125.0093/312: Telegram

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

228. Your 96, March 19, 6 p.m. Following message was sent to the Legation by me from U. S. S. Isabel, March 24, 8 p.m., but was never received: [Page 219]

  • “1. I have carefully considered with Lockhart37 and Adams38 the Department’s telegram No. 96, March 19, 6 p.m., to the Legation, and find them both strongly in accord with my own view that it is premature to reopen Chungking and Changsha consulates.
  • 2. As to Chungking, I received the impression that the situation in the Upper Yangtze, although for the moment quiet, is very unstable, and that either local military movements or popular reactions to any possible outside incident might precipitate a crisis. The reopening of the consulate would inevitably invite a general return of our people to interior points from which it would be impossible to withdraw them in case of a sudden necessity. Apart from the Yangtze Rapid Steamship Company the only considerable American business interests in the upper river are those of the Standard Oil Company. They are reopening immediately their Chungking office. I do not feel they will for the present suffer any disadvantage from the absence of consul. My own impressions bear out observations made by Adams on recent visit that the desire of the local authorities to regain ‘face’ through the return of our consul disposes them to treat our rights and interests with greater consideration than under normal circumstances. I therefor[e] recommend that the Chungking district should continue to be administered from Hankow until at any rate the situation in Szechuan has clarified, the consulate general being authorized to send a consular officer to visit Chungking upon any occasion which in his judgment requires personal representations.
  • 3. I was unable to visit Changsha because prevalent banditry has resulted in removal of aids to navigation so that there was danger of indefinite delays through grounding in Tungting. But all I could learn of conditions in Hunan from various sources in touch with them confirmed in my mind the wisdom of the recommendation against an early reopening of the consulate made by Lockhart after recent visit there. The consulate general should also be authorized to send officer there as required.
  • 4. Please quote to the Department.”

  1. Telegram in two sections.
  2. Frank P. Lockhart, consul general at Hankow.
  3. Waiter A. Adams, former consul at Chungking.