File No. 763.72/4568
Peking, May 11, 1917, 7 p.m.
There is a probability of very serious trouble. The Prime Minister favors declaration of war but Parliament insists that Cabinet be first reorganized in order to prevent control by reactionary elements. The Prime Minister plans to dissolve Parliament, the President resists. [Page 47] Yesterday, hired mob assailed halls of Parliament, additional troops are being brought to Peking. Should Parliament be suppressed a revolution is inevitable. I have told the Premier that the use of unconstitutional means would make injurious impression, British Chargé d’Affaires has made similar intimation.
The matter of renewed assurance of Chinese integrity and abstention from seeking territorial and preferential rights has again come up. Suggesting that such a declaration would clear the air and remove suspicion, I discussed the matter with the Japanese and French Ministers and the British Chargé d’Affaires; they and other Ministers are asking for favorable instructions by cable. Such a declaration at this time would favorably affect the domestic situation and might afford a means of reconciling Premier and Parliament.
I hope you will approve this action and have honor to suggest discussion of the situation with other Governments particularly the British, French and Japanese.