893.74/745: Telegram

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

223. 1. Following telegram has been received from American consul general, Hankow57:

“March 14, 4 p.m. The Nationalist authorities have filed formal protest with me against the presence of ‘the wireless station on a certain man-of-war in the river in the vicinity of Hankow’. It is pointed out that this station (which is on the U. S. S. Isabel) is in frequent operation and that its position is practically fixed at one place, and complaint is made that communication between the various Chinese wireless stations is disturbed and that it is feared that military secrets will be divulged. The Ministry of Communications in bringing the matter to the attention of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, states that ‘the free communication by wireless stations on foreign men-of-war has infringed the sovereign rights of the country’ and that the wireless station in question is always in port and every day is in constant operation and does not differ from the wireless station on land. Request is made of the Minister for Foreign Affairs that he demand of me the immediate removal of the station ‘in order to avoid disturbance and to protect sovereign rights’. The Commissioner of Foreign Affairs in transmitting the above on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs states ‘the installation of wireless stations by foreign men-of-war in the interior of China and the freedom in communication is in fact infringing the sovereign rights of the country and I am instructed to request that you will notify the ship to remove the wireless station at once in order to strengthen our international friendship’.

An effort was made some time ago to make an allotment of time between the American ship station here and the Wuchang station but an arrangement mutually satisfactory could not be effected. Ch’en58 claims that the American ship station seriously interferes with the transmission of messages between Wuchang and Canton, the traffic between those two stations being very heavy. I have furnished Admiral Hough with a copy of the note from the Commissioner of Foreign Affairs and requested his comment.”

2. Comments of Admiral Hough59 in connection with protest of Nationalist regime have been requested and will be telegraphed when received.

  1. Frank P. Lockhart.
  2. Eugene Ch’en, Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Nationalist Government at Hankow.
  3. Rear Admiral Henry H. Hough, U. S. N., commander of the Yangtze Patrol.