U.S. Citizens to Evacuate from East Asia (10-8-40)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 8, 1940)


’Uncertainty’ of Conditions Cited; Britain Fears Far East Crisis

Washington, Oct. 8 (UP) –

The United States today advised Americans to return home from the Far East, and the British Ambassador here said that his nation feared a “general crisis” in that area.

The State Department’s advice to leave while the leaving is good applied to Americans in Japan, Korea, Manchukuo, China, Hong Kong, Formosa and Indo-China. No mention was made of Americans in the Netherlands East Indies or the Philippines.

The action was announced by the State Department shortly before President Roosevelt conferred with British Ambassador Lord Lothian, who disclosed he had planned to fly to London today, but had cancelled the plan because of expected trouble in the Far East.

Lord Lothian said he had received instructions from the British Foreign Office.

They think there may be a general crisis in the Far East. Under those circumstances they told me I’d better stay here.

State Department officials indicated that consideration might be given soon to the question of whether or not to withdraw U.S. Marines from China.

16,883 Americans Now Live in Asia
By Robert Bellaire, United Press Staff Writer

Shanghai, Oct. 8 –

United States consuls in the Far East have received State Department instructions to advise all Americans to evacuate the Japanese empire, Manchukuo, China, Korea, Indo-China and Hong Kong.

Admiral Thomas C. Hart, United States Navy commander-in-chief in the Far East, was understood to be preparing orders to wives of United States Navy men to leave for the United States.

It was reported that some American ships might be diverted to Chinese ports to facilitate evacuation.

There were 16,883 U.S. citizens in the Far East, according to the latest figures available at the State Department. Of this number, 7,064 were in China, 128 in French Indo-China, 1,547 in Hong Kong and 8,145 in Japan.

A London dispatch today said Great Britain is considering the evacuation of British subjects from "certain Far Eastern areas."

American shipping lines prepared for a flood of applications for passage.

Informed quarters said the move was obviously intended to give Washington a free hand in dealing with Japan without fear of Japanese retaliation against Americans.

The news caused a profound impression in Japanese circles. American consular officials said evacuation is not a matter of hours or days, but that it is advisable to leave as soon as facilities are available.

There is no reason for panic, it was said.

It was understood that the speed with which Americans will be evacuated will depend on ships available and it was believed that many men with important business interests would not leave immediately. Women and children were expected to leave as soon as possible.


The Pittsburgh Press (October 10, 1940)

By A. T. Steele

Kunming, China, Oct. 10 –

We Americans in the interior of China got our first intimation, through the radio last night of Washington’s decision to advise the evacuation of United States citizens from the danger zones of the Far East. The announcement caused a mild shock among China’s large American community, which is now confronted with the difficult question of heeding or ignoring the State Department’s warning.

The American exodus from Japanese-occupied regions, where means of potential escape are fewer, undoubtedly will be heavier than from friendly “free China.” Indications are that great majority of Americans residing in the unoccupied interior of China will decide to stay.

The Chinese wishfully interpret the American move as bringing a step nearer their secret hope of a Japanese-American conflict.