270 Officer to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 246 NANKING, 4 October 1949, 4.50 p.m.


Authorities have authorised heads of Missions to send one telegram in cypher following meeting reported in my telegram 245. [1] Please acknowledge en clair by 'understood'.

2. As soon as I have received the formal letter referred to in the above-mentioned telegram I will telegraph text en clair but I anticipate that it will be no more than restatement of what I have reported in paragraph 2 of my telegram 244. [2]

3. I advised in my telegram 224 [3] my view that recognition should be accorded the new Government at a very early date. Seen from here everything seems to support this opinion. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has given recognition and its Embassy in Peking if not already open, will open shortly. Until some of us recognise the new Government, the Soviet will have the field to themselves. It was made clear to me in Shanghai and again yesterday by Huang Hua that we will not be permitted to function outside the barest Consular matters until we grant recognition.

Huang clearly expects our Embassy here to close, and confirmed that Nanking will cease to be regarded as the diplomatic centre.

Peking will be the centre of all political activity.

4. It seems from here that, for future relations and the interests of our trade and Nationals here, early recognition is most important. I found recently in Shanghai that all the British community hold this view. As soon as it is done we will be able to open an Embassy in Peking and be in a position to report and try and influence. Though I shall try next week in Shanghai to secure an assurance for permit for Phillips to go to Peking at an early date 'to secure premises for our Embassy' I am not very hopeful.

5. I appreciate that there are many other factors to be considered such as the position of the United Nations, our relations with the United States of America etc. But I had assumed from your telegram number 664 and more especially from your 62 [5] that you would favour early recognition, and did not read your statement to Parliament on September 28th as contrary to this. [6]

6. I would be glad to have any information you can give me on the subject. This morning our 'Communist contact' in Shanghai has advised that Loveday picked up a broadcast reporting statement that Australia would follow the United States-United Kingdom policy and asked informally if this meant we are opposing early recognition.

Clearly they are watching events closely.

After interview yesterday I took leave of Huang when he talked on lines following paragraph 3 above. He agreed that after my departure from Embassy, premises would continue to be respected.

1 Dispatched 4 October, it reported a meeting with Huang Hua who had conveyed a message from Chou En-lai to all heads of missions requesting them to advise their Governments of the establishment of the new Government and its desire to establish diplomatic relations with them.

2 Dispatched 2 October, paragraph 2 stated: 'a formal announcement that the new Government is the only legal Government of China and desires to establish diplomatic relations with all those foreign countries who abide by the principles of equality, mutual interest and mutual respect of territorial and sovereign rights will be transmitted to us in Nanking.

3 Document 266.

4 Document 259.

5 Document 256.

6 On 28 September 1949, Evatt, in reply to a question in the House of Representatives, said that the Government; was in touch with the governments of the UK and USA and any action taken by those governments would follow a common pattern.

[AA:A1838/278, 494/2/10, i]