893.00/8158a: Telegram

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

31. Unless you have comments to offer it is desired that you communicate the following message51 through the appropriate American Consular authorities to Chang Tso-lin, Chang Tsung-Ch’ang, Sun Chuan-fang52 and Eugene Chen.53

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“The American Government is communicating the following identic message to (all names but that of the person addressed with appropriate titles) ‘The fate of the American interests in the International Settlement during the course of the internecine warfare now unhappily in progress in China is the occasion of great anxiety to the American Government. As the result of the efforts of two generations of foreigners and Chinese this area has acquired a foremost position among the great ports of the world. There are now living in the Settlement nearly four thousand Americans and probably thirty thousand foreigners altogether, who have made this settlement their home. The arrangement for this settlement is of long standing and made with the local authorities of China and recognized by the national Government. Huge sums have been invested by Chinese citizens and the citizens of foreign nations in municipal and harbor improvements in buildings and in all the paraphernalia of international trade. The settlement is the vital center of commerce that ramifies throughout China and extends throughout the world. To a supreme degree the interests of the Chinese people and of the people of foreign nations requires that here order shall prevail. It is the port through which passes 40 per cent of the trade of China upon which millions of Chinese depend for their livelihood.

From the earliest days the interests of all nations in the International Settlement have prospered in times of peace and have suffered when there has been strife in the region surrounding Shanghai or in the country at large. In order at least to minimize as much as possible injury to the persons and property of foreigners and Chinese living at this port it has been the uniform policy of the foreign residents of the International Settlement and of their Governments to keep the settlement aloof from factional disturbances and as far as this could be accomplished rigorously to prevent it from being utilized by any faction. The cooperation of the authorities in control of Kiangsu Province in carrying out this policy has been asked and received and it has been remarkably successful.

The American Government in submitting these facts to some of the various parties powerful in China today is hopeful that their leaders will lend all possible support to the proposal now made that the International Settlement at Shanghai be excluded from the area of armed conflict and that the authorities in control of all the armed forces in China shall voluntarily undertake to abstain from all effort to enter the International Settlement by force and even to station military forces in its immediate vicinity.

Having solely in view the common good of foreign and Chinese citizens, the American Government invites all interested parties to maintain the neutrality of the foreign settlement in order that American and other foreign lives may have adequate protection. The American Government will be ready, for its part, to become a party to a friendly and orderly negotiation regarding the changes in the protection and changes in the administration of the International Settlement and the reconsideration of the whole subject of its control.’”

You may add to each of these identic communications an intimation that you will be pleased to transmit to your Government any [Page 61] expression of intention made to keep the International Settlement immune from disturbances, military occupation or attack.

I intend to make this public here as soon as I am informed that you have acted. Please advise me at once.

  1. For amendments to message, see telegram No. 35, Jan. 31, to the Minister in China, p. 65.
  2. Military leaders of the Northern Army (Ankuochun), under the Peking Government
  3. Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Nationalist Government at Hankow.