, killing one person before they escaped into a civil police station. Their Monopoly truck and its contents were burned in the street, although the agents were allowed to be taken away, on foot and unmolested, from the police station by military police called for that purpose.

(On February 28)...The parade, meanwhile, left the Monopoly Bureau for the Governor's office where it was intended to present the petition for reform. At about two o'clock it reached a wide intersection adjacent to the government grounds. Without warning a machine gun mounted somewhere on the government building opened fire, swept and dispersed the crowd and killed at least four. Two consular officers drove through the square immediately after the shots were fired. Two of the dead were picked up a few minutes later by an UNRRA officer.

...Martial law was invoked in the late afternoon February 28. Armed military patrols began to appear in the city, firing at random wherever they went.

(March 1, at approximately 5 o'clock)... members of the American Consulate staff witnessed a severe clash between armed government forces and unarmed crowds. Mounted troops had killed two pedestrians near the compound. A crowd gathered. A few hundred yards away Railway Administration special armed police suddenly opened fire from within the Administration building and killed two more pedestrians. The crowd turned on any mainland Railway Bureau employee found nearby. Two more pedestrians who looked like coolies were shot about 300 feet from the Consulate gates. Then as the bodies were carried off the crowd was observed to assemble again some distance from a mounted patrol near an intersection. Suddenly, with no warning, a long burst of machine gun fire swept the area. Some of the wounded and dead were carried past the Consulate gates; it is stated reliably that at least 123 felled by the burst and that 25 died. How many of the injured walked away is not known.

...Beginning March 9, there was widespread and indiscriminate killing. Soldiers were seen bayonetting coolies without apparent provocation in front of a Consulate staff residence. Soldiers were seen to rob passerby. An old man protesting the removal of a woman from his house was seen cut down by two soldiers....Young Formosan men were observed tied together, being prodded at bayonet point toward the city limits. A Formosan woman primary school teacher attempting to reach her home was shot in the back and robbed near the mission compound.

Anyone thought to be trying to hide or run was shot down. Looting began wherever the soldiers saw something desirable. In the Manka area, near the Consulate, a general sacking by soldiers took place on March 10; many shopkeepers are believed to have been shot.

The February 28 Holocaust