Memorandum by the Adviser on Political Relations (Hornbeck)

Admiral Yarnell has asked that he be given reenforcements of about 1,000 Marines “from the United States, as soon as practicable.” In reply to a question: Do you prefer this to Army reenforcements from Manila, he has replied “Affirmed.”

It would be possible to send the 6th Regiment of Marines (about 1,200 men) from San Diego, to arrive at Shanghai about 5 weeks hence.

It would be possible to send the 31st Regiment, U. S. A., from Manila, to arrive within a few days.

In 1927, this Government sent Marines from the United States.

In 1932, this Government sent Army reenforcements (31st Regiment) from Manila.

The obvious advantage of sending Marines is that, as we already have Marines at Shanghai, and as the whole force there comes under the command of the Commander-in-Chief of our Asiatic Fleet, this would give us a uniform force instead of a combination of two types of forces.

The obvious advantage of sending Army reenforcements from Manila would be that those reenforcements could arrive at Shanghai at an earlier date.

Admiral Yarnell has expressly affirmed his preference for Marines from the United States. It is reasonably inferable that he feels that the emergency situation is likely to be long drawn out. The Marines are better adapted to the type of action called for than are Army forces. A uniform force of Marines under the Commander-in-Chief can operate more economically and with less overhead of officer personnel than can a combined force. An important consideration [Page 421] contra sending the 31st Regiment from the Philippines is that (so I am informed) it is the only complete white personnel regiment that we now have in the Philippines, whence the sending of that force from the Philippines would substantially weaken our military “set-up” in the Philippines.

Among other persons whom I have consulted in giving consideration to this question are Admiral Taylor, U. S. N. Retired, who was Commander-in-Chief of the Asiatic Fleet in 1932, General Holcomb, Commandant, U. S. Marines, Admiral Richardson, Acting Chief of Naval Operations, and Colonel Eichelberger, of the General Staff, U. S. A.

On the basis of what I know thus far of the situation, of past experience, and of what seem to be the possibilities of the immediate future, it seems to me desirable to act on the recommendation of the Commander-in-Chief of the Asiatic Fleet, which has been approved by the American Consul General at Shanghai, and to recommend that we send Marines from the United States.

(Note: I am not oblivious of the fact that political considerations within the United States need to be taken into account. I am recommending, however, the procedure which seems to me most sound and practicable from point of view of the problem presented in the Far East from the angles of (1) giving adequate protection to our nationals and interests and (2) best serving the interests of this country in the field of international relations.)

(Note: Since dictating the above, I have had a conference with officers of the Navy Department and Marine Headquarters. These officers have given me full details with regard to the 6th Regiment, U. S. Marines, which is ready at San Diego, with regard to sailing possibilities, time factor, etc. General Holcomb strongly recommends that, if Marines be sent from this country, the whole Regiment (1,200 men) rather than only 1,000 men be sent. This seems to me altogether reasonable.

(We have in the Philippines, at Cavite, less than 400 Marines. Of these, 102 men and 2 officers are now on their way to Shanghai.)

S[tanley] K. H[ornbeck]