893.0146/917: Telegram

The Consul General at Shanghai (Lockhart) to the Secretary of State

1083. Rear Admiral Glassford60 with the concurrence of the Commanding Officer of the Fourth Marines61 at Shanghai recommended [Page 555] late yesterday to the Commander in Chief of the Asiatic Fleet62 the withdrawal of American Marines from China. Asked before the despatch of the recommendation whether it had my concurrence I replied in the affirmative. Admiral Glassford and Colonel Howard feel that the position of the Marines both here and in North China is becoming increasingly untenable from a military point of view. I concur in this view and I believe that the developments in the Far East during the past 2 months have made the position of the Marines also more untenable from a political point of view. In the case of an open break with but little or no forewarning the withdrawal of Marines would be difficult if not impossible. Administration and facility of the Marines at Shanghai is well known to the Department and to the Ambassador, but briefly, among the main factors, it might be pointed out that their functions are now becoming more and more those of a police force, thus increasing the possibility of serious incidents. Their presence apparently has not been a deterrent to the Japanese in implementing their economic policies in this area. Also the strength of the force would be wholly inadequate in the case of military operations directed against them by an organized military force. It is especially requested that Admiral Glassford’s recommendation be kept strictly confidential.

Sent to the Department, repeated to Chungking and Peiping.

  1. Rear Adm. William A. Glassford, Jr., U. S. N., commander of the Yangtze Patrol.
  2. Col. Samuel L. Howard, USMC.
  3. Adm. Thomas C. Hart.