The Secretary of State to the Secretary of War (Hurley)

My Dear Mr. Secretary: Your letter of April 9, 1931,5 requesting that I give consideration to the question of further retention of Army forces in China, is before me. You refer to various factors, in the light of which you explain that, from the viewpoint of the War Department, the removal of our forces at Tientsin is desirable, and you inquire whether I can see my way clear to concurring in the withdrawal of this garrison.

In reply, I have to say that, having for some time had the possibility of such a move under consideration, it has been and is my view that we should take no action in the matter without first consulting with other powers most concerned. When the opportune moment comes, I shall be glad to take the initiative, internationally, if circumstances warrant. The present moment, however, I do not think an opportune one for proposing or taking action in the matter. Until the situation in China has changed somewhat and until certain questions which are under negotiation between us and the Chinese have been disposed of, I think it would be inexpedient for us to make or to initiate this move. The opportune moment may come in the not distant future. In the interval, if the War Department feels it imperatively necessary, I perceive no objection to a gradual and inconspicuous reduction in the number of men in the force at Tientsin.

Sincerely yours,

Henry L. Stimson
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