278 Mighell to Bevin

Letter LONDON, 7 November 1949


I have been asked to convey to you as a personal message from Dr.

Evatt our present views on the recognition of the Chinese Communist Government.

In the first place, I enclose a copy of Dr. Evatt's public statement of 25th October [1], which was made after he had exchanged personal messages with you and after he had received messages from the United States Ambassador in Canberra. For your information I enclose copies of informal messages exchanged between Dr. Evatt and the Ambassador. [2] You will recall that Dr.

Evatt in his statement adopted Mr. Dean Acheson's statement of some time ago outlining the assurances which would first be required by democratic countries before they could recognise the new Chinese Communist Government, viz., (i) that the Government which was set up on 1st October is, in fact, in control of the area it claims;

(ii) that it is, in fact, prepared to and capable of carrying out its international obligations; and (iii) that it is a Government supported by the free will of the majority of the peoples it rules.

With regard to the second point, Dr. Evatt emphasised that there was an international obligation to respect the territorial integrity of neighbouring countries, and gave Hong Kong as an example in this case.

I am asked to inform you that we adhere to this view. We think that before the question of recognition can be considered an informal approach should be made to the Communist Authorities in China, stressing that we wish to maintain friendly relations with the Chinese people but seeking firm assurances on which these relations can satisfactorily be based. We are prepared, subject to safeguards, to make such approaches, along with the United Kingdom and other countries concerned. Alternatively, we think that an agreed Note might be presented on behalf of British Commonwealth countries and the United States of America, if that were possible.

I have thought it best to address this letter to you at the Foreign Office immediately, so that it can be transmitted without delay.

1 Document 274.

2 Document 277.

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