The Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Navy (Denby)

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of August 6, 1923, in which you state that two vessels of the minesweeper class, now at Honolulu, have been ordered for service in the lower Yangtse River and that the Navy Department has put in its estimates for the budget to be presented to the next session of Congress a request for the construction of six river gunboats for service on the Yangtse River.

In reply to your inquiry as to the Department’s opinion as to the desirability of asking for an emergency appropriation for the construction of these gunboats, I have no hesitation in stating that the need for these vessels is most imperative. Your Department is familiar with the general conditions of disorder which have been so prevalent in China in recent years. From such information as this Department is constantly receiving, there appears no indication of any improvement in these conditions in the immediate future. Twice within the present month, reports have been received of serious attacks upon American shipping on the Yangtse. In view of the inadequacy of the present patrol force, and in the face of disordered conditions which offer no prospect of early improvement, it is believed that your contemplated request for an emergency appropriation is fully warranted; and action to this end would be thoroughly appreciated by this Department.

I have [etc.]

Charles E. Hughes