The Consul at Tsingtao (Strong) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 20—4:26 a. m.]
36. January 20 “Blue Flag” telegram from CNO to Badger received recently stated probability gradual withdrawal Marines begin February reduce to battalion which remain ashore 2 to 3 months, recreation facilities and YMCA be continued, administrative unit and shore patrols remain ashore. Badger appears react favorably foregoing. If Marine battalion remains, expect will occupy US Government-owned [Page 1195]naval barracks, 1 Kuangsi Road. Air base rapidly being stripped to operate only four transports, escort carrier arrived today replace Marine fighter squadron. Main problem now destination shore based naval equipment supplies for which most of required shipping now here, remainder due shortly.
Consul General believes local conditions favorable retention battalion ashore approximately 2 months. Also would meet local need as outlined final paragraph mytel 401 to Embassy, repeated Department 234, December 23.7 However, relatively clean break in nature of removal other Marines and shore based naval establishment not essential support battalion and recreation would seem preferable to gradual reduction standpoint local recreation, easing Navy logistics problem, readiness for final loading should events here move more rapidly than anticipated.
Only one American clerk now on duty Consulate General. View necessity employ slow Department’s strip cipher, please advise whether this and previous similar telegrams reference naval activities here and communications between Badger and Navy Department duplicate information otherwise available.
Sent Department 36, repeated Nanking 41.