893.30 Mission/4–147: Telegram

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

712. Admiral Cooke, accompanied by Admiral Boone and other members of his immediate staff, came of his own initiative to Nanking this morning. Apparently he had been unable to obtain satisfaction with respect to the proviso of General Marshall in the matter of the activation of the Naval Advisory Group. In this connection, it will be recalled, that as reported in my 554, March 13, 3 p.m., on his previous visit to Nanking, he at first said that he was unaware that such a proviso had been made in the meeting and later expressed surprise that clearing with War Department had not been taken care of by the Navy Department in routine fashion. On this occasion it was his purpose to obtain from the Embassy, by dint of insistent questioning and pressure, a recommendation that the Embassy would either make direct to the Department or as an oral statement that he would use in communication to the Navy Department to the effect that in the Embassy’s opinion immediate activation of the naval group was called for. Needless to say, both Butterworth27 and I maintained the attitude that the decision regarding the activation of the Naval Advisory Group had been made by the Secretary of State in conference with the Secretary of Navy and that its fulfilment must take place in Washington; the Embassy’s role at this time was to await instructions which it would energetically attempt to implement upon arrival.

In this connection Admiral Cooke sought to ferret out personal opinions or possible prejudices but without success and in the end accommodated himself to the fact that he was requesting unsuccessfully that the Embassy act in an improper fashion. No action of the Department is required now in connection with the foregoing.

Admiral Cooke made available the press release which the Navy Department had instructed him to issue verbatim today and the one to be issued tomorrow with the contents of which he was given some latitude. Embassy suggested the removal of certain references to turning over surplus property to the Chinese by the Marines, which he accepted.

Other matters that were brought up for discussion will be reported separately.

  1. W. Walton Butterworth, Minister-Counselor of Embassy in China.