272 Bevin to Evatt

Message [1] 17 October 1949

SECRET I am grateful for your message of 4th October [2] since I fully appreciate the value of close consultation between us in regard to our policy towards the new China.

2. I trust the interim reply already returned to you has proved helpful. [3] I have never considered that the Chinese Communists would be content with de facto recognition and I think this view is borne out by their silence over the message conveyed to them by His Majesty's Consul-General at Peking on October 5th and the parallel communication made by the Australian representative. [4] I am advised that these messages, whose purpose was no more than to establish day-to-day working relations between our Consular representatives and the Communist authorities, should be regarded in strict law as constituting de facto recognition. Nevertheless, I think our action was politically wise and appropriately timed and I am glad to see that the Governments of India, Portugal and Denmark have already acted similarly.

3. On the question of any further degree of recognition I think we must assume that the Communists will refuse to enter into diplomatic relations with Powers who continue to recognise the Nationalist Government. The position of that Government will be bound to come under fire from the Soviet Union when China is discussed in the Political Committee of the Assembly. We are considering what our attitude should be when this subject comes up for debate (probably in November) and hope to communicate with you in due course.

4. I am doubtful whether there are any grounds on which it would be possible to press for the appointment of a United Nations Commission to visit China. Certainly the Communists would oppose such a move and we should be faced with a situation similar to that which prevails in Korea. We do not want to adopt an openly hostile attitude towards the Communist regime since this would only prejudice the future.

5. We shall certainly not take any action without the fullest consultation with you and the other Governments concerned.

1 Conveyed through the UK High Commissioner.

2 Document 269.

3 As Bevin was in Ottawa, an interim reply was sent on 5 0ctober 1949 advising that the UK was anxious that any action taken should be closely concerted with the Australia. Government.

4 Document 271

[AA:A3318, L49/3/1/22]