893.0146/152: Telegram

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


Your 26, April 24, 6 p.m.

I am in agreement with the War Department that the time will arrive soon when the question of voluntarily withdrawing United States Army forces at Tientsin should be given consideration.
I emphatically believe the present not to be an opportune moment for consideration of this question and that the other powers should be consulted before we take action.
It would be a tactical error, in my opinion, to indicate during the extraterritoriality discussions our readiness in principle to withdraw the Army force. As indicated by the Department’s 27, April 25, noon,4 Tientsin will become a factor of importance in the course of these negotiations, and it is the intention of the British Government, as expressed to me by the British Minister in China, to insist upon reserving both Shanghai and Tientsin from Chinese jurisdiction. I am sincerely convinced that our extraterritorial negotiations should continue and, if an agreement is happily reached, that we should let a period of time elapse to permit determination as to how faithfully and well the Chinese are carrying out the terms of said agreement. Then the moment will arrive for the Secretary of State to signalize the agreement’s accomplishment by a public statement which would express confidence in China’s stabilization and good faith, this to be accompanied by a statement of the prospective withdrawal of the American Army force at Tientsin. Pending such time it would be of no value, I feel, to say anything.
  1. Ante, p. 809.