Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Secretary of State

The British Ambassador called to see me today at his request.

The Ambassador spoke at some length with regard to the situation in India. Lord Halifax said that he would send to me occasional telegrams which he received direct from the Viceroy giving the Viceroy’s account of present conditions in India. I said I should be very glad indeed to have these messages for our information. The Ambassador inquired whether I would make available to him similar messages from the American mission in New Delhi. I said that any messages of this character received from our representative in New Delhi which I felt would be of interest to the Ambassador would be very gladly transmitted to him.

The Ambassador then communicated to me a message he had had from his Foreign Office stating that the position of American Commissioner in New Delhi had now been vacant for some time. The British Government felt that it would be very helpful if this position could be filled without much further delay, but, at the same time, made it clear that it believed that in view of the situation in India it would be very desirable that such appointment should not carry with it any implications that the new commissioner to be appointed was to undertake any form of mediation between the British authorities and the Indian leaders. In this regard the British Government further asked that were any statement to be issued by this Government announcing the appointment of a new commissioner, the statement might so be worded as to preclude the possibility of any implication that the appointment was made for the purpose of offering mediation. I told the Ambassador that I would convey this message to the President for his consideration and that from what the President had stated to me, I thought it very probable that an appointment would be made in the near future.

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