The Consul at Tsingtao (Strong) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 12—11:35 p. m.]
8. Remytel 1, repeated Nanking 3, January 4. Badger visited by Mayor and Chinese Army Commander here January 4 reference departure naval forces. These visits plus widespread rumor in Tsingtao among foreigners as well as upper class Chinese and merchants, led him to make press statement (in today’s newspaper) no question of withdrawal, US Navy will maintain adequate forces in Western “Pacific including Tsingtao, other Chinese waters. Stated had ordered Marines cease discussions reference return Marine compound to Shantung University which begun after recent request by Minister Education.
Understood CNO has just queried Badger reference press statement credited Marine sources that Marines to be withdrawn. Badger now recognizes premature action taken which should have awaited clarification redeployment plans and decision on timing announcement, Actions such as 30 day notices on practically all Navy leased property led officers and men to talk freely and gave information to Chinese that move would be made within month.
Badger, January 5, requested me inform Americans and British Consul General (who to advise British subjects) that redeployment forces ashore not mean Navy abandoning Tsingtao; when more protection can be given foreign lives, property, by floating force; Tsingtao will be used as main anchorage naval force with recreation facilities under his control ashore; he will give ample public warning should forces abandon Tsingtao and will then carry civilians to safety.
Have agreed pass this information informally as opportunity offers but have instructed Consulate General staff preface such remarks with words “Admiral Badger says”. Consul General is still embarrassingly “in the middle”. Still suggesting those Americans, not intending remain permanently, leave early date.
Badger has alerted shore based forces for 15 day move onto ships on signal.
Sent Department; repeated Nanking 12.