The Commander of United States Naval Forces in the Western Pacific (Badger) to the Chief of Naval Operations (Denfeld)11
030045Z. My considered opinion:
- Nationalists suffered major reverse in loss of Weihsien and loss, capture or dispersal of Nationalist forces, arms, munitions that important area of central Shantung. Gives freedom of action and wide choice objective to more than 100,000 armed and fairly well supplied Communist troops operating in area not hostile to them and reasonably available to general and ammunition replenishment through coastal points.
- Nationalists have shown progressive tendency to weaken rather than strengthen Tsingtao defenses and appear to depend largely on presence US Forces for security. Their forces on the perimeter of Tsingtao are now inadequate to resist attack of strength, intensity and persistence of one similar that against Weihsien. The mere Communist willingness to take losses more than 25% was demonstrated.
- US Naval and Mairne Force present Tsingtao can delay or resist any probable attack against airfield or town proper few days provided decision to engage not delayed until close attack in numbers develops and provided Chinese authorities can prevent usual pattern of infiltration of leaders for dissident elements within city.
- Communists can afford to employ about 60,000 troops in attack against any objective Shantung Peninsula while retaining covering forces to fend off Nationalist interference from other directions. Further favored by lack of offensive spirit and general inertia of Nationalist forces.
Am watching developments to determine probable direction or objective next major Communist move. Tsingtao with important source of income, munitions and material stocks becomes one of 4 inviting objectives (others are Tsinan, Chefoo, Lini). Above developments and circumstances focus attention on course of action US Forces in case Tsingtao becomes Communist objective.
General courses of action:
- Assist Nationalist forces in defense of city and essential suburban facilities (airfield and water works).
- Defend installations essential to US without other local participation.
- Prompt evacuation of US personnel and forces with covering action by US Forces only as necessary.
- Evacuation now US shore establishments and non-combatants, retaining US Forces afloat in this vicinity.
From this viewpoint: Course a most advisable but without formal understanding with Chinese Government right to defend may be questioned. Also if attack should develop this course action would probably require prompt reinforcement amounting to doubling Marine Force presently available. Course b utterly impractical from military standpoint and from political standpoint in view of increased animosity toward US demonstrated by recent Communist acts and propaganda in Shantung. Course c practicable but involves abandonment of Chinese Nationalist Forces after extended [period joint] occupation and at time of greatest need. In all fairness implications should be thoroughly understood in advance. Course d practical but not now essential or recommended. This course would constitute invitation of Communists to take Tsingtao.
At present time current plans Tsingtao conform in general to course a above because of recognized importance to US position and interests in China and Far East of continued presence Naval Forces Tsingtao. Furthermore recent election of General Li Tsung-jen as Vice President, with whom I have had extended conversations, portends greater emphasis on support Nationalist position in critical area Hopei, Shantung and North China as a whole.
This is advisory that situation may require reasonable air and ground reinforcement to carry out present plans but is not to be construed as immediate cause for concern pending further unfavorable developments.
- Copy transmitted to the Department by the Navy Department about May 6.↩