811.30 Asiatic Fleet/941: Telegram

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

351. Reference Shanghai’s 1083, August 14, 4 p.m. The American Marines were originally despatched to China for the protection of American citizens resident there. In my opinion it follows that a major consideration in connection with proposals now to withdraw our forces should be the safety of the remaining Americans in China whom [who?] have good and sufficient reason for continuing [to live?] and work here. The presence of our Marines in China, their conduct, and the manner in which their commanding officers have met the problems confronting them, has been one of the most important factors in insuring the safety of our nationals during past years.

I do not believe that the Marines should be withdrawn from China unless and until it becomes evident to the American Government that relations with Japan have deteriorated to the point where a rupture appears inevitable, when, if the Marines are withdrawn, facilities [Page 556] should also immediately be afforded for the withdrawal of Americans who do not elect to remain on their own responsibility.

I would dislike to see us scuttle prematurely. At this isolated point and with the limitations on information available to me, I am not in a position to judge whether the time has arrived for withdrawal. If such withdrawal takes place, we may be certain that the situation in Shanghai will deteriorate rapidly whether or not hostilities between the United States and Japan ensue, and the position of Americans in China generally will be adversely affected.

Sent to the Department, repeated to Peiping and Shanghai.