File No. 893.00/2587
Minister Reinsch to the Secretary of State
Peking , June 5, 1917, midnight .
Without any previous intimation of such action, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Wu Ting-fang, has requested me to communicate the following appeal to the President:
In view of the present dangerous situation and the attitude of the rebellious Tuchuns, I earnestly request that President Wilson, as the defender of the cause of democracy and constitutionalism all the world over, be moved to make a public statement on the subject of the American attitude toward China and earnestly supporting President Li Yuan-hung as the constitutional Chief of the State to whom all western nations look for the safety of their interest in China. [Page 51] The effect of such a public statement coming from America at this juncture would undoubtedly be effective and immediately cause all law-abiding men to rally round President Li Yuan-hung besides at once discomfiting the Tuchuns.
Furthermore, urge the American Government to consult the allied powers at once, particularly England and France over whom America has great influence today, owing to the extent to which they are financially and morally indebted to America, and request them to support the same attitude at once in China. It should be pointed out clearly and unmistakably that it has largely been the false assumption of the rebellious generals that the Allies were backing them that the present crisis which threatens to rend the country and ruin trade for ever [sic]. Rapid action is necessary if the war issue initiated on the invitation of the American Government is not to make in China the same fatal result as in Greece and Roumania.
Parliament is still functioning in the capital of the country despite the menacing attitude of the rebellious generals. The Vice Chancellor [Vice President?] at Nanking does not support generals’ action, but situated as he is, he is not in a position to actively oppose the generals at the present moment. All the southern provinces are loyal to the President and to parliament and have strongly denounced the revolt of generals, and there is not a single class or section of the commercial and civilian population throughout country who are voluntarily supporting the generals.