File No. 893.00/1700.

The American Chargé d’Affaires to the Secretary of State.

No. 858.]

Sir: Referring to my despatch No. 841 of May 6, 1913, in which mention was made of the attempts of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, General [Page 122] Huang Hsing and General Chen Chimei to raise a rebellion against the present Peking Government, I have the honor to report further upon the political situation in China.

There can be no doubt whatever as to the truthfulness of the charges made against the three revolutionary leaders just mentioned.

The manifesto of Dr. Sun Yat-sen against the loan, issued on May 6th, of which a copy is enclosed, is itself evidence of his feeling towards Yuan Shih-k’ai and of his belief at that time that civil war was impending. But the only people who were disposed to make war were those dissatisfied with the government of Yuan; that is to say, the partisans of Dr. Sun. * * *

The common people take no interest in politics and the mercantile community is decidedly opposed to any further disturbance of the peace. The chambers of commerce in various cities sent telegrams to Peking protesting against the plottings of these promoters of a second revolution. * * * It was only after Dr. Sun and General Huang learned that the people were not with them, that money would not be forthcoming for the support of the movement, that they declared they had no thought of creating a revolution. * * *

The movement for a separation of the southern provinces from the Republic is not altogether new. In fact the union of the Nanking Government of 1912 with that of Yuan Shih-k’ai or rather its absorption by the government of Yuan was never to the liking of certain revolutionary leaders. Some saw the perquisites of office slipping from their grasp; others of a higher character distrusted the conservative leaders of the north and did not believe that political reforms were to be expected under such leadership. They have been particularly displeased by the appointment to high office of so many old-fashioned mandarins of the Manchu régime. The foreign-educated Chinese of the south have seen with chagrin that the Government is being carried on under the Republic in very much the same way and to some extent by the very same men as under the Monarchy. Even before the Sung Chiao-jen murder occurred there was serious talk of an attempt to organize another government at Nanking. The Kuo Min Tang, or Nationalist Party, which is opposing Yuan, called a meeting of its leaders at Shanghai before the meeting of the National Assembly at Peking. Predictions were freely made that the representatives of the south would not come to Peking and that a division of the country would be made. Happily, wiser councils prevailed. But the murder of Sung and the signing of the Quintuple Loan gave the discontented further opportunities for agitation of which they were not slow to avail themselves.

For two weeks past the situation has been critical. The danger is not entirely over, but matters are slowly improving. * * * So long as the mercantile classes hold to their attitude of opposition to civil war there can be no successful attempt to overthrow the present Government. This is well known to Dr. Sun and, taken with the announcement of the Municipal Council of the International Settlement at Shanghai that agitators would not be allowed to use the Settlement for the publication of slanderous attacks upon the Government, may be said to have dampened very considerably the ardor of the conspirators. * * *

I have [etc.]

E. T. Williams.
[Page 123]

Manifesto of Doctor Bun Yat Sen.

To the Governments and People of the Foreign Powers:

As the result of careful investigations by officials appointed by the Government to inquire into the recent murder of the Nationalist leader Sung Chiao-jen in Shanghai, the fact is clearly established that the Peking Government is seriously implicated in the crime. Consequently the people are extremely indignant and the situation has become so serious that the nation is on the verge of the most acute and dangerous crisis yet experienced.

The Government, conscious of its guilt and the enormity of its offense, and realizing the strength of the wave of indignation sweeping over the nation as the direct result of its criminal deeds and wicked betrayal of the trust repesed in it, and perceiving that it is likely to lead to its downfall, suddenly and unconstitutionally concluded a loan for £25,000,000 sterling with the quintuple group despite the protests of the representatives of the nation now assembled in Peking.

This high-handed and unconstitutional action of the Government instantly accentuated the intense indignation which had been caused by the foul murder of Sung Chiao-jen, so that at the present time the fury of the people is worked up to white heat and a terrible convulsion appears almost inevitable. Indeed acute has the crisis become that the widespread smouldering embers may burst forth in a devastating conflagration at any moment.

From the date of the birth of the Republic I have striven for unity, peace, concord and prosperity. I recommended Yuan Shih-kai for the presidency because there appeared reasons for believing that by doing so the unification of the nation and the dawn of an era of peace and prosperity would thereby be hastened. Ever since then I have done all I could to evolve peace, order and government out of chaos created by the revolution. I earnestly desire to preserve peace throughout the Republic but my efforts will be rendered ineffective if financiers would supply the Peking Government with money that could and probably would be used in waging war against the people.

If the country is plunged into war at this juncture it will inevitably inflict terrible misery and suffering upon the people, who are just beginning to recover from the dislocation of trade and losses of various kinds caused by the revolution. For the establishment of the Republic, they have sacrificed much and are now determined to preserve it at all costs.

If the people are now forced into a life-and-death struggle for the preservation of the Republic not only will it entail terrible suffering to the masses but inevitably also adversely affect all foreign interests in China.

If the Peking Government is kept without funds there is a prospect of a compromise between it and the people being effected, while the immediate effect of a liberal supply of money will probably be the precipitation of a terrible and disastrous conflict.

In the name and for the sake of humanity which civilization holds sacred I therefore appeal to you to exert your influence with a view to preventing the bankers from providing the Peking Government with funds which at this juncture will assuredly be utilized as the sinews of war. I appeal to all who have the lasting welfare of mankind at heart to extend to me in this hour of need their moral assistance in averting unnecessary bloodshed and in shielding my countrymen from a hard fate which they have done absolutely nothing to deserve.

Sun Yat Sen.

Note.—During May and June the American Chargé d’Affaires reported at intervals that, in spite of the various disturbances (details of which he gave in his despatches) the situation was on the whole improving or had not greatly changed. (File Nos. 893.00/1723, 1735. 1761.)