British Practice on the Recognition of Governments 28 April 1980

Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington We have conducted a re-examination of British policy and practice concerning the recognition of Governments… we have decided that we shall no longer accord recognition to governments. The British Government recognizes State in accordance with common international doctrine. Where an unconstitutional change of regime takes place in a recognised state, governments of other states must necessarily consider what dealings, if any, they should have with the new regime, and whether and to what extent it qualifies to be treated as the government of the state concerned. Despite explanations to the contrary, our recognition has been interpreted as implying approval

We find practical advantages in following the policy of many countries in not according recognition to governments. Like them we shall continue to decide the nature of our dealings with regimes that come to power unconstitutionally in the light of our assessment of whether they are able of themselves to exercise effective control of the territory of the state concerned and seem likely to continue to do so. In reply to a question asking how the Courts were to assess a foreign entity claiming to be a sovereign government the minister answered: In future cases where a new regime comes to power unconstitutionally our attitude on the question whether it qualifies to be treated as a Government, will be left to be inferred from the nature of the dealings, if any which we may have with it, and in particular on whether we are dealing with it on a normal government to government basis