The Consul General at Shanghai (Gauss) to the Ambassador in China (Johnson)23

No. 900

Sir: I have the honor to enclose, as of possible interest to the Embassy, copy of a letter24 which the Consulate General addressed several months ago to American citizens residing at interior places in the Shanghai consular district (except Nanking), requesting cooperation in compiling data which might be of assistance in event of any emergency in China in which the safety and protection of American citizens in the Shanghai district would become a matter for consideration.

In consultation with the heads of Missions at Shanghai, the Consulate General prepared a selected list of Americans to whom the [Page 564] letter was addressed, seeking so far as possible to include outstanding Americans who might be relied upon to cooperate in a cordial, discreet and intelligent manner. Steps were also taken so far as possible to provide for the delivery of the letters by hand, through the Mission offices at Shanghai which handed them to the American addressees when they came to Shanghai on mission or other business, or delivered them to other Americans who were proceeding to the interior to the places for which the letters were intended. In this way the inquiries were distributed without the necessity of resorting to the mails except in a very limited number of cases.

The response has been both prompt and gratifying, and the Consulate General now has a reasonably complete file of information on American citizens and interior places at which they reside for immediate reference in any emergency.

It has been found that the outline sent by my letter has been followed in most cases, and sketch maps have usually been provided. In many cases the desired information has been given by notes on the original outline. In future the outline will be so prepared as to make it possible for all persons to follow this course if they desire.

The Consulate General understands that some plan for the concentration and protection of Americans at Nanking has been made by the Nanking office of the Embassy. No attempt has been made to cover Nanking in the information being compiled at this Consulate General. It is believed, however, that it would be useful in any emergency to have available at Shanghai the plan devised at Nanking. Perhaps you may see fit to instruct the Nanking office of the Embassy to supply a copy.

The Consulate General also has in mind reviving and laying down in outline form for ready reference in any emergency, the plan for the concentration and protection of Americans at Shanghai, originally adopted during my temporary assignment to this post in 1926–7, and later used in 1932 as the basis for emergency plans during the crisis here. Unfortunately, however, the staff situation at Shanghai has not permitted this work to be undertaken up to this time, and I fear that the matter cannot be reached for some few months.

Respectfully yours,

C. E. Gauss
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Consul General at Shanghai in despatch No. 888, July 13; received August 9.
  2. Not printed.