845.00/1–447: Telegram

The Chargé in India ( Merrell ) to the Secretary of State

secret

4. Deptel 953, December 31.2 Since Jinnah3 expected remain Karachi till January 12, following sent Karachi today.

Embassy on December 26 conveyed to Liaquat Ali Khan4 Dept’s view that it was doubtful Congress5 attitude re provincial groupings could be modified unless Muslim League made declaration or gave other tangible evidence of willingness cooperate within framework Indian Federal Union established accordance Cabinet mission plan.6 We stressed fact that we are fully aware as indicated in Acheson’s statement December 37 of need for providing in Federal Union ample scope for Muslim political and economic aspirations but that atmosphere for creating necessary safeguards can never be achieved unless concept of union itself is generally accepted by principal parties. Liaquat was also informed that Embassy had conveyed to Nehru,8 Patel9 and other Congress leaders Dept’s view that it is in interest of all United Nations that early and amicable settlement Indian constitutional [Page 137] problem be reached and that it would be wise for Congress accept interpretation set forth in HMG’s December 6 statement.10

Liaquat said he did not see how League could be expected give assurance re cooperation under Cabinet mission plan when Congress had not accepted plan as interpreted by HMG but that if Congress accepted December 6 statement, Jinnah would call meeting of League Council. When asked if he would convey Dept’s views to Jinnah, Liaquat said he thought Jinnah would be unreceptive at this time but that if Congress accepted December 6 statement expression our views to Jinnah then might have its effect.

Unless AICC decision January 5 takes form of outright rejection of December 6 statement, you are requested to express to Jinnah on January 6, US Government’s deep concern serious deterioration Indian political situation; to state it is our impression that in view Congress effort to accommodate itself to HMG and League’s interpretation of plan, US public will be puzzled if League now declines enter Constituent Assembly; and to say Dept believes any halt in constitutional progress may well cause widespread chaos similar China with worldwide repercussions.

FYI when Gallman11 talked with Jinnah in London December 12 Jinnah said he appreciated sympathetic interest shown by US Government and Acheson statement but much remained to be done to develop an informed world opinion and that this would take time.

Merrell
  1. Not printed. See Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. v, p. 112, footnote 68.
  2. Mohammed Ali Jinnah, President of the Muslim League.
  3. General Secretary of the Muslim League.
  4. Indian National Congress.
  5. For text of plan, see British Cmd. 6821, Statements by the Cabinet Mission and H.E. the Viceroy, 16 May 1946; or V.P. Menon, The Transfer of Power in India (Princeton University Press, 1957), pp. 466–475.
  6. Statement by Acting Secretary of State Dean Acheson on “United States Interest in India,” Department of State Bulletin, December 15, 1946, p. 1113, or Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. v, p. 99, telegram 7996 to London.
  7. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Vice-President of Governor-General’s Executive Council and Leader of the National Interim Government.
  8. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Home and Information Minister of the Interim Government.
  9. Reference is to a statement by the British Government supporting the Muslim League’s contention that decisions by simple majority vote should prevail in the inter-provincial groups of the regional areas. The Congress Party had contended that each province should be allowed to vote separately on whether or not to join groups.
  10. Waldemar J. Gallman, Counselor of Embassy at London.