The Chargé in China (Bell) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 7—11:50 a.m.]
329. Your 213, September 6, 3 p.m., while clear as to your wishes with regard to use of force on Yangtze only for protection of American life and property, leaves me in some doubt as to your wishes regarding use of force on Whangpoo.
You state in paragraph 3 that force is to be employed on Whangpoo only as in manner indicated above with respect to Yangtze but you at the same time assume that naval authorities of the powers represented in Whangpoo River will use all proper means to keep open Whangpoo from Shanghai to the open sea which may require different and more drastic action.
These instructions appear somewhat contradictory. Most drastic action contemplated so far is, as outlined in my 315, the enforcement of neutrality in respect of whole Whangpoo River and its mouth.[Page 368]
In order to avoid any possible misunderstanding please elucidate Department’s position with regard to use of naval force on Whangpoo.
Your telegram and this reply repeated to Admiral Washington, for his information.