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Historical documents

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

1 Document 274.

2 Document 277.

[AA:A3318, L49/3/1/22]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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