893.00/8068: Telegram

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

35. Following from consul general, Shanghai:

“January 15, midnight. American, British, French and Japanese consuls met informally this afternoon to discuss reports that anti-foreign disorders are planned for Shanghai about January 20th to 25th. It is believed that activities of local Chinese authorities, with accompanying disappearance of Nationalist agents whose apprehension is sought, is likely to check the plans.

We agreed: (1) that the establishment of the patrol or cordon around the Settlement and foreign-occupied areas will likely not be [Page 50] necessary until Sun Ch’uan-fang suffers a defeat in Chekiang; (2) in the event of local troubles, strikes, or other disturbances before such defeat, the naval forces in port or near at hand, assumed to be in the neighborhood of one thousand or perhaps fifteen hundred men, would probably be sufficient to reinforce local police and volunteers for the time being, if the situation should get beyond their control; (3) that the present situation does not indicate the necessity of following suggestion of municipal council to land one thousand men on shore at this time; (4) that the adequacy of the planned patrol or cordon system at any time in future largely depends on result or outcome of Hankow affair. If this outcome is unfavorable to status of concessions or settlements in China, much larger numbers than four thousand men would probably be necessary to defend foreign life and property at Shanghai for the reason that while our original scheme contemplated negotiations with the Cantonese forces upon their arrival for a modus vivendi to maintain peace and order and prevent friction, the situation at Hankow has demonstrated that so far it has not been possible to put any reliance on any understanding which might be reached with them. This conclusion was reached after British consul general disclosed confidentially that the result of investigation at Hankow shows that Chinese authorities agreed to maintain order and protect Concession by Chinese forces stationed outside the borders provided British marines were withdrawn. Following such a withdrawal, mob and soldiers overran and took possession of concession.”