The Consul General at Canton (Bergholz) to the Secretary of State

No. 139

Sir: In my despatch No. 134 of September 22, 1920,43 I had the honor to call the attention of the Department to the slight control the Military Government exercises over the naval and military forces even within the harbor of Canton and cited, as examples, the case of General Lee Fu Lin Commissioner of Defence for Canton and Waichow with headquarters on the Island of Honam directly opposite Canton, and of General Wei Pang Ping Commissioner of Police at Canton, who act only in accord with the Government when they find it in their interests to do so. The friendly neutrality of these officials terminated on Sunday, the 26th instant, when they declared open rebellion against the Military Government and demanded the instant resignation of General Mo Yung-hsin the Military Governor of Kwangtung residing at Canton, and his departure from the City, threatening an attack upon him should he refuse. On the same day, General Lee Fu Lin seized the Canton-Samshui Railroad in order to delay the further bringing in of reinforcements by the Military Government.

[Page 477]

To add to the embarrassment of the Military Government, General Shen Pao Fan Commissioner of River Defence at Canton, being in control of the local navy, has joined Generals Lee and Wei in their demand upon General Mo for his resignation. …

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Yesterday afternoon, Mr. Wen Tsung-yao, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mr. Chen Chin-tao, Minister of Finance, called upon me and asked me whether I thought the Consular Body would act as mediator between General Mo and Generals Lee Fu Lin and Wei Pang Ping. I replied that if the request for our good offices should come from both sides, I was convinced my Colleagues would do everything in their power to avert the horrors of a civil war. I added that should the Military Government alone express its desire that we should approach Generals Lee and Wei, I thought we could consistently do so. They then left me and went to the British Consul General, who, however, was at Hongkong. The British Vice Consul then accompanied them to the French Consul General, the senior consul, who went at once to General Mo who agreed to meet, on neutral ground, Generals Lee and Wei, who, he said, had heretofore worked in harmony with him. Such is the situation at this time of writing and in this connection permit me to refer the Department to my Despatch No. 134 of September 22, 1920, and to my telegram of September 27th to the Legation, repeated to the Department.44

A copy of this despatch has been sent to our Legation at Peking.

I have [etc.]

Leo Bergholz
  1. Not printed.
  2. See telegram from the Minister in China, supra.