845.00/2–2846: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Gallman) to the Secretary of State


2441. RefDeptel 1801, February 26.16 Indication of official British view in recent disturbances in India furnished in statement made by Attlee in Commons on February 22 when he said Congress Party had disclaimed participation in mutiny but that “left wing elements and Communists were trying to work up sympathy”.

Following are personal observations made to us on this subject by various officials:

Patrick, Assistant Under Secretary of India Office, who several months ago attributed disorders largely to Socialist Congress Party, an extremist offshoot of the Congress Party (reEmbtel 12927, December 10, 194517), recently, but prior to naval mutiny, stressed complicity of left wing youth groups whom he referred to as “Communists”, but he said he had no knowledge of tie-up between these factions and Moscow. In this, as in previous discussions, he described Indian extremism as essentially a local product with little evidence of Soviet inspiration.

Henderson, Parliamentary Under Secretary for India, spoke without hesitation of implication of Indian Communist Party in recent disturbances and of association of that party with Moscow. In further discussion, however, he said that he had no actual proof of exertion of Soviet influence in India but that by process of rationalization he had arrived at that conclusion in same way that he assumed that Communist Party in Britain was Soviet backed, although he could not produce evidence to that effect. Henderson added that there was, of course, much more than the Communist activity behind recent disturbances and he mentioned such trouble—creating elements as natural reaction from war examples set by unruly British and American troops, economic maladjustments and various other factors. Lord [Page 83]Pethick-Lawrence speaking on general question of further status of India, made significant remark that British wanted to set up an India for Indians but not an India for some other power.

Major Baig, now here en route to Washington to serve as First Secretary in Indian Agency General, discounted importance of Communist agitation and said greatest trouble lay with leaders of both Congress and Moslem, League who follow policy of arousing masses by tendentious statements and then of turning innocent when natural violent reaction is produced. He also attributed present situation to announcement of British intention to turn over government to Indians, which he said interpreted by Indian public as sign of weakness of which advantage to be taken.

  1. Same as telegram 191 to New Delhi; see footnote 12, p. 80.
  2. Not printed.