125.267/8–1449: Telegram

The Chargé in China ( Clark ) to the Secretary of State

Cantel 944. Re telCan 577 [557], August 12 and ConGentel 267, August 8. Rankin taking preliminary steps toward closing ConGen Canton. We have discussed matter from all angles; are convinced that even preliminary measures toward closing will become known and fact of closure become public information very quickly, Order avoid rumor-mongering and irresponsible reporting which almost certain have repercussions damaging to Chinese Government once American community informed, we both feel strongly wisest issue press release immediately either by Department or Embassy along following lines;

“The American Embassy has been instructed to close the American ConGen at Canton and to withdraw all official American personnel should that city be threatened with occupation by Communist forces. No date has been set for the actual closure since it depends on military activities.

This decision is the direct result of the Communists’ refusal to permit foreigners to exercise their normal functions in Communist-occupied areas contrary to all precepts of international law and custom. Experience to date in Communist areas has indicated that American consular officers are not permitted to perform any of their normal functions such as protection of American life, property and interests and that the Communist authorities do not afford protection from physical violence or [garble] similar action will be taken in respect [Page 1316] of the American Consulates at Chungking and Kunming should those cities ever be threatened with occupation by Communist forces.

American citizens in all these areas are being warned of this action in order that they may reconsider [garble] decisions regarding departure.

The AmCon at Tihwa already has been instructed to withdraw with his American staff since no other Americans are known to reside in that area.”

Clark