893.00/5495: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in China (Bell)

213. Your 324 September 6 11 a.m.

The Department considers that the use of naval forces on the Yangtze should be confined to the protection of American life and property.
The Department does not feel that the situation has reached a stage so critical as to justify the use of force in preventing the application of the restrictions on the Yangtze to which you refer, although the right of free navigation on this stream is accorded by treaty.

Your 315 August 30 4 P.M. The naval forces in the Whangpu should be employed as indicated in paragraph 1 above, but the exigencies of the situation seem to demand an appropriate cooperation and that the river should be kept open from Shanghai to the open sea since this stretch of water is to all intents and purposes the harbor of Shanghai. It is assumed that the naval authorities of the powers represented in those waters will use all proper means to that end.

Department desires to be kept fully informed concerning developments and should situation demand more drastic action than that contemplated herein Department would be glad to have the benefit of your recommendations as well as those of Admiral Washington and the Consul-General at Shanghai.