845.00/1383: Telegram

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

500. The following is the report of an interview which took place yesterday afternoon between Maulana Azad and a well-known Indian journalist:

“Question: Colonel, is there any basis for the impression prevailing in certain quarters, after the statements made by Mr. Gandhi and Pandit Nehru, that there is hardly any room left for negotiation with the Congress?”

“Answer: If this refers to India’s right of independence, it is certainly not a matter for negotiation. It is a fundamental principle which must be recognized by the United Nations. But if the question refers to arrangements for the duration of the war, there is a clear procedure envisaged in the resolution of the Working Committee itself, and there is no reason to suggest and there is no room for negotiation. It is quite obvious to my mind that matters of this-nature can only be settled by negotiation.”

“Question: Suppose there is a declaration on behalf of the United Nations guaranteeing India’s independence, will it satisfy what you regard as a fundamental principle?”

“Answer: It will depend entirely on the form and content of the declaration and, in any case, I can assure you that there is no reason why the Congress should not give the fullest consideration to any declaration of the kind you have mentioned.”