Memorandum by the Acting Secretary of State to President Truman35


Subject: Raising of Status of Indian Agency General in Washington, and of the American Mission in New Delhi

As a result of negotiations which have been going on between the Viceroy of India and representative Indian leaders, a new Executive Council (Cabinet) is to take office on September 2, 1946. The new Cabinet will be composed of outstanding leaders of the principal Indian political party, [parties?] together with representative leaders of certain minority groups. The British plan likewise calls for the convening of a Constitutent Assembly in the immediate future, which will [Page 93]have authority to draft a new Indian constitution providing for the complete severance of India from the Empire and Commonwealth if the Indians so desire. Although the second most important Indian political party has refused to participate thus far in these developments,36 it is believed that the new government will be representative of at least 80 percent of the Indian people.

It is anticipated that one of the first acts of the new government will be to request the exchange of fully accredited diplomatic representation between India and the United States.

While the Viceroy will continue legally to have the power of veto, until the new constitution comes into effect, we feel that representative Indian leaders capable of speaking in the name of the great majority of the Indian people will now be in effective de facto control of the affairs of India in view of the violent repercussions which would probably follow a decision of the Viceroy to act contrary to the advice of his new Cabinet on any important issue. We accordingly believe that if the new government should express a desire for the exchange of fully accredited representatives with the United States, we should without hesitation agree to receive an Indian Ambassador and to send an American Ambassador to India.

I should appreciate receiving your views on the subject in order that we may act with a minimum of delay in case the new Indian Government would like to have such an exchange effected.

Dean Acheson
  1. A marginal notation reads: “Approved Sept. 3 ’46 Harry S Truman.”
  2. Reference is to the Muslim League.