File No. 893.00/2567

Minister Reinsch to the Secretary of State


The state of affairs is not encouraging. General dissatisfaction prevails partly because of unprecedented official corruption, lack of policy and authority; partly because of great influence of Japanese clique over the Government. There is a probability of renewed revolution by way of either separate movements of various motives [provinces?] and revolutionary leaders entailing dissolution of the state or a united young China movement ousting reactionary Mandarins and monarchists from power and support [ing?] President Li and Parliament. Tang Shao-yi and Sun are planning southern revolution with pro-Japanese, Pan-Asiatic and anti-foreign bias but they fortunately have no influence. All in all there is serious cause to fear trouble unless public action can be given a new direction.

Should the United States declare war it is highly improbable that China will not follow at an early date.2 There is a chance that this would improve the situation especially if that action were taken without entanglement and expressly as being similar to that of the United States. The tactical international position of China would then be more independent and the progressive constitutionalist [constitutionalism?] in the Government and country would be strengthened accordingly.

  1. The United States broke off diplomatic relations with Germany February 3, 1917, and on the same day invited the neutral Powers to take similar action. China took this action March 14, 1917.