893.00/12490: Telegram

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

809. Following priority message from American Consul General at Hankow:

“October 24, 1 a.m. Chinese Bureau of Navigation [at] Chungking report Wanhsien seriously threatened by Beds and ask all foreign ships transport troops Chungking to Wanhsien in emergency and states that such action will not be considered precedent.

I am, subject to Legation’s approval, inclined to agree to proposal as best means of affording protection to American interests Wanhsien provided competent observers on spot agree that force threatening Wanhsien is actually Red and British ships also agree carry troops. Believe it unwise to weaken American-British cooperation on upper river by action differing from theirs in the matter.

We have gunboat at Chungking and Ichang. British have gunboat at Wanhsien.

I request instructions.”

2. I have replied as follows:

“October 24, 5 p.m. Your October 24, 1 a.m. Legation does not consider that situation warrants departure from previous position American Government in opposition to the carrying of Chinese troops and/or munitions on American steamers. British Minister states that he has not been approached in regard to present situation but that his views coincide with mine.”

Matter was discussed by me with the British Minister.