893.0146/150: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Consul General at Nanking (Peck)


26. For the Minister:

(1) The War Department has raised the question as to retaining further United States Army forces at Tientsin. The War Department advanced the view that the present force is no longer able to perform the primary function under the 1901 Protocol2 or, in the event of serious antiforeign trouble, the secondary function of protecting American lives in the Tientsin area; cited the need for its personnel elsewhere; advanced considerations of economy; and expressed the view that, with the development of the spirit of Chinese nationalism, the continued presence of the American troops conceivably may become a source of friction, while their voluntary withdrawal might have a good effect on the relations between the two countries. This Department has no record of “an official communication from the American Minister at Peking, dated June 3, 1928”, which is quoted by the War Department.

This Department has expressed the view to the War Department that it would not be opportune at present to consider the question; that such consideration should be put off until the extraterritoriality question is settled, and that, in any case, no move should be made unless the other powers most concerned have first been consulted.

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(2) It occurs to the Department, however, that this Government’s willingness in principle to withdraw the American Army force at the first opportune moment possibly might prove useful to you at your discretion at some point in the extraterritoriality conversations.3

(3) An expression by you of your views on both these points would be welcome to the Department.

  1. Signed at Peking, September 7, 1901, ibid., 1901, Appendix (Affairs in China), p. 312.
  2. See pp. 716 ff.