47. Recognition of and dealings with foreign governments in United Kingdom diplomatic practice.

In the past, in much the same way that it recognised new states, the United Kingdom formally recognised or withheld recognition from foreign governments of recognised states which had come to power by unconstitutional means1. It usually recognised governments on the basis solely of their effective control over the territory of a state, often drawing a distinction between de facto and de jure governments. Recognition was not intended to denote approval of an unconstitutional foreign government2.

In 1980, a new policy was announced whereby in general the United Kingdom no longer formally accords recognition to foreign governments3. Usually now the