File No. 893.01/72.
The Japanese Embassy to the Department of State.
paraphrase of a telegram from baron ishii to viscount chinda.19
As no doubt the Government to which you are accredited is well aware, a plan to inaugurate a monarchical government in China has recently made sudden and rapid developments. While the inadequate means of communication, coupled with the fact of manipulation of the press freely resorted to by the Chinese authorities, make it extremely difficult to learn the actual and true state of affairs in China, one thing seems certain: that the feeling prevailing in the country against the monarchical movement is very much stronger than at first suspected. This is particularly the case in the Yangtze Valley and South China, where the strong opposition sentiment is widely diffused.
No pains are, it seems, spared by the Chinese Government in the endeavor to put a peaceful face on the situation by resorting to various means such as causing the provincial authorities to frame and submit reports favorable to the execution of the monarchical plan and giving publicity thereto, or directing these authorities to exercise weighty pressure directly and indirectly upon the opposition. But in point of fact the more it attempts to hasten the realization of a monarchy the stronger grows the opposition sentiment. So long as the present political status is maintained in China, there would seem to be little fear of any intestine disturbances arising in the immediate future, and it is to the monarchical plan that the present state of disquietude is to be attributed, Should change of the polity be unfortunately followed by an upheaval and dissensions, the consequence thereof to be suffered by the countries having important interests in China would be beyond calculation.
At a time when, in view of the European situation, it is deemed desirable to avoid any event that may in the least tend to further prejudice the general peace of the world, the Imperial Government, particularly solicitous as it is of peace in the Far East, cannot but view with grave concern the situation in China as is pointed out above. It need scarcely be mentioned that the Imperial Government [Page 70] has not the remotest intention to intervene in the internal affairs of China, but, the situation in that country being as it is, it is desirous of preventing possible disaster in time. With this object in view, the Imperial Government proposes at this juncture to enquire of the Chinese Government whether it is counting upon a peaceful inauguration of the monarchical form of government unattended by any disturbances, and at the same time to offer to it an informal and friendly advice in the sense that, inasmuch as the furtherance of the monarchical plan involves, in the opinion of the Imperial Government, a danger of inviting disorder in China, it would be more in keeping with the interest of the general situation to defer its execution for some time.
If the Government to which you are accredited shares the solicitude of the Imperial Government in above respect, it is earnestly hoped that it will see its way to give to the Chinese Government similar advice, in the interest of general peace in the Far East.
- Handed to the Secretary of State by the Japanese Ambassador October 27, 1915.↩