893.0146/827: Telegram

The Second Secretary of Embassy in China (Pilcher) to the Secretary of State

280. Peiping’s 279, August 20, 3 p.m.43

The matter was also discussed with Colonel Turnage, the commandant of the American Embassy guard, who stated that he as senior Commandant of the Embassy guards at Peiping has taken cognizance of the gap made in the common defense of the diplomatic quarter by the withdrawal of the British Embassy guard and has revised his defense plans accordingly. Colonel Turnage stated further that no occupation or patrol of the British Embassy compound by United States marines has been requested nor will it be permitted except in those subjecting the occupants thereof to grave peril or distress and then only upon the request of the appropriate officials of the governments concerned and with the approval (time permitting) of the Commander in Chief of the United States Asiatic Fleet.44 He added that the above plan, a relief measure for humanitarian reasons and which has the approval of the Commander in Chief of the United States Asiatic Fleet, has not been divulged here nor will it be divulged unless a grave situation arises demanding such military action. Colonel Turnage also stated that no inquiry has yet been made by the British or other powers relative to the defense of the British Sector which comprised only their compound.
A few days ago Colonel Turnage discussed with me confidentially the matter of the withdrawal of the British guard from Peiping and the necessity of taking cognizance of this in the defense plans of the quarter. A copy of the memorandum of the conversation is being forwarded to the Department by despatch.45

Sent to the Department. Repeated to Chungking and Shanghai.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Adm. Thomas C. Hart.
  3. Despatch not printed.