845.01/7–1044: Telegram

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

503. Pearson’s article was published in Extension India on July 8 (Department’s telegram 467, July 7, 8 p.m.)

The Government of India previously having been advised, the President’s letter was handled [handed?] by Berry18 to Birla19 at Bombay on about June 24 for delivery to Gandhi. Birla was proceeding to Poona the following day. Several newspapers mentioned the letter in connection with Berry’s trip to Bombay and I believe that this was probably the source of Pearson’s information rather than any direct communication by the Indian Congress circles to sympathizers in the United States.

In fairness to the Government of India and in compliance with the Foreign Secretary’s20 request that I deny the report that the Government of India was responsible for the letter not having been delivered prior to Gandhi’s release I gave a statement today to Reuter’s correspondent to the effect that the American Mission had at no time requested the assistance of the Mission [or permission?] of the Indian Government to transmit a letter to Gandhi and that the report in the press is therefore erroneous.

  1. James L. Berry, Secretary at New Delhi.
  2. Probably G. D. Birla, Indian industrialist and member of a family prominent in Indian industrial, commercial, and financial life.
  3. Sir Olaf Caroe, Secretary to the Government of India in charge of the External Affairs Department.