793.94/3758c: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Consul General at Shanghai (Cunningham)

For guidance of Minister and Consul General. Reference Department’s 31, January 28, 5 p.m., to Legation and Legation’s previous.

As events at Shanghai are moving so rapidly, the Department is not in position to give specific instructions covering possible progressive incidents as they may arise and desires that the Minister and the Consul General at Shanghai be guided by existing instructions, paying particular attention to the Department’s telegram No. 47 of February 5, 1930,87 circularized to consular officers in China in the Legation’s circular No. 7, February 14, 1930. The Department offers for the consideration and guidance of the Minister and the Consul General further comment as follows: (a) The Department feels that the International Settlement should be regarded as far as possible in the present crisis as an international area not involved in the dispute between China and Japan; (b) The Department feels that the Settlement authorities and defense forces should confine their activities strictly to the maintenance of peace and order in the Settlement and other areas in which they have hitherto thus functioned; (c) The Department does not desire that the Minister or the Consul General take any action which would deny to the Japanese any right which the American Government might at some time be warranted in undertaking to exercise on behalf of American nationals; (d) The Department desires that the Minister and the Consul General in their conversations and discussions with their colleagues and with Chinese and Japanese officials [Page 121] should attempt to make it clear that our position in the present crisis is impartial, our endeavor being on the one hand to protect the legitimate rights and interests of American nationals and on the other hand to assist toward a settlement by and between the disputants of their differences as soon as possible.

Repeat to Peiping and to Nanking for the Minister, referring to Department’s telegram to Legation No. 31, January 28, 5 p.m., paragraph 2, second sentence.