893.00/4–1647: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Smith) to the Acting Secretary of State

1408. Kosmos 43. From Marshall. Reference Stuart’s message April 15 transmitted as 810 and relayed here as 14, my desire for immediacy of action regarding turnover of ammunition dump at Tangku was to seize occasion to demonstrate to Communists that their hostile action merely resulted in release of ammunition to National [Page 960] Government without giving grounds for their usual attack on United States for supporting civil war in China. Also, of course, was relief of Marines from guarding this detached and vulnerable dump, further concentration of Marines, termination of embarrassment regarding disposal or removal of this ammunition, etc.

The value of my intent will be almost totally lost unless the turnover is done at once.

Since writing the above I have seen Moskco 63, which is repeat of Nanking’s 804,44 and your reply45 with which I am not in full accord.

It would appear preferable to flatly state that Marines’ strength in China is being reduced in accordance with our decision to withdraw from participation in Executive Headquarters, and that unwarranted and premeditated attacks on United States personnel by Communists has left no recourse but to turn over the ammunition to the National Government, since it is impractical to remove or destroy it and considerations of safety for our personnel does not justify long procedure of inventory and sale. [Marshall.]

  1. Not printed.
  2. Telegram No. 434, April 15, 8 p.m., to the Ambassador in China, p. 959.