The Consul General at Mukden (Pontius) to the Minister in China (Crane)23

No. 53

Sir: Reporting further on political conditions in this vicinity, I have the honor to state that another detachment of troops of about 1,800 belonging to the 27th Division left Mukden on the 17th instant for Langfang and other points along the Peking-Mukden Railway with a supply of foodstuffs, ammunition and artillery. These troops consisted of infantry, cavalry and coolies for military labor. Altogether the troops despatched from this locality during the past week make a total of 5,000. In all 13 trains were despatched on the 17th and 18th. General Chang Tso-lin has evidently scored an advantage on the transportation question for I am reliably informed that the Managing Director of the Peking-Mukden Railway has telegraphically instructed the railway officials at Mukden to let him have as many cars as needed and to afford every facility for the transportation of troops.

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General Chang Tso-lin has now given the British Consul General an assurance that the British rights on the railway would be respected and that the interests of the bondholders would be safeguarded. General Chang insists nevertheless that he would exercise the right to possess himself of a share of the surplus funds. In this connection there is enclosed copy of a despatch which I have sent today to Chang Tso-lin which action was subsequent to a telegram received from Consul General Fuller at Tientsin. The telegram was somewhat mutilated in transit and I assumed that the message was transmitted at the behest of the Legation.

I have [etc.]

Albert W. Pontius

The American Consul General at Mukden (Pontius) to the Military Governor of Fengtien (Chang Tso-lin)

Your Excellency: I have just received a telegram from the American Legation to the following effect:

It is understood that Your Excellency is today making a demand upon the Peking-Mukden Railway authorities for such a large sum of money that the ability of the railway to meet its obligations will be very seriously affected. I am instructed to inform you that the greater part of this indebtedness is due an American corporation and amounts to approximately $3,000,000. I am further instructed to call your attention to the necessity of leaving in the Railway Treasury not only sufficient funds earmarked to meet these obligations but also an additional amount must be provided for which is necessary to ensure the payment of the outstanding debt to the American corporation. My attention is called to the fact that yesterday His Excellency Tsao Jui, Civil Governor of Chihli Province, gave an assurance that the foregoing requirements would be adhered to.

I would thank Your Excellency to likewise give me an assurance that the interests of the American corporation concerned will be fully safeguarded.

I have [etc.]

Albert W. Ponttus
  1. Copy forwarded to the Department by the consul general under covering despatch no. 73 of same date; received Aug. 17.