The Minister in China (MacMurray) to the Consul at Tsinan (Stanton)92

Sir: I beg leave to acknowledge receipt of your despatch of December 28, 1927,93 regarding the problem created by the return of certain American missionaries to interior stations in Shantung without the approval of your office, and the danger in which these Americans will be placed in the event of a further advance by the southern armies. You suggest three possible courses of action: first, the urging of all such Americans to withdraw to either Tientsin or Tsingtao; second, their concentration at Tsinan, where they might be protected by Japanese military contingents which you anticipate will be sent there in the event of the situation becoming acute; and, third, the arriving at some understanding with the so-called nationalist leaders in Shanghai, regarding the protection of American citizens and property in the territories which they may conquer.

In as much as your office has already advised the withdrawal of American citizens from interior points, and has seemingly never subsequently canceled this request, it would appear that the wisest course for you to follow would be to remind the secretaries of each mission having workers in the interior, that the Tsinan Consulate has requested Americans not to remain in remote places and has never revoked its request, and that, therefore, those Americans who, disregarding your office’s instructions, still remain in such places, do so entirely at their own risk and upon their own responsibility.

In view of the fact that virtually all American properties in interior places in the Nanking Consular District have been and still are occupied by southern soldiers, and since several proclamations issued by their authorities ordering the evacuation of foreign property have been utterly disregarded, your suggestion as to the effecting of some understanding with the southern leaders appears to be entirely impractical.

I am [etc.]

[File copy not signed]
  1. Copy transmitted, without covering despatch, to the Department by the Minister; received April 18.
  2. Not printed.