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.