125.267/8–2049: Telegram

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

299. ConGen officially closed 5:30 p. m. August 19 but is maintaining skeleton staff time being for emergency services to Americans and winding up administrative details. British ConGen has instructions accept custody official property.

As anticipated, closing ConGen had negligible influence on decision Americans whether remain for Communist occupation. Nearly all US citizens now here represent organs and would leave only upon instructions [Page 1321] from their head offices in US. In general business firms have issued such orders while philanthropic organs have not.

ConGen has only two requests for assistance in evacuations; only handful Americans have left for Hong Kong during past week and most of these had previously decided depart.

Once housekeeping details substantially all arranged there will be little if any practical purpose maintaining skeleton staff ConGen Canton, particularly in absence appreciable evacuation movement US citizens and with consular records already in Hong Kong. Canton already threatened in that Communists apparently quite capable reaching city in matter few days or anticipating such advance by organizing local turnover. There is no assurance of course that other objectives may not have preference over Canton and that Communists may not delay entering city for 2 weeks or more. However possibility ConGen skeleton staff being cut off obviously increasing daily. Herrick,49 Millet,50 Dunn,51 Waller,52 Swayne53 and Lynch54 already in Hong Kong and Beck55 in Taipei. About half remaining 10 Americans on ConGen staff expected fly out Monday and unless instructed to contrary I plan accompany remainder staff to Hong Kong Tuesday or Wednesday.56

Clark concurs.

Rankin
  1. Thaddeus A. Herriek, Vice Consul.
  2. Charles S. Millet, Consul.
  3. William B. Dunn, Vice Consul.
  4. Athlyrie B. Waller, construction supervisor, Foreign Buildings Office.
  5. Kingdon w. Swayne, Vice Consul.
  6. Norma R. Lynch, clerk-typist.
  7. Anna C. Beck, secretary.
  8. Mr. Rankin assumed charge as Consul General at Hong Kong at close of business September 15.