893.00/11–2948: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Consul General at Shanghai ( Cabot )8

2077. Shanghai tel 2566 Nov 29 and Embtel 2381 Dec 1. We are disturbed by possible implications plan for mobilization international police force Shanghai which would include US forces. It is not clear whether plan envisages policing sectors, as was case in days Int Settlement, or policing entire city. If latter, would require considerable force and would involve related problem ensuring food supply for city, certain to be increased by possible influx refugees in event foreign forces to act as police, and in large degree whole machinery for administration. If policing confined to sectors, would presumably entail concentrations foreigners and would be certain to result in influx Chinese refugees in large numbers to areas under foreign police control, thus aggravating food, housing and other problems. If international police force, it would be necessary to include Soviets. Latter might refuse participate and label proceedings as western imperialistic plan assume control along pattern foreign concessions. Once police duties assumed by foreign forces, Comms might well be willing avoid Shanghai responsibilities for time being and leave in hands participating foreigners responsibility law and order and feeding city until Comms deemed time propitious take over. Comm underground which appears well organized might consider desirable utilize opportunity afforded by presence foreign forces create embroilment such forces in clashes and it seems apparent from statement urtel 2358 Nov 9 and from other indications that elements ChiGovt would welcome landing Marines and soldiers as furnishing possibility embroilment with Comms and might actually take steps effect incident which would be portrayed accordingly.

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Could not ConGen refer in conversation with Mayor Wu to subject ComNavPortFac Shanghai tel Nov 3 (021445Z, NCR 7932)9 as providing procedure in larger interests Chinese people. We note statement Shanghai tel 2580 Nov 3010 unrest expected accompany or follow turnover Shanghai area relatively unimportant consideration in minds US residents and Mayor Wu himself seems believe question chiefly one of police officials.

It is realized possible landing Marines protect US citizens and assist their evacuation would involve some danger but risks and implications seem less serious than would be involved in assumption responsibility for policing city.

In this connection Dept desires know details any emergency plans involving landing Marines Shanghai protect US citizens and assist evacuation with respect to timing, points concentration, means transportation, probable numbers Marines involved et cetera. We note statement Embtel 2381 Dec 1 (rptd Shanghai 1184) ComNavWesPac may feel obliged take “unilateral action” landing US forces protect US lives and assist emergency evacuation. It is Dept understanding that under ComNavWesPac Plan 103 this procedure would be followed only if time and circumstances did not permit communication with Ambassador or ConGen Shanghai.

  1. Repeated to the Ambassador in China as telegram No. 1756.
  2. Not found in Department files.
  3. Post, p. 900.