811.30 Asiatic Fleet/460: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in China ( Johnson )

214. Tokyo’s 473, July 17, 1 p.m., your 361, July 19, 11 a.m.15 and recent press reports. I cannot too emphatically express my hope that no unfortunate incident will occur through the presence of American naval vessels in zones of intensive military operations. There is much more involved and at stake than what is involved in any local situation. I desire that you give intensive thought and care to the problem of there being incurred in connection with the placing and the operation of our naval vessels no unnecessary risks, either physical or political. I suggest that there be avoided express refusals to comply with Japanese or Chinese requests, suggestions or notifications; that if and when replies are made, their tone be made conciliatory; and that movements and operation of vessels be at all times [Page 159] such as to avoid fact or implication of being obstructive. I have neither authority nor desire to give commands regarding naval operations, especially at long range; but I am responsible in regard to the conducting of the foreign relations of the United States as a whole, and I am extremely solicitous that important efforts in other connections be not jeopardized by possible occurrence of unfortunate incidents in the local situation. Please give your best thought and most earnest appropriate attention to this problem and keep me fully informed of all developments and possibilities.

Repeat to Tokyo as Dept’s No. 257 and Shanghai as Dept’s No. 460.

  1. Post, p. 408.