File No. 763.72/3301
The Secretary of State to the Minister in China ( Reinsch )
Your cipher telegram of February 12, 4 p.m. The Department’s circular telegram of February 3, 1 p.m.,1 did not contemplate the offer to any neutral power of special inducements to take action similar to that of the United States in regard to Germany.
You informed the Department in advance of your intention to give certain assurances if needed in order to obtain the result desired, but the President and the Department were preoccupied with other pressing matters and did not anticipate that you would act so soon without instruction.
Since, however, you have given the assurances mentioned in your telegram of February 7, 6 p.m., the matter is being most carefully reconsidered and you will be made acquainted with the result as soon as a definite conclusion is reached. You may so inform the Chinese Government orally and urge upon it the necessity for the utmost caution and secrecy. You will be most particular to suggest, furthermore, that it is the opinion of this Government that China should not, unless compelled by extraordinary circumstances, do more than break off diplomatic relations with Germany until the definite [Page 411] decision of this Government in the premises is communicated to it. Your personal attention is directed to the need of profound secrecy and of the very close observance of the directions of the Department.