File No. 893.01/22.
Chargé MacMurray to the Secretary of State.
Peking, August 25, 1915.
For some weeks there has been a widespread discussion of the question of reestablishing monarchical form of government. This agitation seems to have the general sympathy and to some extent support not only of many of the older officials but also of the younger officials hitherto identified with the republican movement. It is also regarded with tolerance, if not with complacency, by the Government, the President having declined to intervene in restraint of activities of the so-called Peace Planning Society recently formed for the purpose of monarchist propaganda: The President has also given publicity to a memorandum prepared at his request by Goodnow expressing the view that, theoretically and in the abstract, monarchical form of government is better adapted to conditions in [Page 47] China, though reserving an opinion as to the advisability of making a change from the present system of government. Extensive use is being made of Goodnow’s name in support of propaganda. The movement has excited considerable opposition although not so much in the North at any rate as might have been expected.
It is not yet possible to be sure whether this agitation is a part of a plan to bring about the assumption of the throne by the President or is merely a means adopted by him or sanctioned by him at the instance of certain reactionary influences with a view to determining whether or not the temper of the country would tolerate such a reestablishment of an imperial régime. Present indications tend to support the former alternative.