The Officer in Charge at New Delhi (Merrell) to the Secretary of State
[Received July 17—5:19 a.m.]
492. In the Harijan of July 12 Gandhi answers a question which he says has been put to him by numerous Muslim correspondents, namely, how he can contemplate a mass movement for liberation without first reaching a settlement with Muslims. He replies that he at one time also considered settlement with Muslims a prerequisite to freedom. “But I see that for the moment I cannot reach the Muslim mind. The Muslim League blocks my way. In their opinion I am thoroughly untrustworthy. I do not know how to get rid of the distrust.” To the Muslim answer, “Give Pakistan” he replies, “It is not in my giving”. He goes on to say that “If I felt convinced of the rightness of the demand, I should certainly work for it side by side with the League. But I do not. I would like to be convinced. Nobody has yet told me all its implications. Only the protagonists know what they want and mean. I plead for such an exposition. Surely Pakistanis want to convert the opposition, not to force them? Has an attempt been ever made to meet the opposition in a friendly manner and to convert them? I am sure the Congress is willing to be converted, let alone one.” It may be pointed out parenthetically that Gandhi himself in another place in this same issue broadly defines Pakistan as “a demand for carving out of India a portion to be treated as a wholly independent sovereign state”.
Gandhi then asks, “But what am I to do meanwhile”. He answers the question by stating that “now is the time for India to play an effective part in the fortunes of the war, if she becomes free of British servitude”. In other words, there can be no Congress–Muslim League Settlement as long as ruling power is here to keep them apart and he must act now without waiting longer for a pretext agreeable to Pakistan.
He states that the conception of his movement “is not that of a settlement with the British Government. That could happen only [Page 682] if there is a settlement between the principal parties, and as a preliminary the Congress and the League. But that so far as I can see, is not to be. Therefore the only settlement with the British Government can be that their rule should end leaving India to her fate.” What would happen after complete transfer of power to India? “Militarily the most powerful party may set up its rule and impose it on India, if the people submit. Muslims may declare Pakistan and nobody may resist them. Hindus may do likewise, Sikhs may set up their rule in territories inhabited by them. There is no end to the possibilities. And to all this idle speculation let me suggest one more addition. The Congress and the League being best organized parties in the country may come to terms and set up a provisional government acceptable to all.”
Gandhi concludes the article by declaring that “the movement has only one aim—that is of displacing the British power. Why should not Muslims who believe in Pakistan but also believe in independent India join such a struggle? If on the other hand they believe in Pakistan through British aid and under British aegis, it is a different story. I have no place in it.”
Jinnah in a statement to the press on July 14 brands Gandhi’s claim that he and the Congress are open to conversion on Pakistan issue as the Mahatma’s “latest bait”. In support of his charge he refers to April resolution of All India Congress Committee at Allahabad condemning Pakistan and to Gandhi’s characterization of Pakistan provision of Cripps’ proposals as “wicked”. He also refers to Gandhi’s statement in Harijan, in discussing Rajagopalachari’s campaign, to the effect that Pakistan is a sin (Gandhi’s actual words in Harijan of May 24 were that “I consider the vivisection of India to be a sin”) Jinnah further points out that Rajagopalachari has been virtually-expelled from the Congress for his unreasonable terms to accept principle of Pakistan in order to reach settlement with Muslim League (referring to section 3 my 480, July 10, 3 p.m.3). As for Gandhi’s request for exposition of Pakistan, Jinnah says that “surely Mr. Gandhi does not need a better exposition than his own. He has himself put the Moslem demand in a nut-shell” (reference first paragraph of section 1 of this message).
Jinnah has following to say in connection with possibilities envisaged by Gandhi after withdrawal of British power prior to agreement between major parties: “The picture that he draws of the result of his movement, his one aim and object being to remove British power from India, means, on his own showing, that there will ensue a rule of the jungle. But he knows that he does not mean that. It is merely a ruse to coerce and embarrass the British Government to surrender [Page 683] to the establishment of Hindu Raj in this sub continent. I suppose he means to set up Hindudom.”
Replying to Gandhi’s question as to why Muslims do not join his struggle, Jinnah says “Mr. Gandhi’s conception of ‘independent India’ is basically different from ours. What we want is the independence of Hindus and Moslems and others. Mr. Gandhi by independence means Congress Raj. We do not believe in Pakistan through Britannia aid or under the British aegis. Pakistan is an article of faith with Moslem India and we depend upon nobody except ourselves for the achievement of our goal and Moslem India is ready and willing to face from whatever quarter the opposition and obstacles that may concert.”
Jinnah concludes by asking Gandhi “to give up the game of fooling the Moslems by insinuating that we depend upon the British for the achievement of our goal of Pakistan and as one of the foremost leaders of Hindu India and as a realist to show his sincerity and frankness for an honorable settlement”.
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