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

No. 790

Sir: I have the honor to report that on September 26, 1944, the undersigned was asked by Lieutenant General Sir Thomas J. Hutton, Secretary of the newly created Planning and Development Department of the Government of India, whether it is true, as he had heard, that American universities and technical schools have set aside places for students from India. He was told that the Mission had not heard that places had been set aside for students from particular countries, but an inquiry would be made regarding the situation if he so wished. General Hutton stated that he thought inquiries were being made through the Agent General of India in Washington.

[Page 285]

He then expanded a thesis which has not been heard before, namely that the similarities of size, climate, and problems of India and the United States suggest the advisability of sending Indian engineering students to the United States to study. Moreover, he observed, the constitutional framework of the United States is somewhat similar to that of India. In India the Constitution is on the federal pattern with large fields of activity reserved to the Provinces. This creates problems similar to the “States rights” difficulties which have had to be overcome in the United States before development projects involving several States, such as the TVA, could be achieved. Moreover, he pointed out, the constitutional powers of the Viceroy resemble those of the President of the United States much more than they do those of the British Prime Minister, who, essentially, is chairman of a governing committee, the Cabinet.

The intention of the Government of India to send young Indians to the United States, as well as to the United Kingdom, for technical training was announced by the Member of the new Department of Planning and Development. Sir Ardeshir Dalai, at his first press conference on September 14, 1944, as reported in the Mission’s despatch no. 773 of September 18, 1944.89

The statement of Sir Ardeshir and the remarks of General Hutton are at variance with the actions of the Exchange Control Authorities in Calcutta which the Consulate General, in its despatch no. 358 of September 21, 1944,89 interpreted as:

“… advanced planning to prevent future engineers and technicians from falling under so-called ‘non-British influence’ and possibly looking towards other markets than the United Kingdom as a possible supply for the demand of India’s imports.”

The atmosphere of New Delhi is, in many ways, far different from that of Calcutta where long established British interests often appear to look at the future from a narrow self-interested point of view. It is also possible that the Government of India views differently those Indians it selects for study abroad and those who endeavor to go abroad to study as a result of their own initiative. If this differentiation exists, it is believed it is due primarily to political rather than commercial motivation.

Respectfully yours,

For the Secretary in Charge:
Sheldon T. Mills

Secretary of Mission
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.