893.74/747: Telegram

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

233. My March 16, 7 p.m. Following received from American consul general at Hankow:

“March 19, 11 a.m. Your [My?] March 14, 4 p.m. Following is Admiral Hough’s comment:

‘There has been no secret installation of a radio set in violation of international law.

It is imperative that the commander of the Yangtze Patrol be always in constant communication with all of the vessels under his command and with commander in chief, in order to keep fully informed and to protect the lives and property of American nationals, both in constant jeopardy, from attacks of unruly groups of coolies, mobs, and even organized military—from unauthorized and illegal seizure and commandeering by the military, of American vessels for unlawful purposes—and from lawless firing by military and bandits upon American vessels passing from point to point on the Yangtze in pursuance of their lawful business and rights as [apparent omission] by treaties.

Further, in view of the fact that the telegraph lines are frequently interrupted, it is now necessary to afford the consul general at Hankow quick and reliable means of communication with the American Minister at Peking.

Furthermore, in view of the unreliability of mail communication, it becomes absolutely necessary to transmit by radio many matters that under ordinary conditions could be transmitted by mail.

In view of all the above, the continuance of the radio service under my direction is an absolute military necessity which it is my intention to continue as long as the conditions above described may make necessary.’

I concur in Admiral Hough’s comment and am firmly convinced that the maintenance of radio communication under the present conditions in the Yangtze Valley is imperative.”

I entirely concur with comments of Admiral Hough and Consul General Lockhart as to imperative necessity especially under present conditions for the maintenance of untrammeled radio communication among American war vessels in Chinese waters. If the Department approves I shall instruct Lockhart to endeavor to arrive at a satisfactory schedule with the Nationalist authorities for transmission of radio messages on the part of the Navy.