U.S. advises evacuation from Far East (2-13-41)

Reading Eagle (February 13, 1941)

Citizens in Far Eastern danger zones urged to return home
Shanghai, Feb. 13 (UP) –
American women, children and non-essential men in Far Eastern danger areas are being advised urgently to return home at once in the interests of their own safety and convenience and the national security, it was disclosed today.

The American consulate general here circularized Americans, on special instructions from the State Department at Washington, and soon afterward a United Press Tokyo dispatch disclosed that American consular authorities in Japan had received similar instructions.

A Japanese Dōmei broadcast heard in New York, reported that Sir John Latham, Australian Minister, visited the Tokyo Foreign Office today and conferred lengthily with Foreign Minister Yōsuke Matsuoka on the “general situation between Japan and Australia.”

Australian council called

Soon after the announcement of the warning, the Australian Advisory War Council was suddenly adjourned on receipt of cablegrams from abroad. An emergency meeting of the Australian War Cabinet, with the chiefs of the fighting services and the British Commander-in-Chief ion attendance, was called at Sydney for tomorrow to consider a Far Eastern situation “of the utmost gravity.”

At the same time, the Netherlands Consul ordered two Netherlands East Indies merchant ships into Manila Harbor and it was reported that other Netherlands Indies ships were being radioed to proceed to neutral harbors.

A usually reliable informant here asserted that a Japanese battlefleet had been suddenly concentrated off Haiphong, French Indochina.

Previously Japanese warships had arrived off Bangkok, Thailand, 800 miles from Singapore, and British and Australian Air Force reinforcements had been sent up the Malay Peninsula from Singapore.

Reports came from Bangkok, Thailand, that the Netherlands East Indies government announced at Batavia that the Netherlands government had advised Japan that the conduct of all Netherlands East Indies foreign relations was exclusively in the hands of the London government. It was added that Japan acknowledged that the position was now very clear.

Several weeks ago, the Netherlands government had made representations to Japan against its manner of conducting alleged economic negotiations with the Netherlands East Indies government. Japan had in effect rejected these representations.

Thailand denied that it had granted Japan the use of its airports, but said that negotiations just completed would permit Japan to put commercial planes on the route between Saigon, Indochina, and Bangkok.

New warning urgent

Advice to Americans to leave all Far Eastern trouble areas had been given on orders from Washington months ago, but the new warning was of urgent nature.

Manila had reported yesterday a United States Army announcement that about 400 wives and other dependents of American Army men in the Philippines would leave for home within a week.

Manila heard also that additional women and children would be evacuated on six Army transports now on the way to the Philippines with supplies and reserve officers.

Precaution, Hull says

Washington, Feb. 13 (UP) –
Secretary of State Cordell Hull today confirmed reports that U.S. consular offices in the Far East have been instructed to renewed suggestions that women, children and “non-essential” men leave that area.

In response to questions, Hull said this was a renewal of suggestions made some time ago and conforms with the policy consistently followed by the United States in reference to disturbed conditions in Europe and Asia.

The suggestions, he added, represent simply a precautionary measure relating to the safety of American citizens.