Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle)
Sir Girja Bajpai came in to see me, at his request.
He said he wanted to review certain matters which had gone on regarding the possible change in status of India. He then gave me a verbal summary of the documents which he had already presented to Wallace Murray.95
The gist of this was that Lord Halifax had been working on a possible plan for India. He had submitted this plan (it is indicated in the memorandum handed by Sir Girja to Mr. Murray96) to Sir Girja, who had told him, rather bluntly, that he did not think it would work. Being asked for an alternative plan, Sir Girja had said that he thought that the only way now of handling matters was to announce to India that she would be given independence on a date certain; that if by that time, they had achieved a full unity of the Empire, independence would be substantially complete, subject to the Empire’s joining whatever cooperative international organization was then operative; but if unity had not been achieved, then the British Empire, or a cooperative group of nations, as the case might be, would undertake the defense of the Indian Empire, and the component parts of it would be allowed to maintain forces for police purposes only. He said Lord Halifax had agreed to consider the matter further and talk about it in London.