124.936/1–2249: Telegram

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

187. In view attitude of Communists toward Consul General [at] Mukden11 and indications of similar attitude in Tientsin, we believe time has come to review our policy re size of staffs permitted to go behind Iron Curtain. Should government actually move Canton and should we send mission with it, those remaining Nanking would have little to do until arrival Communists. Even then it appears considerable time may elapse before establishment successor [to] Nationalist government with which Embassy could deal. If staff is to be kept incommunicado and Communists treat personnel as private individuals pending recognition by US of Communist government as may be indicated, there would seem little need retain large staff Nanking. This would appear particularly true if our interests should dictate continuing support National regime or others resisting Communism. Should events lead to recognition Communist government, staff could later be strengthened. In meantime services of personnel which would be surplus under such conditions could be used elsewhere. Accordingly should situation develop as we envisage, we recommend following:

Clark would take to Canton with him: Lancaster, Link, Norton, Woodworth, Waseman, Moses, Maeliang and Dr. Ho.
Available for transfer would be: Terry, Aimer, Coty, Doucette, Fer, Gibson, Green, Hall, Hordern, Krueger, Mead, Pond, Kierman, Sullivan, Swierczek, Thomson and Mincey.

[Page 661]

Status Merchant12 presents special problem. Behind Iron Curtain Nanking, his talents would be wasted. Should our policy result in continued support Nationalist Government in Canton and resistance forces elsewhere, his services in Canton could prove of extreme value. Accordingly we recommend that he proceed on provisional basis to Canton with Clark.

There would in our opinion still remain Nanking adequate staff to carry on until situation clarified.

Sent Department 187, repeated Shanghai 92 (for Cabot).

  1. For further documentation, see pp. 933 ff.
  2. Livingston T. Merchant, Counselor of Embassy in China.