845.00/1798: Telegram

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

151. Matthews of New York Times19 informed me this morning that he had just seen Sir Sultan Ahmed, Law Member of the Executive Council, who said Gandhi’s condition is very grave and that he may die within a few days. Sir Sultan and four other Indian members of the Executive Council are seriously considering resigning but have not yet reached a definite decision. They feel that they cannot permit the Viceroy to make them appear responsible before the Indian people for the death of Gandhi but hesitate to sever their connections with the Government. According to Matthews, Sir Sultan said that he and his four colleagues could not obtain permission to see the Viceroy today. From another source I heard that Linlithgow is indisposed.

It would be helpful for me to know whether the President and you would be willing to allow me, in the event that it is learned that [Page 194] Gandhi’s life is in imminent danger, to approach the Viceroy informally and express our deep concern over the political crisis.

Even though there might be no immediate results, perhaps such action might be useful for the record, because it would help to correct the impression, based on our inactivity and the presence of American troops, that we have been giving support to the Viceroy’s position.

  1. Herbert L. Matthews, in India from August 1942.