393.1115/8–1649: Telegram

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

TelCan 580. Dept issued following press release today:39

“The following notice was issued on July 26 in Canton to Americans in the provinces of Kwangtung, Kwangsi, Fukien, Kiangsi and Hunan:40

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  • ‘Reference is made to the statement issued by the American Consulate General, Canton, on November 16, 1948, warning American citizens residing in this consular district who were not prepared to remain under possibly hazardous conditions that they should plan at once to move to places of safety.41 In view of the renewal of hostilities in southern China, this warning is now being repeated in order that American citizens in areas which may be affected by the renewal of hostilities in southern China may give the most serious consideration to the possible jeopardy in which they may be placed should they remain in the areas in question.
  • ‘In this regard attention is called to the fact that the Chinese Communist authorities have thus far, in areas under their control, demonstrated in many cases an inability or unwillingness to afford adequate protection to foreigners or to safeguard their individual liberties, particularly in connection with arrest, detention, trial and mob action. Moreover, no satisfactory procedure has thus far been afforded foreigners wishing to secure permits for exit from China or even for travel between points in Communist-controlled China.
  • ‘In view of the possibility that communications may be seriously disrupted in the near future, Americans are advised to utilize existing transportation facilities while they are still available.’

“The Department of State has now instructed the American Consulate General at Canton to close and to withdraw all official American personnel should that city at any time in the future be threatened with occupation by the Chinese Communist forces.

“This decision has ‘been reached in the light of the failure of the Chinese Communist authorities to comply with the usual requirements of international intercourse and their refusal to permit American consular officials in Communist-occupied areas to perform their normal functions, particularly the protection of American nationals and their interests. The Chinese Communist authorities themselves have in some cases failed to afford protection from physical violence or mob action despite explicit publicly expressed assurances by Chinese Communist leaders that foreign nationals and their property would be given appropriate protection. Moreover, the Communist authorities at Shanghai have not established appropriate and adequate facilities for the issuance of exit permits to American citizens desiring to leave China.

“American citizens in areas which may be threatened with occupation by the Chinese Communist forces are being notified of this action in order that they may reach their decisions with respect to departure in full knowledge of the circumstances.”

Canton, Chungking and Kunming should inform American citizens their consular districts.

  1. For statement on the anticipated closing of the Consulate General at Canton, see Department of State Bulletin, August 29, 1949, p. 318.
  2. Ibid., August 8, 1949, p. 197.
  3. Department of State Bulletin January 2, 1949, pp. 28, 29.