125.267/8–849: Telegram

The Consul General at Canton ( Rankin ) to the Secretary of State

267. Concur Clark’s recommendation third paragraph Cantel 883 August 5 in event US has decided on policy hampering Chinese Communists by such steps as giving tangible aid to guerrilla leaders and tacitly approving Nationalist sea blockade. In this case, or if US contemplates complete hands off policy for visible future, it would clarify matters if Department made immediate public announcement of intention close all or nearly all US Government offices in China. This should expedite decisions by missionary, business and other American groups on withdrawal their US personnel. In case of Canton it obviously desirable any decision close Consulate General be announced as long as possible before Communist takeover, preferably this week, to permit orderly withdrawal private and official groups. Coordination with British much to be desired but should not delay US action.

Third alternative policy involving early intimation to Communists of US intention recognize their regime under specified conditions might suggest desirability maintaining at least skeleton staff certain consular offices to provide continuity and perhaps lessen practical difficulties of reopening.

Fully appreciate difficulty reaching policy decisions quickly under present circumstances but believe highly desirable that question maintenance Canton Consulate General be decided in light general US policy toward China. In fairness to all American groups here, however, announcement of any decision to close Consulate General should not be delayed. Nearness of Hong Kong would permit that office assume Canton’s routine consular functions for this region.

Rankin