393.1115/1–248: Airgram

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

A–1. With reference to Embassy telegram No. 2469 of December 30,1 there is quoted below the full text of a circular telegram to the Consular offices at Changchun, Mukden, Tientsin, Peiping, Tsingtao. and Hankow:2

“In view of highly fluid state present hostilities and evidences increasing Communist efforts arouse anti-American feeling we consider that preliminary warning to American citizens is advisable. Accordingly you are authorized to caution American citizens residing interior points of dangers of residence close to areas of hostility, of probable inability Consulates give last minute warnings or effect evacuation and to advise withdrawal to points of greater safety.

“Bearing in mind probable adverse effect on morale local Chinese and on Chinese Govt’s position of such advice to Americans at this time, you are cautioned to carry out this instruction as discreetly as circumstances your district permit. In so far as possible this advice should be communicated orally.

“We believe it desirable that all non-essential personnel from interior points north of the Yangtze River and east of Sian should be withdrawn while regularly scheduled commercial air facilities are available or while it is still possible to arrange for special charter flights by commercial companies, leaving in those areas only personnel who would be disposed to remain even under Communist control. You should point out that air transportation is the only reasonably safe means of evacuation at present time and its continued availability depends upon unmolested access to landing fields. You should also point out that if further delay ensues in withdrawing personnel from interior points it is possible that situations may arise where with the best of will it would be impossible to dispatch United States aircraft because of lack of landing facilities at destination.

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“Although we do not wish to appear alarmist it is our thought at the present time that it would be better for Americans to be concentrated in areas such as the Shanghai-Nanking-Hangchow triangle, Tsingtao, Tientsin, Peiping and Hankow where if the situation continues to worsen evacuation could be effected with greater prospects of success.

“Shanghai being separately instructed to approach head offices missionary organizations and commercial concerns there. Foreign Office being informed in general terms of our action.”