279 Mighell to Department of External Affairs
Cablegram 4 7 82 LONDON, 15 November 1949, 8.46 p.m.
Following is a summary of the views expressed at the Meeting of
the High Commissioners with the Foreign Secretary on recognition
of China afternoon of 15th November.
2. The Foreign Secretary referred to the aide-memoire  and
asked us to express the views of our Governments.
3. Canada feels De Jure recognition is inevitable but they would
not take the step before the United Kingdom or India nor before
the conclusion of the General Assembly. They are obliged to
consider the views of the United States and this was a question on
which their views must not be 'too sharply at variance with the
views of the United States Government'. Canada sought the views of
the United Kingdom about certain particular questions:
(a) The likely effect of recognition on the position of 250
Canadian Missionaries in the South and West of China under the
(b) Whether the Nationalist Government will have some sort of
recognition in relation to Formosa.
(c) How soon the Chinese Communist Government would take its place
on the Security Council.
4. Australia outlined briefly the tests for recognition, the
importance of the obligation to respect the territorial integrity
of neighbouring countries, the possibility of an informal approach
to the Chinese Communists and the suggestion that the whole
question might be discussed at the Colombo Conference.
5. New Zealand is strongly averse to according recognition at all
at the present time and felt that when recognition was imposed
conditions could not be made.
6. South Africa does not favour early recognition but appreciates
the United Kingdom's practical reasons for having to accord
recognition. They think this should wait till after the General
7. India expressed tentative views as Nehru has only just returned
and has not consulted his colleagues fully but generally favours
early recognition 'with grace and in time'.
8. Pakistan had no instructions.
9. Ceylon regrets exceedingly that recognition is probably
necessary 'signalling another Russian victory' but generally
agrees with the United Kingdom view. 10. Bevin summarised briefly
representations that had been made by other Governments to the
(a) The Netherlands would like recognition to wait until transfer
of power had been completed in Indonesia.
(b) The French were moving towards recognition without enthusiasm
and were most concerned about guarantees for neighbouring
(c) The Scandinavian countries were generally in favour of acting
in conjunction with the British Commonwealth.
(d) The United States appeared to be moving towards recognition
according to reports but the Foreign Secretary 'did not discuss
the matter with Acheson in Paris'.
11. The Foreign Secretary then said the various issues that
had raised would require careful study. He did think however that
recognition of the Communist Government would imply automatic
United Kingdom support for that Government securing membership of
the Security Council. He felt that it would be a good thing if the
question of recognition could be delayed until the Conference at
Colombo. The general feeling was that around the New Year would be
a good time to recognise, this being the general opinion of the
officials who met at Singapore. He emphasised, however, that this
was his own opinion and he had expressed it without consulting his
colleagues. Events of course might make it impossible to wait for
a discussion at Colombo.
12. My strong impression is, however, that in view of the wide
divergence of views outlined above the United Kingdom Government
will wait for the Colombo Conference if this is held in early
[AA:A1838/278, 494/2/10, iii]