793.94112/253: Telegram

The Consul at Foochow (Rowe) to the Secretary of State

Reference my despatch No. 84, May 29, 1939 to the Embassy.8 Tentative agreement between the Japanese and British senior naval officers present for permitting movement of British launches and lighters at Sharp Peak under certain conditions has been abrogated by the Japanese. Moreover, probably because the British approached the Japanese before consulting the Chinese naval authorities in the matter, Admiral Li Shih Chia, commanding at Mamoi, has refused all applications for permits to pass the barrier. Recently Jardine launch bearing a number of foreigners including three American passengers for Shanghai was stopped by Chinese rifle fire and forced to turn back.

As a result the port has been entirely closed for a week. At one time there were 15 ships waiting outside but most of them have departed without discharging or taking on cargoes. There has been no incoming mail since May 24 but efforts are being made to send outgoing mails overland by foot to Swatow and Ningpo.

Local shipping agents have cancelled all sailings. Increasing number [Page 786]of Americans and other nationals desiring passage and some cases are urgent.

Sent to Peiping. Repeated to Chungking, Shanghai.

Rowe
  1. Not printed.