893.01/11–849: Telegram

The Second Secretary of Embassy in China (Bacon) to the Secretary of State

2389. 1. Since question recognition first arose, British business interests China have urged earliest consummation and British diplomats here have taken contagion. At present, not only do virtually all responsible personnel British Embassy constantly and publicly state their expectation of recognition “within 1 or 2 months”, but some also fret at Foreign Office caution and shortsightedness which they imagine can be only conceivable obstacle to it. Communists have subtly encouraged this attitude in definite preferential treatments. For instance, Amethyst escape7 clearly soft-pedaled after necessary initial blast movement British displeased in notable contrast impossibility most American moves, labor troubles with regard British have received less publicity and generally been settled with less fuss and there have been no direct official involvements comparable Ward and Soule cases.8 (Notably fewer efforts implicate British in espionage frame-ups all over world.) (Differences when arisen have been settled quietly and usually fairly soon, especially of late since Amethyst and MacFarlane cases resolved.) When similar cases arise or are produced with Americans, they are protracted indefinitely and every drop propaganda squeezed out. This adds up to definite effort, not only to prevent rapid American recognition by producing atmosphere in which it impossible, but also to split US and British on this matter. British, in their turn, have in many respects taken less adamant stands opposing Communist actions than we have (e.g., on taxes), thus reinforcing tendency relax tension.

2. Feel discussions with British in London, Washington and Paris should emphasize Ward and Soule cases their headache as much as ours, since strike at root status foreigners and diplomats China. If happens to us today, may be their turn tomorrow. Embassy strongly feels this point on which principle should not be slighted and British should be requested in strongest terms not considered [consider] recognition [Page 182]while such cases unjustified coercion exist. Best of course if they can be persuaded make public announcement this effect as evidence solidarity. While impossible document, possibility exists that British feeling tinged with pleasant irresponsibility as white man’s burden (in this case maintenance essential position Western nations on Consulate and diplomatic rights and on adherence normal procedures antecedent formal recognition) now falls on American shoulders, leaving British free to extract any political or economic profit from situation. Such attitude their part would of course be exactly what Communists trying produce.

Department pass Peiping its discretion.

Sent Department 2389. Department pass Shanghai 1223.

  1. The British naval sloop Amethyst, fired on by Communist shore batteries along the Yangtze on April 20, 1949, escaped July 31 after being stranded Jar months.
  2. For the case of Consul General Ward at Mukden, see vol. viii , “Problems of United States Consulates in areas occupied by the Chinese Communists”, chapter I; for the case of Military Attaché, Brig. Gen. Robert H. Soule, at Nanking, see ibid. , “The Embassy in China after occupation of Nanking by Chinese Communists”, chapter II.