Harrison gathers intelligence for Chinese warlord

After a week in Vladivostok, Marguerite Harrison set out again, this time headed for China. She traveled by a coastal steamer to Korea, where she observed a nascent nationalist movement brewing in opposition to the Japanese rule and glimpsed the work of American missionaries trying to convert the natives to Christianity.

Later arriving in Mukden, Manchuria, she sought a meeting with the de facto dictator of the region, Chang Tso-lin. She soon encountered the slight man dressed in a long, black satin coat and small skullcap. He had never been interviewed by a woman, and he offered her a cigar. Their conversation centered on an upcoming trade summit in Chang-chun between the Japanese and Russians. Chang made it clear that he would have something to do with the trade arrangements because goods would have to pass through his district.

Chang Tso-lin was the warlord of Manchuria from 1916-1928 and military dictator of the Republic of China 1927-28.

Marguerite had agreed to cover the summit for a Japanese newspaper, and Chang asked her to deliver a personal message to the Russian representative at the conference, Adolph Joffe: Manchuria must be included in any trade agreements.

A few days later, Marguerite arrived in Chang-chun. Marguerite found the week-long summit a rather dreary affair, although not without intrigues as businessmen attempted make lucrative deals with the Russian and Japanese representatives. Ultimately, the two countries failed to reach an agreement. The Russians refused to negotiate until the Japanese had left the Sakhalin Island, and Japan would not agree to evacuate until Russian paid compensation for the destruction of Nikolaevsk.

When the conference concluded, Marguerite slipped north to Harbin, which she described as the “center of Russian intrigue in the Far East.” The town on the Sungari River contained a mix of people, including American fur traders, merchants, refugees, arms dealers, and Bolshevik agents.

After an unspecified amount of time, Marguerite returned to Mukden to give a report to Chang.

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