The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State
[Received November 7—5:10 a.m.]
839. Following from Commanding Officer U.S.S. Tutuila to Commander Yangtze Patrol has been repeated for the information of the Legation by the Commander in Chief United States Asiatic Fleet:
“0004. Troop movements down river continue by ship and [junks?] on all vessels except British and American. Question of British and American transporting troops seems settled for the present but I predict that unless offensive soon to be launched against Reds is big success request to carry troops will be repeated, probably from Twenty-First Army Headquarters. Chinese rumor already says if offensive is [un] successful attempt will be made to put blame on British and American squadron for refusing to carry troops [in] time great emergency. I recommend further consideration be accorded subject by Minister so that should serious Red threat again arise which really calls for cooperation permission can readily be granted. In such emergency Yangtze Rapid Company will of necessity carry troops with or without permission. Socony is only other American company operating ships on Yangtze. They do not carry passengers and could probably be exempted [omission?] since Yangtze Rapid really only interested and they will possibly have [to] carry troops [for] self-defense they might as well do so with government sanction. Such permission if granted should be granted for [Page 541] particular purpose only. Suggest consulting Yangtze Rapid and Socony head offices Shanghai. These recommendations are my own and have not been discussed with any one and will not be unless you suggest I do so. I feel sure, however, local Yangtze Rapid and Socony agents should approve. 12125.”
The message is being repeated to the Minister in Nanking for information and consideration.