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

No. 874

Sir: Reference is made to the Legation’s telegram No. 343, May 12, 11 p.m.

The Department has informed the Secretary of the American Southern Baptist Mission Board that the Consul at Chefoo reports that Doctor Gaston has refused to comply with the instructions of the Board wherein he was urged to follow the advice of the Consul and withdraw. The Department has, however, not acted on Consul Webber’s suggestion that the Board be requested to cable Doctor Gaston direct ordering his withdrawal. In withholding this suggestion, the Department is moved by two considerations. In the first place, inasmuch as it has no authority either to instruct the Board or to instruct the individual missionary, and inasmuch as it has already urged that the Board instruct the missionary in question to withdraw, it would seem that no useful purpose is to be served [Page 269] by repeating its request to the Board. In the second place, the Department is inclined to believe that, the individual having been asked both by the Consul and by his Board to withdraw, and he not having seen fit to do so, and that fact having been reported to the Board, any further action which the Board may see fit to take may best be left to its initiative. The possible consequences of further representations by the Department will be envisaged readily by the Legation. Under the circumstances, and at this stage, the Department feels that it has done everything that is advisable to do in the premises.

The Department suggests that the Legation and the consular officers act and report, if similar cases arise in future, just as they have done in this case; and the Department on its part will expect in each case to take such action as seems at the moment and under the circumstances appropriate and feasible.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Nelson Trusler Johnson