893.00/12494: Telegram

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

819. Department’s 376 [358], October 27, 4 p.m. Following from Hankow reports situation anticipated in paragraph 2 of my 815, October 26, 5 p.m.:

“October 27, 4 p.m. Legation’s October 25, 5 p.m. Tutuila at Chungking reports that Yangtze Rapid Steamship Company vessels are being boycotted by labor there because of refusal to carry troops to Wanhsien. Apparently boycott was instigated and is enforced by a “Bandit Suppression Society”. Tutuila indicates that Jardine57 agent is in favor of carrying troops and that Butterfield58 agent is [Page 538] opposed to such action. Attitude of the Yangtze Rapid agent is unknown to me but I surmise that he is willing to carry troops to end boycott.

Suiting some 60 miles northwest of Wanhsien and Hsuanhan (Tungsiang) reliably reported to have been captured by the Reds. Wang Fang-chow with a considerable force is, however, between Reds and Wanhsien.

Foreigners at Wanhsien are packed and ready to evacuate and many Chinese have already left. The U.S.S. Guam should reach Ichang tonight en route to Wanhsien.”

Department’s 358, October 27, 4 p.m. has been repeated to American Consuls General at Hankow and Shanghai for their guidance in discussions with officials of other Governments and with American nationals interested.
As is shown in my October 26, 5 p.m., I am opposed to any alteration in our long standing policy in regard to question at issue and if American shipping interests take position indicated as probable in Hankow’s October 27, 4 p.m., I shall consult with the Commander in Chief of the United States Asiatic Fleet before modifying my position in any way.
Repeated to Hankow, Shanghai and the Commander in Chief.
  1. Jardine, Matheson & Co., Ltd., British shipping firm.
  2. Butterfield and Swire (China Navigation Co.), British shipping firm.