124.018/12–148: Telegram

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

1742. Dept refers plan retain platoon Marines and one APD83 Nanking for guard duty and possible evacuation Emb staff event mob violence develops interim between departure Govt arrival Communists.

Dept foresees following possible disadvantages use Marine guard (1) presence Marines might have inflammatory effect Chinese (2) killing or wounding Chinese result Marine action would likely inflame large mob against Emb impossible control by small Marine detachment (3) as in Mukden Communists might demand surrender all arms Emb personnel with resulting embarrassment if Marines required surrender arms and in any case withdrawal of Marines following control by Communists would doubtless be surrounded with difficulties and might well result in the perpetration of indignities on them. Dept judges Emb contemplates spreading Marines over several compounds and observes that small number Marines in each might well provide excellent opportunity agitators incite mob to violence in hope of embarrassing US rather than expected deterrent effect.

You will appreciate from foregoing that Dept’s principal concern is to provide maximum safety for Emb and that Dept has some doubts that advantages from presence Marines outweigh disadvantages and increased dangers listed above. You therefore requested reconsider request for Marines in light foregoing having in mind other offices in China face similar situation without Marine guard and considering [Page 906] whether presence Marines will substantially increase safety over reliance other protective measures such as requesting assignment Chinese police guard, electrification of wires on Emb compound wall and stationing unarmed Chinese guards. Please give Dept benefit your second thoughts regarding this matter.

Lovett
  1. High-speed destroyer-type transport.