845.00/9–444: Telegram

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

687. Although there has yet appeared no editorial comment, this morning’s New Delhi press gave renewed prominence to Mr. Phillips’ letter to the President of May 14, and published for the first time the substance of the telegram sent by Sir Olaf Caroe the Foreign Secretary in which he referred to Mr. Phillips as persona non grata in India.

In compliance with his request I called on Sir Olaf this afternoon and he said that he wanted to tell me quite frankly that the telegram was authentic except for the omission in the version published here of “the most important item” which was that Mr. Phillips’ letter had “sneered” at the Indian Army.

He also mentioned particularly Mr. Phillips’ allusion to the Indian Army as “purely mercenary” which had been taken up in another telegram. He added that he wanted to make clear that the telegram was not personal but was sent on behalf of the Government in India and represented others’ views as well as his own. I confined my reply to expressing surprise and to emphasizing that the letter had been written more than a year before its publication.

Caroe appeared shattered that his telegram had been made public and said that he had no idea how the leak had occurred.

Sent to Department as 687, September 4, 4 p.m.; repeated to London.


[Ambassador Phillips did not return to India, resuming his retirement status upon relinquishing his duties at the Headquarters of the Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF). The Officer in Chargé at New Delhi (Merrell) was on February 28, 1945, appointed Commissioner at New Delhi with the rank of Minister and on March 14, 1945, President Roosevelt accepted from Ambassador Phillips the latter’s resignation as Personal Representative of the President in India.]