845.00/7–2244: Telegram

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

5931. For William Phillips. The President is out of Washington and, as any action of the sort suggested in the Embassy’s 5810 of July 22 should presumably take place before the debate in Parliament on August second, your suggestion that the President might wish to speak to the British Prime Minister now does not under the circumstances appear practical.

While the Department concurs in your opinion that any advance toward a settlement of the Indian problem would be particularly opportune at this time, it feels that your usefulness with SHAEF would be compromised were you to endeavor to influence the British Government in matters pertaining to India. The Department, however, approves of the Ambassador’s speaking on the subject if after discussion with you he considers that such action on his part would be desirable. While publication of your letter to the President, as reported to you, may increase British unwillingness to discuss the Indian situation, it is felt that while reiterating this Government’s expression of regret at the letter’s publication, as made to the British Embassy and reported telegraphically to the Ambassador and to you, the Ambassador might well make known to the British Government that this Government remains of the opinion that a satisfactory solution of the Indian problem would contribute much to the successful prosecution of the war in the Far East and is of great importance to the future peace of the world.

Reports from the Mission are not encouraging regarding the possibility of any favorable developments as an outcome of the Rajagopalachari–Gandhi formula and the Gelder30 statement. You may [Page 241] wish in that connection to refer to the Mission’s telegram of July 24 to the Embassy31 on the subject.

  1. In his telegram No. 351, June 26, 4 p.m., the Consul at Bombay (Donovan) had reported that: “Stuart Gelder, correspondent in India of London News Chronicle had interview with Gandhi June 19 at Poona. Gandhi wanted the interview publicized but without direct quotation; it is believed that he wished the interview published as a trial balloon. Burden of the interview was that Gandhi is extremely anxious to settle political deadlock and to meet the Viceroy for that purpose, but he insists on the Viceroy making first move.” (845.00/2298)

    Letters were exchanged during the summer months between Lord Wavell and Gandhi, in which the Viceroy refused to meet Gandhi and at the same time called upon the Mahatma to produce constructive proposals, taking into account that India was in the war (845.00/8–144). These events were described in considerable detail to the House of Commons by Mr. Amery, the Secretary of State for India, in closing a debate on India on July 28.

  2. Presumably telegram No. 537, July 24, 5 p.m., to the Secretary of State, not printed.