845.00/7–2244: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

5810. Personal for the Secretary from Phillips.21 Following a statement on foreign affairs in Parliament by the Prime Minister22 on August 2d, it is possible that there will be a debate on the Indian [Page 238] situation. It is said that on July 29, Jinnah will meet with the Working Committee of the Moslem League to explain his attitude to Rajagopalachari’s23 formula.

Since coming to London I have carefully avoided showing any interest in Indian affairs in the belief that in view of my present connection with SHAEF23a it was best not to do so.

However because of developments which appear to be occurring in Germany24 might it not be opportune for us to express again our interest in the Indian situation? This could be done in two ways; either by an informal call by me on Mr. Amery,25 the Secretary of State for India, or better still by a word from the President to the Prime Minister, if the President feels inclined to take such a step.

If left to me I should like to be able to express the hope of my Government that every opportunity will be taken to bring the opposing political parties together and that I was mentioning the matter now because of recent developments in Germany and because of the great importance which we in America attach to the contribution which a united India could make to the future peace of the world. Some such expression of American interest in the right quarters at the present time might be opportune.

If the coming debate in Parliament could be so guided that India would feel the sincerity of the British position; and if the Viceroy on his part could invite the needed cooperation between the two leaders perhaps some forward step might be taken by the leaders themselves.

Personally it seems to me that Gandhi is making an effort to come to terms with the Moslems although his approach from our point of view does not appear to be a very straightforward one. Jinnah’s response on July 29 will be exceedingly important. But in my opinion it would be far more important if a convincing effort could be made now by the British Government to bring the leaders together in the interest of world peace. [Phillips.]

  1. Appointed in December, 1942, Personal Representative of the President in India with the rank of Ambassador, William Phillips had been absent from his post at New Delhi since April 28, 1943. From September, 1943, he had been serving on a special assignment as the Secretary of State’s representative at the Headquarters of the Supreme Allied Commander, European Theater. For correspondence regarding the mission of Ambassador Phillips in India, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. iv, pp. 178 ff.
  2. Winston S. Churchill.
  3. Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, former Premier of Madras and leading Indian nationalist. In 1942 Rajagopalachari had resigned from the Congress party in order to work for active resistance to the Japanese, in contrast to the “Quit India” policy of Gandhi and the Congress party leadership. Rajagopalachari also desired to promote a rapprochement between the Hindu Congress and the Moslem League, and, on April 8, 1944, had started a correspondence with Jinnah containing proposals for a Hindu-Moslem settlement on the Pakistan question. Due to his close relationship with Gandhi, Rajagopalachari’s proposals were considered to have Gandhi’s approval, and marked an important shift in Gandhi’s attitude toward the issue of Pakistan. Jinnah, however, had submitted the proposals to the Working Committee of the Moslem League without recommendations, as they had not come directly from Gandhi himself.
  4. Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force.
  5. Apparently a reference to the attempt on July 20, 1944, by certain German Army officers to bring about the assassination of Adolf Hitler, German Reichschancellor and Führer.
  6. Leopold S. Amery.