HC Deb 21 March 1951 vol 485 cc2410-1
36. Mr. Langford-Holt

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on what principles he acts when deciding whether diplomatic recognition should be accorded to foreign Governments.

Mr. H. Morrison

The question of the recognition of a State or Government should be distinguished from the question of entering into diplomatic relations with it, which is entirely discretionary. On the other hand, it is international law which defines the conditions under which a Government should be recognised de jure or de facto, and it is a matter of judgment in each particular case whether a régime fulfils the conditions. The conditions under international law for the recognition of a new régime as the de facto Government of a State are that the new régime has in fact effective control over most of the State's territory and that this control seems likely to continue. The conditions for the recognition of a new régime as the de jure Government of a State are that the new régime should not merely have effective control over most of the State's territory, but that it should, in fact, be firmly established. His Majesty's Government consider that recognition should be accorded when the conditions specified by international law are, in fact, fulfilled and that recognition should not be given when these conditions are not fulfilled. The recognition of a Government de jure or de facto should not depend on whether, the character of the régime is such as to command His Majesty's Government's approval.

Mr. Anthony Nutting

Can the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that, now we have sent an Ambassador to Madrid, it is now the conduct and not the political complexion of a foreign Government which decides whether His Majesty's Government should have diplomatic relations with that State?

Mr. Morrison

It surprises me to hear it suggested that we have not got diplomatic relations with Spain. Indeed, I understand that we have an Ambassador in Madrid.

Major Legge-Bourke

In reference to his remark about de jure recognition depending on whether or not a Government is firmly established, would the right hon. Gentleman say whether it would not be better to make sure they were there by right, and not by force?

Mr. Morrison

I appreciate the point, but. of course, that draws us into points of morals, and so on, which, I gather, are a little difficult in this sphere.

Sir H. Williams

In view of his last answer, does the right hon. Gentleman think that his Government ought to be recognised de jure by anybody?

Mr. Morrison

That bright supplementary question occurred to me while I was answering the main Question. But there is not the least doubt that His Majesty's Government is the Government of the United Kingdom, and that is the end of it.