845.00/11–1645: Telegram

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

12013. Following are highlights of conversation of member of Embassy staff with high official of India Office:

Reports reaching London indicate that political situation in India is steadily deteriorating and serious disturbances regarded as probable. Nehru said to be evincing increasing impatience with Gandhi and his “spinning wheel and non-violence policies” and to be following deliberately provocative policy which would suggest he may be attempting to make his renewed imprisonment necessary.
Although still indicating intention of participating in elections12 Congress is not expending much effort in that connection and certain high ranking Congressmen have already indicated unwillingness to assume Government responsibility even though Congress is successful in elections. Reason for this apathy toward elections seen in fact that Congress leaders now taking line that only hope of achieving their ends versus both British and Moslems is resort to violence in anticipation that British Govt might hesitate to use force and that Congress would emerge from ensuing chaos with undisputed mastery of the field. Extent to which these tendencies reflect definite policy, however, is not yet clear. Meanwhile India Office is proceeding with study of plans to implement British Govt’s announced policies13 and considerable progress has been made on draft of treaty between the UK and India. India Office official mentioned that among many subjects to be covered problems of mutual defence and of position of Indian states will be important features in treaty.
[sic]. India Office also still has under consideration appointment of British High Commissioner in India. Discussion in that regard is at present centering on scope of that official’s functions and office of British Govt to which he would be responsible.
Regarding suggested raising of status of office of India representative in the US to that of Minister,14 India Office official observed that idea had been strongly favored on Halifax15–Wavell level but that technical personnel in both India Office and FO16 entertained certain reservations on subject in view of anomalous situation which would result as long as foreign affairs remained attribute of Viceroy. Impression was given that personal favor in which present Agent General17 held in British official circles had been factor in raising question.

Sent Dept as 12013 repeated New Delhi as 193.

  1. After the accession to office of the Labor Government in the United Kingdom on July 26, it was announced that elections in India for the central and provincial legislatures would be held, for the purpose of implementing that part of the British offer made by Sir Stafford Cripps in 1942 (British Cmd. 6350, India: Lord Privy Seal’s Mission, April, 1942); for documentation regarding interest of the United States in the Cripps Mission to India, see Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. iv, pp. 619 ff.
  2. The new Labor Government had invited Lord Wavell to return to London late in August for a discussion of the Indian situation. Upon his return to New Delhi Lord Wavell on September 19 made a statement, reporting that the new British Government “are determined, to do their utmost to promote in conjunction with leaders of Indian opinion the early realization of full self government in India”, and detailing certain steps which were to be taken; this statement was conveyed to the Acting Secretary of State (Acheson) by the Indian Agent General (Bajpai)with a letter of September 19 (845.00/9–1945).
  3. For documentation regarding this subject, see pp. 255 ff.
  4. Viscount Halifax, British Ambassador in the United States.
  5. Foreign Office.
  6. Sir Girja Shankar Bajpai.