893.00/12493: Telegram

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

358. Your 809, October 24, 5 p.m. and 812, October 26, noon. Department concurs in your instruction to Hankow and in Admiral Upham’s views as quoted in these telegrams respectively.

Reference also your 815, October 26, 5 p.m.

In this situation, it would seem that American officials should, in discussion both with officials of other governments and with American nationals, advise against such employment by Chinese of any foreign steamers and should make it clear that, although there is apparently no legal impediment, if American steamers are sought by the Chinese for such employment, the American owners thereof must make their own decision with regard to disposal to be made of their vessels; and that, if use is made of American steamers for transporting Chinese troops or munitions, no protection by American armed forces of any sort can be afforded in connection with that use.

Subject to this instruction, the Department desires that you take, in close consultation with the Commander-in-Chief, such steps as you may consider appropriate and advisable. Keep Department fully informed.

Department has discussed the above with high officers of the Navy Department. That Department expresses concurrence in substance, but, in the absence of any report from the Commander-in-Chief, is issuing no instructions.