File No. 893.01/74.
The Chinese Legation to the Department of State.
Our country has a territory immense in extent and a population of five main groups different in customs and manners. In a republic the chief executive of the nation is frequently changed, and this cannot but cause great disturbances, not only endangering life and property in this country but also injecting an element of uncertainty into the business affairs of foreign residents. The Republic has now been established for four years, but the business of the country is at a standstill owing to a lack of permanence in the occupation of the people and the acts of officials. In this unsettled state of affairs it is difficult to secure order. Our people, therefore, have been contemplating a change in the form of government from a republic to a monarchy. This movement has long been gaining ground in secret. The Government, in its endeavor to maintain the present form of government, has made repeated attempts to discourage it. But, growing stronger with every opposition, it now numbers among its adherents a great many influential persons. If the Government tries to put it down it is greatly to be feared that the peace of the country may be affected.
The Government, therefore, hesitates to take this great responsibility. But, in accordance with the general trend of public opinion, the Government has proclaimed the adoption of the recommendation of the Legislative Body by calling a National Convention of Representatives of the People to determine the form of government. Of [Page 72] late the officials of the different provinces have reported that this step has met with the approval of the people. All indications now point to a desire on the part of the people to adopt a constitutional monarchy. The Government will be powerless to oppose the will of the people inasmuch as in accordance with republican principles all political powers rest finally with the people of the country. The will of the people, thus publicly expressed, must be obeyed. Since it is the people of the whole country that desire this change and demand the Government to act in accordance with their wishes, there will certainly be no disorder. The provincial authorities, both civil and military, have given assurances that order will be maintained within their respective jurisdictions. It is the hope of the people of the whole country that they will thus secure permanent peace and prosperity.
There is no doubt that this hope is shared by the Governments of all friendly nations, and that this step will be looked upon with favor by the Governments of all friendly nations. Although this is an affair that concerns our domestic affairs, in view of the friendly relations between the two countries this is communicated confidentially to the American Government before the act is officially promulgated in order to avoid any misunderstanding.
- Read to the Secretary of State by the Chinese Minister on October 29, 1915.↩