The Consul General at Mukden (Pontius) to the Minister in China (Crane)20

No. 52

Sir: Reporting further on political conditions in this vicinity, I have the honor to state that, under instructions from his Minister, the local British Consul General has made representation—in the nature of a protest—to General Chang Tso-lin as follows: Exception was taken at the unwarranted seizure of locomotives and other rolling stock on the Mukden-Shanhaikwan section of the railway and General Chang was requested to conform with the arrangement made with General Tsao Kun that no locomotives, etc., were to be commandeered unless effected in cooperation with the British engineer in charge. General Chang was also notified that under no circumstances would the Diplomatic Body at Peking permit the disruption of railway communication between Tientsin and Peking. General Chang gave no definite assurance but asked that the question be put in writing and there the matter rests for the present. One interesting feature of the interview was the statement by General Chang that the recent interview he had with Dr. Ferguson21 at Mukden had at last opened his eyes to the traitorous behavior of the Anfu clique in “selling” the country to the Japanese. General Chang expressed himself very forcibly in this same connection and emphasized the fact that it was now his solemn duty to save China from the control of the pro-Japanese party.

The report that General Chang Tso-lin was about to proceed to Tientsin to take charge in person of his military expedition is not true. There is a possibility of the General proceeding to Shanhaikwan [Page 445]in the course of a day or two. It has now been ascertained that the telegram received by General Chang announcing that the former Premier Chin Yung-ping was proceeding to Mukden was forged. Railway communication from Peking has now ceased, the last train arriving early yesterday morning. A mail train for Peking was made up and despatched from Mukden this morning.

Reports have reached Mukden that fighting has already taken place between Tientsin and Peking. General Chang states that he intends to despatch all of his available troops at once to Tientsin. It is now reported that troops of the 28th Division have arrived at Langfang and vicinity. About 2,500 troops of the 27th Division left Hsinminfu bound for Tientsin during the past four days. Three ying of artillery and one ying of cavalry of the 27th Division with a large supply of ammunition and foodstuff will probably be despatched from Mukden today. Nearly one hundred cars are now held in readiness for this expedition. General Chang Tso-hsiang, Commander of the 27th Division and the Chief-of-Staff of General Chang Tso-lin, are also reported to be leaving today for Tientsin.

The arrest at Changchun is reported of Colonel Liu Chung-fan and eleven other military men accused of having been despatched by Marshal Tuan Chi-jui with the object of inducing bandits to create disturbances in various parts of South Manchuria. It is said they carried with them $120,000 with credentials from Marshal Tuan. All of the accused have been brought to Mukden for trial and as there is evidence of their guilt they will probably be executed.

I have [etc.]

Albert W. Pontius
  1. Copy forwarded to the Department by the consul general under covering despatch no. 71 of same date; received Aug. 10.
  2. John Calvin Ferguson, political adviser to the President of China.