The Vice Consul in Chargé at Canton (Adams) to the Secretary of State

No. 164

Sir: I have the honor to report that in a general circular dated October 23, 1920, Tsen Chuen Hsuan, Chairman of the Administrative Council of the Military Government, announced his resignation and urged the southwestern provinces to cancel their independence and resume allegiance to the Peking Government. A free translation of the circular is enclosed.47 Shortly after the issuance of this notice the various officials began winding up the affairs of the Military Government. Wen Tsung-yao, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chen Chin-tao, Minister of Finance, Tsen Chuen Hsuan, Chairman of the Administrative Council, and Yang Yung-tai, Civil Governor, left Canton for North China on October 23, 26, 27 and 27 [28?], respectively. The above action, which had been under contemplation for some time, was precipitated by the evacuation of Waichow on or about October 22 and the fall of Sheklung on or about October 26.

On October 27, 1920, Military Governor Mo Yung-hsin issued a notice cancelling the independence of Kwangtung and expressing his intention of withdrawing from Canton and stating that upon his withdrawal the responsibility for the maintenance of order in Canton [Page 481] would fall upon the newly elected Military Governor, Tang Ting Kwang, whose “inauguration” was described in this Consulate General’s despatch No. 150 dated October 19, 1920,48 to the Department. A free translation of Mo Yung-hsin’s circular is enclosed.48

On October 28, 1920, General Mo’s representatives failed to attend a conference which had been arranged for the discussion of the terms of his proposed evacuation of Canton and inquiry developed the fact that he too had disappeared. His troops have, it appears, been quietly departing from Canton and the East River district for Kwangsi via the North River during the past few days. It is quite evident that General Mo has ceased to be a factor in the local situation.

In the evening of October 28, 1920, the Kwangsi soldiers then controlling the arsenal seriously damaged the plant by causing explosions and setting fire to the buildings. The wreck of the arsenal is now in the hands of Kwangtung forces. It is thought that the uncalled for destruction of this valuable property will leave in Kwangtung a feeling of intense bitterness towards Kwangsi.

On October 29, 1920, skirmishing took place between Cantonese and Kwangsi soldiers at the Canton terminal of the Yueh Han railway and in front of the Civil Governor’s office. Stray bullets from the fighting at the railway station fell into the foreign concession of Shameen but without serious results. The result of the fighting was a few casualties and the surrender of the Kwangsi soldiers concerned.

Several thousands of General Chen Chiung Ming’s troops entered Canton on October 29, 1920, and the city and its environs are now firmly under the control of Generals Chen Chiung Ming, Wei Pang Ping, and Lee Fu Lin. It is thought that there is no longer a likelihood of serious conflicts between Kwangsi and Kwangtung forces in or near Canton, though whether the various Cantonese factions will be able to amicably agree upon the personnel of the various official positions remains to be seen. The consensus of opinion here seems to be that Wu Ting-fang, Tang Shao-yi, Sun Yat-sen, and Tang Chiyao, who constitute a majority of the seven Administrative Directors of the Military Government and who are, thus far, on friendly terms with the forces now controlling Canton, will ignore the action taken by Tsen Chuen Hsuan and Mo Yung-hsin in winding up the affairs of the Military Government and cancelling Kwangtung’s independence. It is thought they will proceed on the old basis and seek to renew peace negotiations with the North.

General Wei Pang Ping, to whom Yang Yung-tai prior to his departure, delivered the Civil Governor’s seal of office, has, apparently, [Page 482] declined to act as civil governor and Tang Ting Kwang is now acting both as Military Governor and as Civil Governor.

The gist of the contents of this despatch was communicated to the Legation at Peking by telegraph on October 26, 27, 28, and 29, 1920.

Copies of this despatch are being sent to the American Legation at Peking and to the American Consul at Swatow.

I have [etc.]

Walter A. Adams
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