845.01/138: Telegram

The Officer in Charge at New Delhi ( Haselton ) to the Secretary of State

129. Reference my 124, March 28, 1 p.m.39 It is presumed that the Department now in receipt through London of the full text of Cripps’ proposals. In a broadcast from New Delhi last night, Sir Stafford explained the proposals to the country and appealed for their acceptance. The following is a résumé of his broadcast:

He began by explaining that the object of the proposals was “to make it quite clear and beyond any possibility of doubt or question that the British Government and the British people desire the Indian peoples to have full self-government with a constitution as free in every respect as our own in Great Britain or of any of the great Dominion members of the British Commonwealth of Nations”. In explaining the interim arrangement, Sir Stafford stated that clause E lays down the broad outline and that “the Governor General whose task it is to form the Central Government of India has done his utmost to assist me with my mission and I am certain that the Indian leaders can rely on him to find the best way in consultation with them for carrying out the general principle laid down” in clause E. He went on to say that His Majesty’s Government must take full responsibility for the conduct of the defense of India as part of the World War effort and that the direction of that defense must rest in the hands of the Commander in Chief under the War Cabinet. The [Page 623] Commander in Chief he said must retain his position as a member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council. He claimed, however, that India would have full opportunity of sharing in the control of strategy by accepting the invitation to appoint a representative Indian to the War Cabinet and the Pacific Council of the United Nations. In discussing the principal postwar provisions, Sir Stafford justified provincial option (I) on the principle of self-determination and carefully avoided using the term Pakistan. He expressed the conviction that the Constituent Assembly would make just provision for the minorities. However, “in view of the undertakings given to these the minorities by His Majesty’s Government in the past, we propose that in the treaty which under the draft declaration will be concluded between His Majesty’s Government and the Constitution-making body, the new Indian Union should undertake to protect the rights of these the minorities”. Sir Stafford concluded with an appeal to the Indian people to bury the past and march side by side with Britain to a new era of liberty for all peoples.

  1. Not printed.