1932 - Gen. M.A. Cohen interviewed in Manchester after leaving Hong Kong’s Peninsula Hotel for a 3 month-long trip to the U.S.A., the U.K., and Europe..jpg

Fri, 06/19/2020 - 08:10
Date picture taken


Hong Kong. At the end of September 1932, General M.A. Cohen checked out of the Peninsula Hotel and boarded the s.s. President Coolidge for San Francisco. On his arrival there, the U.S. immigration officials assessed him as being a London-born “army officer and government official”. From San Francisco, the Chinese general travelled to New York, and then on to Plymouth, England on board the Manhattan. The newspaper article above records him being interviewed by a journalist following his arrival in Manchester. In early February 1933, and following side trips to London and the Continent, General Cohen returned to the Far East by way of New York and San Francisco; and by mid-April he was back again in the Peninsula Hotel.

New York. Early November 1932. (General Cohen in his own words): On this trip home I’d determined that my own family should have priority over everything else. I was thinking about them all the way. As soon as my American business was tidied up and I knew my sailing date from New York, I cabled to tell them. I landed at Plymouth, and there waiting on the wharf were two of my brothers. It was a typical early winter, West Country day, dismal and drizzling, but there were my own folks to greet me and it made me feel warm all through. We boarded the train for the long journey up to Manchester. When we pulled into London Road Station, there were my father and mother and half a dozen of the family. I kissed mother first, thinking how stooped and frail she’d grown, and just as I did so, one of the “Daily Dispatch” boys took a flashlight  picture. ‘Lay off that,’ I shouted and smashed his camera with my walking stick. Looking back it seems a silly thing to have done. But somehow just at that moment I was right back in amongst my own people and this intrusion from an outsider was a damned cheek. The local papers were kind to me and didn’t play the story up at all. Altogether the newspaper boys gave me a big hand this time. The “Manchester Evening News” interviewed me and the “Evening Chronicle”, and the “Jewish Gazette” and the Manchester correspondent of the “People” and lots more. Even the heavyweight “Manchester Guardian” thought my views important. It printed an interview with me in which I said that the British policy of conniving at Japanese aggression in Manchuria had aroused the hostility of the Chinese people. It was all nonsense, I said, to suggest that Japan needed Manchuria for colonization. What Japan wanted in Manchuria was oil. By this time the Great Slump had really hit Lancashire. Factories were closing down everywhere and unemployment figures were leaping up. With the Chinese boycott of Japanese goods, especially textiles, becoming more and more effective, it had become to look as if the Far Eastern market might save the situation when there was no other hope in sight. I’d arrived just at the right time to tell them about it. A lot of business men were interested. The Manchester Chamber of Commerce gave me a lunch at the Midland Hotel, with Mr Nathan Laski in the chair. I said my piece and answered endless questions. When I left Manchester I would be loaded down with catalogues and price lists for the supply departments of the Kwangtung Government. I got some orders too, and I’d have got a lot more if (Finance Minister) T.V Soong had been able to float his loan six months later. Once my holiday in Manchester was over, I was on my way to London, Paris and Geneva to finalize my other business. (Extracts from: Commander Charles H. Drage, Two-Gun Cohen, Jonathan Cape, London 1954)