893.00/10344: Telegram

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

215. On March 20 the commander in chief telegraphed that the U. S. S. Trenton would be withdrawn from Chefoo about March 23rd [Page 444] in accordance with recommendation from Admiral Blakely.43 This information was transmitted to the American Consul in Chefoo with a request for his comments in the matter. I have now received his reply which is quoted below:

“March 23, 1 a.m. Your telegram of March 22, 3 p.m. The Legation’s attention is invited my telegram of March 22, noon. In view of the possibilities of the situation I now strongly recommend Trenton be left here at least for the next few days pending outcome present situation. Letters received today from the American missionaries, Tengchow indicate trouble at Chefoo in the near future. Remarks to me by Chang Tsung-chang and Liu Chen-nien admit of possibility of trouble at Chefoo, which might bring in certain foreign interests (Japanese), in which event I would like an American naval vessel to be here and an American officer to operate. Further, a deputation from the Chinese Chamber of Deputies, which I received today, spoke of the possibility of trouble and they assured me that the presence here of an American warship is reassuring to the people of Chefoo. The Japanese Consul, who in the past appeared to be exceptionally well informed, told me today that they expected trouble at Chefoo within a few days and that he had received news to this effect from Dairen. I positively know that Chinese here are frightened and negotiating for peace, so if by keeping Trenton here a few days longer we assure protection of American lives and property and its presence contributes towards the maintenance of peace and order in Chefoo, I strongly recommend Trenton remain here. A paraphrase of this telegram furnished Admiral Blakely.”

This has been repeated to commander in chief with the recommendation that a naval vessel be left at Chefoo pending the outcome of the present situation.

  1. Telegram in two sections.
  2. Rear Admiral John R. Y. Blakely, commanding the Light Cruiser Division 2, Scouting Fleet, but temporarily assigned to the U. S. Asiatic Fleet (flagship the U.S.S. Trenton).