Doctrines for state recognition of government

Sociology | Mercantile Law | International Law | International Relations

Just like the recognizing a state is important so it recognition of government running that state. Recognition will only really be relevant where the change in government is unconstitutional. Recognizing a government not only clarifies that satisfaction of conditions required from it but also implies that the state recognizing it will deal with this government in order to draft the foreign relations in future.

But it must be noted that recognition of a state will affect its legal personality while recognition of government affects the status of the administrative authority, not the state. Recognition of government can be the implied recognition of state but not vice versa.

A. TOBAR DOCTRINE (No Recognition for Unconstitutional Governments)
1907 – Named after Carlos Tobar, Foreign Relations Minister of Ecuador, the doctrine states that; “recognition of government should only be granted if its administration came to power by legitimate democratic means. It was primarily adopted by Central American States in 1907. Later recognition of the US to this doctrine turned it to be known as ‘Wilsonian Policy’. The US applied it in Tinoco government of Costa Rica. The doctrine never worked outside Americas.

B. ESTRADA DOCTRINE (Recognize Existence of Government not Legitimacy)
1930 – Named after Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Genaro Estrada, the doctrine states that; “Recognition of government should be based on its de facto existence rather than on its legitimacy.” This policy based on the principles of non-intervention and self-determination of all nations does not allow the states to assess the legitimacy of governments of other each others.

C. BETANCOURT DOCTRINE (No Recognition for Military Rules)
1959 – This doctrine which inter alia became the cause of isolation of Venezuela denied the; “Diplomatic recognition of any regime that came to power by military force.”

1932 – Named after American Secretary of State, Stimson, this doctrin pledged, “Not to recognize international territorial changes brought about by the aggression.” The doctrine was application of a principle, ‘ex injuria jus non oritur’ means ‘illegal act cannot create law.’ Later, in 1970, UN General Assembly declared that, ‘no territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force shall be recognized as legal.’

But in practice this theory has not been put into effect same as the others. For instance, UK, though late but gave de jure recognition to the Italian conquest of Ethiopian land in 1936 and also the Soviet conquest of Baltic Republics (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) in 1940. Thus the doctrine could prevent recognition but mere delayed.

The theory also had one positive application in 1990 when UNSC adopted a resolution for not recognizing the Iraqi annexation of Kuwait.