893.00/9958: Telegram

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


162. Referring to Tokyo’s telegram No. 63, May 17, 7 p.m., as repeated to the Legation:

I am not aware of any obligations under the protocol to participate in any joint measures for the protection of foreign lives in Peking or Tientsin. Cooperation in a joint disposal of forces for defensive purposes at Peking and Tientsin may become necessary, but the admiral responsible for defense measures must decide the necessity for and the extent of such cooperation.
There will be no participation by the United States in joint action with the Japanese Government or any other power to prevent the extension of Chinese hostilities to Manchuria or to interfere with the controlled military operation of Chinese armies, but solely for the protection of American citizens.
I am in agreement with the instructions as outlined in telegram 0016–1615 from Admiral Bristol to the Navy and telegram 0017–1200 from Butler to the admiral.
Considering the policy which Japan apparently intends to pursue in North China, as indicated in telegram No. 63 from Tokyo, it is desired that, as I am sure it will be, the greatest caution be exercised by you in conference with your colleagues to prevent the United States from becoming involved in any way in the aims or policies evidently intended, namely, intervention in China with the object of determining the extent of hostilities between Chinese armies, as well as for the purpose of preventing disturbances from extending to Manchuria or to any other portion of China.
The letters quoted in the Legation’s telegram 359, May 17, noon, are approved. It is assumed that the words “in certain prescribed areas,” contained in last paragraph of telegram, refer to the Legation Quarter at Peking and the foreign residential areas at Tientsin; I have no knowledge of any prescribed areas other than those places.