The Ambassador in China (Stuart) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 4—12:20 a.m.]
193. During course of Admiral Cooke’s6 visit here yesterday, two matters arose on which you may care to act:
- Admiral Cooke tentatively plans to increase Marine strength at Tsingtao, now some 1900, to between 4300 and 4800 in connection with evacuation of Marines from Peiping–Tientsin area. Embassy considers such a step as most undesirable politically. It is to be expected that when Marines in Peiping–Tientsin areas are no longer available as target for criticism, Marines and 7th Fleet at Tsingtao and Army Advisory Group, Nanking will become the recipients. Such a large number of Marines at Tsingtao will give an appearance of validity to the charge, which will no doubt be leveled, that U. S. is building up a base on Chinese soil. Furthermore, no such number can be justified as required by the Navy training program. Contrariwise, from a psychological and political point of view, Embassy would advocate reduction in number of Marines below 1900 and substitution of sailors in policing and guarding supply, and training installations at Tsingtao.
- Admiral Cooke expressed the opinion that since American mediation was over, he could “turn the spotlight on the U. S. Naval training project”. Admiral Cooke said that you had previously objected to publicity because of its possible effect on your negotiations, and he therefore conceived that only impediment has now been removed. He indicated that he was interested in having the Generalissimo7 inspect the training center program and in every suitable way make the Chinese aware that a Navy was being built up in order to raise the morale of Chinese cadets. Similarly, General Lucas,8 prompted by U. S. press correspondents, has raised with Embassy the question of publicity of the activities of Army Advisory Group but has readily agreed not to take any action in that direction without Embassy’s prior concurrence.
Embassy regards as undesirable publicity for the activities of AAG and NAG9 which operate on a limited, informal and tenuous basis. [Page 945] In any case, an increase in number of Marines at Tsingtao and publicity are hardly compatible. It would be helpful to have your views in the premises.
- Adm. Charles M. Cooke, Jr., Commander, U. S. Naval Forces, Western Pacific (ComNavWesPac).↩
- Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, President of the National Government of the Republic of China.↩
- Maj. Gen. John P. Lucas, Chief of the U. S. Army Advisory Group in China.↩
- Army Advisory Group and Naval Advisory Group, respectively.↩