125.633/5–548: Telegram

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

813. Although next Communist military move in Manchuria is unpredictable, possibility remains that they will attempt major assault against Mukden. In light probable scale their current preparations, involving regrouping and large scale concentration, and in light of fact that Government position continues to deteriorate, we feel that next Communist assault Mukden, even if not successful, would probably be on such scale as to make further evacuation impossible. Even [Page 825] should Mukden be by-passed, as seems more likely, further evacuation might be impossible. For this reason we recommend evacuation women, children and all other non-essential persons soonest possible.

Embassy cannot find in its files that Ambassador has authorization from Department to do more than recommend an evacuation from any given post. In view of unpredictable nature of situation in various parts of China and possibility of sudden turn of events requiring rapid action, it is requested that Department authorize Ambassador in his discretion to order evacuation official American personnel from any given post to such place as he may deem appropriate. In view of the fact that developments in Manchuria bear directly and immediately upon situation in North China, Embassy proposes, and Department’s concurrence thereto is requested, to authorize American dependents who may so desire to evacuate Peiping and Tientsin. It is further proposed that all American personnel in China who may so desire be authorized to pack and ship their personnel [personal?] effects at Government expense. This authorization is believed desirable in view of accelerating deterioration of military situation in China generally and absence of evidence that any effective steps are being taken to arrest this trend.31

Department’s secret travel authorizations 8–5845, 8–5846 and 8–5847, all dated December 29, 194732 authorize travel orders for American and alien personnel and their effects to “such place or subsequent places of safety in China as may be designated by the officer in charge”. It is requested that these authorizations be amended to permit the Ambassador in his discretion to order such travel. In view of crowded housing conditions in all major centers of China and the possibility that considerable numbers of persons might be involved, it is requested that the authorization be amended to include travel to the US at the discretion of the Ambassador. It is further requested that the authorization be extended to include 1949 fiscal year.33

Sent Department 813, repeated Mukden 84, Tientsin 66, Peiping 98.

  1. See Department’s telegram No. 697, May 7, 7 p.m., and Embassy’s telegram No. 849, May 11, 4 p.m., vol. vii, pp. 815 and 817, respectively.
  2. None printed.
  3. Additional instructions were transmitted to the Ambassador in China in airgram No. A-107, May 19, which stated in part: “Authority is extended to order or approve evacuation of officers and employees, their families, and their effects from posts in cities threatened by Communist occupation.” (125.633/5–548)