The Consul at Tsingtao (Strong) to the Secretary of State
[Received December 27—6:41 a.m.]
238. Estimate (refmytel 401 to Embassy, repeated Department 234, December 23) still being revised. From conversation yesterday with, planning officer gathering Admiral Badger swinging to view should retain entire Marine force ashore supported from ships; at time withdrawal necessary, would leave small force ashore protect lives, property during turnover.
Communist official Tsingtao of unknown rank in informal talk with West of Presbyterian mission stated Communists here already organized, could take over short notice, expect do so in about 2 months; Chinese Army, Navy, police infiltrated, believe people would remain quiet; fear only possible looting by Chinese soldiers. Expressed expectation small Marine force would remain help Communists keep order. Said Marines would not be molested; Communists desire avoid incidents in order assure future trade with US.
I am of opinion if Marines not withdrawn until majority Nationalist troops leave, turnover will be peaceful and no need for Marine detachment remain ashore. Bulk of population realizes Communists will punish looters or saboteurs, thus will remain quiet. If significant number Nationalist troops remain, small group carefully selected indoctrinated Marines desirable. West’s Communist contact requesting [Page 344]higher Communist official enter Tsingtao for conversation reference take over. I am not seeking interview but feel desirable accede to request by Communist official for informal meeting.
Sent Nanking 407; repeated Department 238.