124.936/2–2249: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in China (Stuart)17

252. AP story datelined Nanking Feb 21 reports Emb spokesman as confirming that “it has been impossible to contact ConGen Angus Ward or any member Mukden staff since Nov 18” and states staff restricted to consular compound without electricity, water service, or telephone. Report also states all efforts communicate with Ward from Nanking, Washington, Moscow, Peiping, and Dairen have failed. Dept replying to inquiries by acknowledging absence communications since Nov 18 and stating Dept making every effort reestablish communications.

Dept fails perceive any advantage gained by dissemination stories portions of which are at best unconfirmed rumors re treatment ConGen staff Mukden or by outlining efforts made establish direct contact with Mukden and believes such stories may have effect complicating any future approach Commies this subject.

Dept contemplating instructing ConGens Peiping and Hong Kong inform Comms US consular officers Mukden have now been denied communications US Govt since Nov 18, such denial understandable during period mil operations and adjustments related transfer local authority, long absence communications however contrary established [Page 939] international practice governing functioning consular offices in territory under unrecognized govts, and if this procedure settled Comm policy, US Govt must give serious consideration withdrawal Consulate from Mukden.

Embs views re such approach and its estimate precedent implications requested urgently. In meantime Emb instructed withhold addtl handouts or comments this subject.

  1. Repeated to the Minister-Counselor of Embassy in China (Clark) at Canton as telCan No. 27 and to the Consul General at Shanghai (Cabot) as telegram No. 333.