Item 6 - Extract from a letter from Lord Reading to Edwin Montagu

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MONT II/A/3/26/6

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Extract from a letter from Lord Reading to Edwin Montagu

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  • 28 Dec. 1921 (Creation)

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His visit to Calcutta was ‘crowded and agitated’, but he thinks the final result was good. It would have been bad tactics to give a definite refusal to the deputation’s proposals for a conference, though he always doubted that Malaviya could get sufficient assurances from Gandhi and the other leaders. But this is no longer a matter of practical politics, as Gandhi has declared a war of civil disobedience. Gandhi appears to have been irritated by what had happened, possibly by the pressure put on him by Malaviya and others and by the fact that the Government had put him in an awkward position. Reading’s answer to the deputation seems to have steadied moderate opinion. Since 17 November there has been a tendency to assert Government authority too much.

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