811.3393/2–1449: Telegram

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

384. Acting President13 sent for me last night to ask if departure US Navy from Tsingtao could be delayed few weeks. His reasons are that continued presence US naval base Tsingtao during critical phase peace discussions with Communists strengthens position Nationalist Government. He has reason believe Communists will not attack any Nationalist positions during this period. Nevertheless complete evacuation Tsingtao US naval forces this time would likely weaken bargaining position his government. I said I would convey his request promptly [to] my Government.

I feel we should support Acting President in any reasonable suggestion which he feels will be helpful Nationalist cause at this time. It has occurred to me ComNavWesPac might slow down to extent still operationally feasible his present move out Tsingtao so that some units US Navy will continue there over next few weeks, should Li’s peace efforts be thus extended. I am not suggesting reversal policy or decisions already taken but rather extension time limit permit more deliberate withdrawal. This I believe would answer Li’s purpose.

This being repeated Tsingtao for Badger who I assume will comment directly CNO.

Sent Department 384; repeated Tsingtao 32.

Stuart
  1. Vice President Li Tsung-jen, President Chiang having retired on January 21.