Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Perkins)

Participants: Mr. Perkins, Assistant Secretary for European Affairs
Sr. Luciolli, Counselor, Italian Embassy
Mr. Unger, WE76

Mr. Luciolli said that the Italian Government has just received from the British Government a note to the effect that the British intend to give formal recognition to the Chinese Communist Government but, before taking final action, they wish to solicit the views of the North Atlantic Pact countries. Luciolli said that Italy’s interests in this matter are primarily of a general nature, aside from certain commercial considerations, and relate more to Italy’s relations with the other Western countries than any direct political interest in the Chinese situation itself. For this reason he was raising this question first with me to solicit my views, on instructions from his Government, although he would like subsequently to talk to some of the Far Eastern officers in the State Department. Luciolli added that the Italian Government felt that concerted action among the Pact countries was probably desirable on important issues of this nature. I replied that I was not intimately acquainted with our Chinese policy and our immediate plans in this respect but that my personal view was that the British action was somewhat hasty. I recognized, however, that sooner or later we would probably have to recognize the fact that the Communist Government was in control of China and presumably to accord it recognition. I said that the French seemed to agree with us on the advisability of a more gradual policy. Luciolli said he assumed from this that we favored reaching final recognition through a series of gradual steps, rather than final action now.

Luciolli then pointed out that Italy had a direct interest in recognition as it may relate to the possibility of Italy’s securing membership in the UN. He explained that, if recognition takes place, at some point the permanent members of the Security Council, including the USSR, would undoubtedly have to take up the question of the replacement of the present Nationalist Government representative by a representative of the Communist Government and at this time the [Page 164]question of Italian membership in the UN might usefully be raised. Presumably Luciolli was proposing that Soviet agreement to Italian admission to the UN might be demanded in return for our accepting Communist instead of Nationalist representation for China. I acknowledged this suggestion but gave my opinion that it was unlikely that additional countries would be admitted to the UN until it is agreed that all those which have been proposed for membership are taken in at once.

George W. Perkins
  1. Leonard linger, of the Office of Western European Affairs.