The Minister in China (Reinsch) to the Acting Secretary of State
[Received May 18, 8.45 p.m.]
The following consequence[s] of the situation created by the Shantung decision have resulted thus far: Indignation, discouragement and despair are expressed throughout China, anti-Japanese boycotts are being started in many places. In some regions, particularly around Shanghai, a general anti-foreign movement is feared because of the Japanese affirmation that the other powers support them. The Shanghai Peace Conference is disrupted; both delegations have resigned. Before resignation the delegates proposed eight points: refusal to recognize Paris decision regarding Shantung, cancellation of Sino-Japanese war participation army, dismissal of notorious malefactor governors, invalidity of investigation [mandate?] dissolving Parliament June, 1916 , establishment of political council leading statesmen, reorganization Cabinet representing North and South, political council to superintend Shanghai Conference, recognition of Hsu Shih-chang [as] provisional president.
Net results thus far as follows: many reactionaries, pro-Japanese clique greatly encouraged, believe that they cannot be successfully opposed because assured of Japanese support which other countries powerless to resist. Anfu party (Anhwei military—Fukien navy, in support of Tuan and Little Hsu, in combination with Lutsao delegation, sundry minor corruptionists) has the upper hand. In meeting yesterday the general tone [omission?] recall Northern delegation immediately, resumption military coercion against South as the demands of Southern delegates are unreasonable. All civilian nationalist leaders who favor representative government and peace are discouraged and in danger. President is powerless.
Japanese, triumphant, assert predominance in China recognized, Great Britain and France submissive, United States must admit opposition [Page 692]futile. For example, Japanese Consul at Nanking stated to Chinese official President Wilson badly defeated at Paris; might remains right, England and France are with Japan. Japanese press vituperation of America continues. All of this aims to prove futility of relying on action or principles of Western Powers and [on] influence of the United States.
Forecast of the [garbled groups] is far from encouraging; may amount to that Japan will now exhibit friendship for China, using as instruments the notorious clique associating with them, arguments of prestige, and [garbled groups]. Military reactionaries will be kept in control and dependence on Japan. The [present popular?] opposition [will be] treated as lawlessness. Any sound constructive policy not in the interests of Japan it is expected will be opposed by the Chinese agents. For instance, should the consortium make a sound reorganization plan containing severe accountability upon China, the Government could be made to object dissimulating menace to sovereignty of China. This Japan will encourage, meanwhile allowing the clique to be financed by socalled independent merchants. The Chinese could not be forced to accept the international loan, [while] the clique would find [it] more to their interest to get easy money from Japan than to establish soundness [sound] finance for national purposes. The total result would be to discourage representative government, [garbled group] sound national reorganization, free expression of public opinion, public education, until the power of Japan is firmly established. This is not prophecy but a statement of inevitable result of forces already working and powerful enough to defeat national self expression, unless the Western Powers, particularly America and Great Britain, can be free to give countenance and encouragement to the independent forces of Chinese national life which are now blocked at every turn.