893.102 S/1329: Telegram

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

557. Department’s 366, November 20, 7 p.m.

1. Cunningham reports that Commander of Marines at Shanghai states that he is quite sure that it was the intention of the Defense Committee that the protection of foreign life and property outside perimeter should be undertaken by the Commander whose nationals are concerned, that the Defense Committee is concerned primarily with the defense of the International Settlement and that nothing would be gained by having it directly concerned where international cooperation may not be necessary or desirable. Commanding Officer suggests that following wording would clarify the provision:

“In addition to the sectors of settlement [responsibility] given in paragraph 3 the protection of foreign lives and property in Pootung or other areas outside the perimeter will, if considered advisable by the authorities of the nation concerned, be arranged by the garrison commander of the national [nation] whose nationals are concerned.”

Cunningham considers that in practice the protection of foreign life and property outside the perimeter can best be handled by the authorities whose nationals are concerned without calling on the Defense Committee and he believes that under the original wording the Defense Committee would have left the matter largely if not entirely in the hands of the garrison commander of the nationals who needed protection for the future. Revised wording merely accords him that authority.

2. The Legation concurs with the opinion of the Consul General and commanding officer on this point but believes that the matter of providing such protection of life and property and the authority and responsibility therefor should be definitely divorced from the defense scheme stated above. I therefore suggest the following revised wording:

“except where specially arranged in agreement with the Defense Committee the protection of foreign life and property in Pootung or in other areas outside the perimeter shall form no part of the plan of combined action or of the responsibility of the Defense Committee. Where, however, on the responsibility of the authorities of the nation concerned, garrison forces or other military or naval forces are employed in extending protection to life and property in such outside areas, the garrison commander of the nationality of the forces so employed will promptly notify the Defense Committee, for its information, of the measures so taken.”

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On the one hand this would permit of limited joint action beyond the perimeter in special cases in agreement with the Defense Committee, and on the other it would ensure proper information to the Defense Committee of independent protective measures being taken by foreign forces in neighboring areas while definitely fixing the question on the forces concerned and not on the International Defense Committee.

3. Cunningham heartily concurs in proposed inclusion of Consul General of garrison powers on Defense Committee at least in a consultative capacity. He has not discussed this question with other Consuls General or with commanding officer. Legation is of the opinion that the proposal might not be well received by the military officers but that it would be highly desirable unless the Navy Department is prepared to issue categorical instructions to officers in command of American forces in Shanghai to keep Consul General promptly and currently informed of all action and proposed action by the Defense Committee and to consult him on the political aspects of all proposed changes and of all operations. With frequent changes in personnel of navy and marine commanders and their lack of background information on the political considerations involved in situations such as are met at Shanghai it is essential that the Consul General or his representative be added to Defense Committee in consultative capacity or that navy and marine commanders be carefully instructed to consult Consul General and to inform him promptly and completely of all proceedings of that committee.