The Ambassador in China (Stuart) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 14—3 a.m.]
- Admiral Cooke apparently had the impression that it had been fully agreed that Naval Advisory Group agreement should be proceeded with forthwith and he was prepared so to notify Gimo24 with whom he has an appointment at 4 p.m. today. He did not recall General Marshall’s proviso that War Department be consulted. He was made aware of the contents of 9370425 indicating that a decision to proceed with a separate agreement should be reached only after consultation with War Department and that in War Department’s view negotiations for separate contract should not be undertaken [Page 952] unless it should be clear that Congress would not pass the military missions bill and that to date Navy Department had not approached War Department. Admiral Cooke is therefore communicating with Navy Department and both Departments will no doubt consult with you. Admiral Cooke will also refrain from informing Gimo that Washington has reached specific decision in these matters until it is clear to all concerned what the decision is that has been reached.
- Admiral Cooke indicated that D–day for Marines would probably be on or about April 28 and that no publicity would be given to this movement until shortly before it is instituted, though it will be necessary to make certain preliminary arrangements in Tsingtao for the housing of the authorized increased personnel to be stationed there. On the question of the destination of initial units to be withdrawn, Admiral Cooke indicated that unresolved administration matters did not yet permit him to make a definite commitment that initial units would not be to Tsingtao but out of China. He also made mention of the possibility—though he did not consider it likely—that the present military situation in Shantung might require a precautionary increase in strength in Tsingtao. Embassy emphasized the political and propaganda disadvantages of assignment of initial units to Tsingtao. Admiral Cooke expressed hope that he would be able to move initial units to Guam.
Embassy does not regard an emergency movement to Tsingtao as a possibility that need be seriously considered and it does not regard it in the national interest that administration problems should be permitted to interfere with what is obviously the proper course of Marine withdrawal, namely sending initial units out of China.