File No. 893.01/91

Minister Reinsch to the Secretary of State

No. 957

Sir: In connection with my telegram of January 29, 5 p.m., I have the honor to make the following report:

During the early part of January, when the matter of the formal proclamation of the monarchy was being discussed, I was informed by leading Chinese officials that this act would be accompanied by the promulgation of a constitution guaranteeing a representative parliament; or, at least, that a formal and explicit declaration would be made to the effect that the institutions under the monarchy were to include a parliament representative of the people, elected by popular suffrage with a selective qualification, and entrusted with full liberty of discussion and a certain power of financial and general legislation. I was also informed that at the same time a constructive program of governmental action, including financial reform, simplified methods of taxation, large works of public usefulness (such as reclamation and road building), and measures designed to develop agriculture and industry, would be announced concurrently with the promulgation of the monarchy.

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The firm belief was expressed by these officials that the dictatorial power held by His Excellency Yuan Shih-kai will be legally distributed among the various organs of the Government and that after the question of succession to the headship of the State had been definitely settled, the Government could then address itself with undivided energy to the task of administrative reform.

On the basis of such a program, and in view of the fact that the Government represented the only adequate organization in sight, the Ministers of the countries mentioned in my telegram had expressed their readiness at the proper time to recognize the monarchical government. * * *

The confidential information concerning the Legations of other Powers at Peking, which was at that time in my possession, indicated that they all, with the exception of Japan, considered early recognition desirable; it was, however, doubtful how far the action of the Allied Powers would be determined by the judgment and interests of Japan of this matter.

Towards the middle of January, I was confidentially informed by a member of the Foreign Office that the formal accession to the throne was likely to be set for February 9. On January 23, however, another member of the Foreign Office called and stated that it had been decided to postpone the formal proclamation of the empire. High officials gave, as the reason for this action, the fact that upon the convocation of the Japanese Diet, the Okuma Government would find itself in the face of a violent opposition which would undoubtedly take advantage of the formal creation of the empire in China to cause difficulties to the Japanese Government, which in turn might thereby be impelled to take drastic action in China. In order to give no occasion for such developments, it was stated that the postponement had been decided upon. * * *

I have [etc.]

Paul S. Reinsch