The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Holmes) to the Secretary of State
506. One senses considerable uneasiness Foreign Office over failure Chinese Communists respond more cordially British note of January 6 according recognition new regime. This accentuated by absence reply démarche. British Consul General Peiping seventeenth, asking whether Communists agree British note in itself establishes diplomatic relations. Most curious are Communist aloofness toward India which had been inclined to meet Communists more than half-way and their pointed rebuff French in recognizing Ho Chi-minh.
During course recent conversation with Dening,1 Embassy official attempted draw him out on question Chinese representation SC (Deptel 32, January 21 to New York repeated London 288). Dening replied whereas technical questions such as those posed by Department were beyond his competence he had in fact that morning attended staff meeting during which political aspects problem discussed at length. He said while no conclusions reached and there was evidenced considerable difference of opinion he himself had advanced theory Chinese Communist not especially interested obtaining SC seat; their one purpose, probably responsive Soviet pressure, was support Soviet objective deliberate stultification UN (Depcirtel January 19, noon). He thought Communists, both Chinese and Russian, were now attempting seal all remaining gaps in iron curtain, both in Europe and in Orient. In pursuance his argument he mentioned recent satellite attitudes eastern Europe, including detention British, French and [Page 215] American officials and apparent indifference American threat withdraw Minister Sofia. He pointed out Chinese Communist replies to UK and India were hardly conducive to winning over those nations whose support was essential in order obtain seat in SC. He said since British recognition Peiping Chinese Communists had not acted like Chinese at all but much more like Soviet stooges. Had they been Chinese first and stooges second they would have played their hand more cautiously; they would have wooed assiduously members SC until such time as they had replaced Nationalist Government representatives that body and only then showed their hand. Dening concluded by slyly mentioning that so far as UK was concerned it would be its policy prevent so far as practicable deliberate sealing off of Communist China and iron curtain countries generally from rest of world.
Following day Scott head SEA Department expressed similar view. In his opinion Chinese Communists whether on own initiative or as result Soviet prodding were showing no evidence of wishing cultivate friendly relations with other than limited group of smaller and weaker neighbors—USSR of course excepted. He advanced theory Chinese Communists emulating Soviets would over period next few years attempt establish throughout length southern and western borders satellite political entities which could be counted on if not openly to support then certainly not to impede their policies. Unlike Russians Chinese for their part had considerable historical precedent for such action and they could and would utilize large and influential Chinese colonies these areas in support political and economic penetration. Only after their position at home had been consolidated would they give active consideration to application armed force in pursuance expansionist policies.
Embassy aware all above highly speculative. It is possible Mao discussions in Kremlin touch on many or all above problems and Mao’s return Peiping will be signal for positive action.
Sent Department 506, Department relay Moscow 39.
- Maberly E. Dening, Assistant Under Secretary of State, British Foreign Office.↩