The Consul General in India (Macdonald) to the Secretary of State

No. 24

Sir: I have the honor to report that, accompanied by Vice Consul J. Jefferson Jones, III, I called on Mr. M. A. Jinnah, President of the Muslim League, on March 5, 1947. Mr. Jinnah, who received us at his residence, was most affable and showed considerable enthusiasm at times during our forty-five minute conversation. Although Mr. Jinnah said nothing which he has not said numerous times before, the more pertinent parts of his conversation are reported herewith as of possible interest.

Referring to the British Government’s statement regarding the transfer of power to responsible Indian hands not later than June, 1948, Mr. Jinnah said he is anxious to hear what the American reaction is to the proposal. He said that he could understand the American public’s surprise as well as impatience with India for not finding a solution to its political problems following Britain’s offer of independence. Mr. Jinnah then made the statement that news regarding Indian problems in the American press is influenced by false propaganda. He did not accuse the British of influencing the American press, but was very out-spoken in placing all the blame for the so-called false propaganda on the Congress party which, according to him, has a highly efficient propaganda organization that is on the alert for all foreign correspondents and journalists. I remarked that prior to my departure from the United States it was not my impression that news relating to India was affected by propaganda and also mentioned the fact that a number of American correspondents are assigned to India at present and it is their job to report facts free from all propaganda or prejudice. Mr. Jinnah admitted that some journalists who spend sufficient time in India obtain a correct view of the situation and mentioned several whom he had met and considers to be top rate reporters. He reiterated, however, his concern regarding the danger of [Page 150] new correspondents falling into the hands of the Congress party propaganda machine.

On his return from London in January, Mr. Jinnah said that at a reception given him in Cairo he was told by a group of prominent Egyptians that they had a warm heart for him as a brother Muslim, but found his policy annoying as they felt he was in league with the British instead of working for Indian independence. To this accusation he replied that he would be only too happy to prove his innocence if given an opportunity. He told the accusing group that if Congress really wanted to test his sincerity regarding his desire for Indian independence, they should agree to Pakistan. In the event, he said, that the Congress did come to such an agreement, he would immediately accept the responsibility placed upon him for taking the necessary steps to establish a constitutional government and he added “I would be the first to go down to the Gateway of India to wave farewell to the British”.

The Muslims, according to Mr. Jinnah, cannot accept the idea of a united India because in so doing they would merely be substituting a Hindu Raj for the British Raj. He said that it is foolish to talk about a compromise because one cannot have compromise unless there is a basis for it. He added that the difference in culture, religion, and way of life between the Muslims and Hindus precludes any possibility of a compromise. He asked why a hundred million Muslims should become a minority in a Hindu dominated Government. Vice Consul Jones made reference to safeguards such as those contained in the Cabinet Mission’s proposals, to which Mr. Jinnah replied that safeguards for the minority in a united India were worthless because in the event of an appeal by the minority the accused would sit as the judges of the accusers. The only recourse left to the Muslims in such eventuality would be an appeal to the United Nations.

Mr. Jinnah talked at some length on what he regards as the utter folly of compromise. He said “we have made sacrifices, we are willing to make more sacrifices, and even die for Pakistan, so why should people talk of compromise when there is no basis for compromise”.

Despite several leading questions which I asked him during the course of our conversation, Mr. Jinnah did not touch upon the present political situation or shed any light upon the probable reaction of the League to the United Kingdom Government’s statement of February 20. His emphatic reiteration that there could be no compromise regarding the basic principles of Pakistan does not lead to optimism that the attitude of the League will be any more conciliatory in the future than that which it exhibited at the time of the last meeting of the Working Committee of the League on January 28, 1947.

Respectfully yours,

John J. Macdonald