893.00/7411: Telegram

The Minister in China (MacMurray) to the Secretary of State

226. 1. Department’s 104, May 21, 1 p.m., greatly appreciated, I shall inform the press that Mayer is proceeding to Canton under instructions from the Secretary of State of the United States to consult with the American consulates in South China in regard to the situation in that region where a number of recent outrages against Americans and their interests have caused increasing concern to the American Government.

2. [Paraphrase.] I also think Mayer should be instructed, but not for publication, that, although his mission is chiefly for the purpose of personal contact between the Legation and the consuls general at Canton and Hongkong, he should use any opportunity that seems favorable to tell the Canton officials that we cannot understand their attitude regarding foreigners in general and Americans in particular, which we believe to be inexcusable from the point of view of justice and international friendship. Should there be an appropriate opportunity I think that Mayer could, with advantage, try to impress upon the Canton officials the unfortunate effect upon public opinion in the United States which their treatment of American citizens is having, pointing out that American sentiment has hitherto been very favorable to the Chinese and particularly to the Cantonese who comprise the greater part of the Chinese residents in America.

3. To avoid possible misinterpretations, Mayer will go to Canton without stopping at Hongkong on the way, but will stop there for several days on his way back, giving an opportunity for him to have informal conversations with Hongkong officials. I suggest that Tredwell be given instructions to cooperate in every way with Mayer and to go to Canton to confer with Mayer and Jenkins, if and when Mayer so requests him. It would be well to have Chamberlain8 also present at any such conference and I request that he be authorized [Page 709] to go to Canton for a brief visit, unless the exigencies of the situation at Swatow prevent it. [End paraphrase.]

4. In order that Mayer’s mission may be expedited and conducted in the most economical manner, it may prove desirable for him to use naval transportation between Tientsin and Shanghai, or vice versa. I respectfully suggest that the Navy Department be requested to authorize the commander in chief of the United States Asiatic Fleet to cooperate with the Legation in every way practicable. I am informing the commander in chief of Mayer’s [apparent omission] as well as Canton, Shanghai and Hongkong.

  1. Culver Bryant Chamberlain, vice consul at Swatow.