393.11/900: Telegram

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

166. The following telegram has been received from Nanking:

“March 9, 1 p.m. From additional independent sources I have received strong confirmatory evidence of organized preparations on [Page 441] the part of poorer classes of the city to loot foreign properties if occasion offers. While I have brought this matter to the attention of the authorities and believe that so long as the present administration remains in control the probability is that no harm will come to American lives and property, I would request consideration of the following suggestions: In the event of (a) the government forces’ being defeated and commencing a retreat to Nanking, (b) defection actual or probable among the troops here (rumors of which are already current), (c) other local conditions which appear to be beyond the power of the local authorities to control, I be authorized to issue general advice to Americans to withdraw from Nanking.

While I understand that all American women with children have either already left the city or are planning to do so, I do not believe women without children or men will leave except under direct official advice of the Consulate.
I have sent the local authorities complete list American citizens and properties.”

I have replied as follows:

“March 11, 4 p.m. Your March 9, 1 p.m. You are authorized to issue general advice to Americans to withdraw from Nanking in the event conditions develop as described in subparagraphs (a), (b) or (c) of your first paragraph.”