845.00/1772: Telegram

Mr. William Phillips, Personal Representative of President Roosevelt in India, to the Secretary of State

70. Since my arrival I have been meeting Indians of all shades of opinion and I have had long talks with many.

There has been much press comment including amusing cartoons but underlying much of it are hope and expectation that I may be able to help solve the problems. See my No. 71 of today’s date.11 While there are pronounced divisions of opinions between Indian politicians and parties, they all seem united in their demand for “freedom” from English rule although they have different ideas and often little conception in regard to the responsibilities of “freedom”. The Indian states, however, are remaining for the present aloof from the demands of British India.

The heart of the problem seem to me the lack of faith in the promises of the British Government. Therefore, a new move by the British, more advanced than that contained in the 1935 constitution12 or the Cripps proposals,13 is almost certainly necessary before the Indian leaders can be induced to make another serious effort to reach an agreement among themselves. The great majority of the people are said to be incapable of deep thinking on political questions but are satisfied to accept the ideas of their leaders.

My relations with the Viceroy are important. So far they are very cordial but in order to strengthen them and impress him without the necessity of a new approach to the problems, I believe that it is desirable for me to have a wider knowledge of the views from parts of India other than Delhi, consequently I am planning journeys in the north, central and southern sections of the country which begin next week with the Punjab.

  1. Not printed.
  2. An act to make further provision for the Government of India, August 2, 1935, Great Britain, The Public General Statutes, 25 & 26 Geo. V, ch. 42, p. 569.
  3. British Cmd. 6350: India (Lord Privy Seal’s Mission), April 1942.