893.102 S/1328: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in China (Gauss)

366. Legation’s despatch No. 3022, October 4, in regard to Shanghai defense scheme.27

It appears that the defense scheme was amended in June; that the Secretary of the Defense Committee informed the Consul General under date June 25 of such amendment; but that the Consul General did not report the matter to the Legation until September 25, 3 months later. The Consul General should report promptly matters relating to the defense scheme and he should be instructed accordingly.
In regard to the substitute wording for Part II, paragraph 5, subheadings (a) and (b), comment is offered as follows:
It is assumed that the new phraseology is intended to provide that the protection of foreign lives and property in areas outside the perimeter is to be arranged by the Garrison Commander of the sector directly outside whose perimeter the foreign lives and property are located. It is observed, however, that the term “the Garrison Commander concerned” might be construed to mean that each national commander would arrange for the protection of the lives and property of his nationals.
The Department is apprehensive lest the amended reading might be taken by an individual Garrison Commander as authority and warrant to conduct outside the perimeter military operations of a character not contemplated by the defense scheme.
The previous wording in regard to arrangements for the protection of foreign lives and property in Pootung appears to be preferable to the amended wording, in that the previous wording places responsibility for making such arrangements in the hands of the Defense Committee, an international group, whereas the amended version leaves the matter to one person, namely “the Garrison Commander concerned”.
Department desires that the Legation study this matter with care and that if the Legation concurs in the views expressed by the Department as contained in paragraph 2 above, the Legation instruct the Consul General at Shanghai, unless he perceives objection (in which case he should promptly inform the Legation for report to the Department) to discuss this matter informally with the Commanding Officer of the American Marines. After such discussion the Consul General should inform the Legation of the Commanding Officer’s views. The Legation should then make a telegraphic report to the Department with an expression of its views and recommendations.
The Department desires to receive for its files a copy of the Commanding Officer’s communication to the Chairman of the Defense Committee reaffirming the position taken by his predecessor to the effect that in future cases of emergency in Shanghai the participation of American forces will be contingent upon the decision of the competent American authorities.
The Department desires to receive also the views of the Legation and of the Consul General at Shanghai on the question whether it would be practicable and advisable for this Government to suggest that the Consuls General at Shanghai of the Governments maintaining armed forces there be included at least in a consultative capacity in the personnel of the Defense Committee.
  1. Despatch not printed; earlier correspondence on this subject is printed in Foreign Relations, 1932, vols. iii and iv.