October 5, 2017

1950. Germany Reacts to British Recognition of Communist China

A Split in Policy
"Chinese leader Mao Zedong gives a speech during the 7th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in June 1950, the year when Britain officially recognised the People's Republic of China as the government of the nation" (source)
Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

January 8, 1950

The British recognition of Communist China—and the reluctance of the United States to follow suit—is having its reaction in both Eastern and Western Germany today.

The Communist satellite government of East Germany already has given tacit recognition through its Cominform connections, and during the recent Moscow ceremonies celebrating the birth of Joseph Stalin, the German Communist delegation made contacts with a Chinese Communist trade mission, and an economic agreement between the two governments is expected soon.

However, in Berlin today it is the Communist press that is attempting to make the most hay out of the situation in Asia.

The official Soviet newspaper, Tägliche Rundschau, hails the division of Far Eastern policy between Britain and America as the first important break between the two nations.

"Britain's recognition of the Chinese people's victories is one of history's greatest imperialistic failures," the newspaper says. "It is the first break in the joint imperialistic front of the US and Britain."

The general line is that Britain is to be congratulated for having more hindsight than the United States; that America continues to waver in her policy of imperialism in Asia.

The West German reaction is less positive. The recognition of Communist China by Britain is a case of political realism—that is the theme of the British-licensed press here. Britain and her Commonwealth have greater interests in what transpires in Asia than the United States, thus she must act for practical results. America, for the time being at least, can afford to proceed according to her anti-Communist principles.

The West German editorial opinion, however, warns that this diversion of policy between the two Western Powers should not be a wedge to separate America and Britain in other fields.

There is little likelihood that the Bonn government will be allowed any foreign policy moves in connection with the situation in China, since both Britain and America collaborate in forming such policy for the West German state.

This is Bill Downs in Berlin. Now back to CBS in New York.