The Secretary of the Navy (Sullivan) to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: Commander, U. S. Naval Forces Western Pacific, in his despatch 300529Z (November),84 a copy of which has been furnished you, makes certain proposals which he considers are essential for the orderly evacuation of U. S. nationals from Shanghai and Nanking, and the protection of U. S. lives and property in the event of emergency. He considers that the Shanghai U. S. Army military police battalion and the Air Force personnel engaged in the partial operation of the Kiangwan Airfield at Shanghai, both of which units are now under JUSMAG command, are the most important elements in his evacuation and protection plan.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff, in acting on the proposals of Commander U. S. Naval Forces, Western Pacific, were agreeable to the retention of the aforementioned Army and Air Force personnel in their present functions in Shanghai, provided it met with concurrence of the State Department. The time of transfer of those components from JUSMAG to Vice Admiral Badger’s command they considered to be a matter for decision at an appropriate time.

As you are aware, Vice Admiral Badger has the responsibility for the coordination of sea evacuation of U. S. nationals, and other friendly foreign nationals, as dictated by humanitarian motives and as directed by the U. S. Ambassador, on a space available basis. His plan, the formulation of which was coordinated with the Ambassador, provides for the use of force as necessary for the protection of U. S. lives and property in connection with the evacuation when circumstances so dictate. It has not as yet, however, been necessary for him to land additional forces, other than the 43 marines at the Embassy, Nanking, which were requested by the Ambassador, nor is it anticipated that other than small components will be so employed in other localities with the exception of Tsingtao, which has been specifically previously provided for.

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In informal discussions with representatives of the State Department the question arose as to the limitations of Vice Admiral Badger’s authority in connection with the use of armed components to provide protection indicated by circumstances. I feel confident that you will agree that the rapidly changing situation in China necessitates vesting in the local commander the necessary authority for accomplishment of his task. If, however, the policy of the State Department be otherwise then it is essential that Vice Admiral Badger be so apprised.

It is requested that I be informed at the earliest whether you concur in the retention of the specified JUSMAG Army and Air Force components at Shanghai; if not, whether you concur in the substitution of comparable Marine forces. Further, your views are solicited as to the policy to be followed relative to the landing of minor Marine forces at other points of evacuation as may be necessary to provide for the protection of U. S. nationals and property in connection with evacuation.

Sincerely yours,

John L. Sullivan
  1. Not found in Department files.