893.00/9784: Telegram

The Chargé in China (Mayer) to the Secretary of State

135. 1. With reference to the commander in chief’s78 0029—1600 to the Secretary of the Navy, I respectfully submit the following comment and recommendation.

2. Although I have watched the matter very carefully, I have come upon no unfavorable reaction to the presence of our marines in North China or indeed elsewhere in the country. No word, formal or otherwise, in opposition to their being here has come to my notice since the note of September 6th from the Wai Chiao Pu described in my 862, September 8, 4 p.m.79 to which reference is made. I believe it is the real feeling with the Chinese that they are no less pleased than are our own citizens to feel stabilizing influence of presence of marine brigade.

3. Upon receipt of repetition of the commander in chief’s telegram, above mentioned, I requested commanding general, Third Brigade,80 to inform me in reference to effect of nonreplacement. He states that in such event, at present rate of depletion, marine force at Tientsin would be reduced to one regiment of infantry by July 1st. I strongly recommend that any reduction at this time in the American forces in North China in numbers or in equipment such as aviation (which as the Department realizes has in China a tremendous potential value) should not even be considered, present indications being that we must anticipate serious renewal of hostilities this spring among the forces of Chang Tso-lin, Feng Yu-hsiang, Chiang Kai-shek and Yen Hsi-shan in this region. The Department may be certain that Legation will recommend reduction of American forces in China at the earliest expedient moment.

  1. Admiral Mark L. Bristol (U. S. Navy), commander in chief of the U. S. Asiatic Fleet.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1927, vol. ii, p. 141.
  3. Brig. Gen. Smedley D. Butler, U. S. Marine Corps.