393.11/452: Telegram

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

90. Following from commander in chief:

“It is evident from the heavy military and naval reinforcements which are being sent to Shanghai that the British intend to defend the integrity of the Settlements and possibly take more drastic measures elsewhere. The commander in chief is of the opinion that American citizens should not remain in Chinese territory which has been evacuated by British. Clashes may arise which will stir up strong feeling against all foreigners. Under the circumstances it would seem wise to remove our people at the same time the British are withdrawn.”

I have replied as follows:

“January 28, 9 a.m. The Legation on January 13th authorized all consuls in Central and South China in their [discretion] to advise the withdrawal without delay of American citizens to places where they may have protection or from which they might be evacuated if necessary.3 The Legation on January 23rd instructed the consuls at Chungking and Changsha to expedite the evacuation of all Americans in their districts as quickly and as quietly as possible. Hankow and Nanking have been instructed similarly with regard to portions of their respective districts from which speedy evacuation would be difficult.

From reports received today appears that the Americans in Changsha and Chungking districts are being evacuated as quickly as transportation facilities will permit; and these Americans in outlying districts of Hankow, Nanking and Shanghai are withdrawing to places from which they may be rapidly evacuated.

With regard to South China the evacuation of all in Foochow districts will be soon completed and in Canton, Swatow and Amoy districts they are withdrawing from remote points to places from which they may be readily evacuated.”

  1. See penultimate paragraph of telegram No. 26, Jan. 13, from the Minister in China, p. 45.