Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

Sir Ronald Campbell82 called this afternoon to see me in the absence from Washington of Lord Halifax.83

The Minister handed me a message from his Foreign Office which was to the following effect. The Maharajah Holkar of Indore has addressed a letter to the President urging intervention by the United States, China, and the Soviet Union in order that these three powers might undertake the immediate arbitration of the disputes between India and Great Britain. The message further stated that the United States Consul in Bombay had handed a copy of this letter to Reuters press agency and that consequently at least a portion of the communication has been published in the press. The message continued by stating that the Maharanee of Indore, who is an American woman, is on her way to the United States with the original letter addressed to the President.

The British Government complained that this action on the part of the Maharajah was a violation of his treaty obligations, and stated that the Maharajah was a psychopathic case to whom no importance should be attributed. The British Government consequently requested that in the event that the President thought it necessary to send any reply to such a communication when he received it, the reply be limited to a curt acknowledgment “to be sent through official channels”.

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I asked the Minister if he would let me know what “official channels” the British Government had in mind. Did it refer to the Indian Agent General in Washington or to the British Ambassador? Sir Ronald replied that in this case the British Ambassador was intended. I also inquired why the United States Consul in Bombay should have intervened in this question in the manner indicated. Sir Ronald Campbell said he had no information on that point.

S[umner] W[elles]
  1. British Minister.
  2. British Ambassador.