893.00/5518: Telegram

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

342. Shanghai’s September 9, 4 p.m. and my 339, September 11, 3 p.m.

American, British, French, Italian, and Japanese senior naval officers present at Shanghai at a meeting September 8th decided that Woosung forts should be “neutralized”, that is, that Chekiang garrison should be driven out and that flags of five nations above mentioned should be hoisted over the fort.
They referred this question to us through Italian consul general as senior representative at Shanghai of powers having ships of war on China station.
Above-referred-to representatives including myself have today telegraphed Italian consul general Shanghai that in view of Ho and Tu’s present state of mind, as reported in my 339, we consider that our men-of-war’s activities should be limited to protecting the town of Shanghai (foreign settlement understood), the Whangpoo and its mouth, and, if necessary, navigation night and day on the lower Yangtze and at its mouth.
We do not agree that foreign detachments should occupy Woosung forts and hoist foreign flags.