The Ambassador in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State
[Received October 23—7:28 a.m.]
511. Following from Nanking:
“October 21, noon. While the tension has eased considerably during the past 24 hours, I feel, after discussing protection plans with Captain Maynard of the USS Guam, our present station ship, that it would be highly desirable at this time to transfer temporarily from the station snip to the Embassy a small quantity of arms, uniforms and pyrotechnics for possible emergency use. I believe that this could be done without attracting any attention.
In making this suggestion I have in mind particularly the possibility of civil disorder and looting. A request for an armed landing force would hardly be justified except under hazards of actual crisis, and under such circumstances the landing party would doubtless face heavy odds in its attempt to reach the Embassy. On the other hand if a certain amount of equipment were now to be transferred to the Embassy, I believe that this action would provide a certain degree of protection as we could probably bring unarmed enlisted men in civilian clothes to the Embassy whenever circumstances might make this desirable. This action could be taken without attracting particular attention and could therefore precede conditions of actual crisis.
If you concur will you request the approval of the State and Navy Departments?”
I do not see how any harm can be done, and I therefore concur and request necessary approval.