Memorandum by the Secretary of State

The British Ambassador called at my request this morning and I told him in a very general way that we had now at Shanghai about eight hundred men who could be landed; that in addition to that we had naval forces at Guam which were on their way to Manila and that with all these forces in the Asiatic Fleet, the Navy could land about three hundred more at Shanghai. In addition to that, I told him we had three cruisers on the way to Honolulu and they would arrive there on the thirteenth and they could land about one hundred and fifty or sixty men from each one of the cruisers; that we were [Page 67] preparing about twelve hundred marines to be shipped from San Diego and they would be ready to go about the third; that I had not answered his note60 because I was getting information. In a general way, I told him we did not feel that it was wise to send an army to Shanghai outside of the Navy as it would inflame the Chinese and was liable to endanger Americans scattered throughout China whom we could not protect by our naval forces.

I then read him the last clause of our telegram of today, No. 35, January 31, and he heartily endorsed it. He said he thought we ought to deliver it at once to the Commanders and that the British Government, he was sure, would ask their Minister to urge MacMurray to do so. In a general way, he said he understood the British Government was carrying on negotiations along the line of their proposition, British memorandum No. 41,61 which Mr. Chamberlain seemed to have enlarged on somewhat, but he had no information as to what the results of the negotiations were.

  1. Apparently note No. 56, Jan. 26, p. 56.
  2. Post, p. 344.