India House, Aldwych, London, W.C.2.—Explains why Nehru has decided not to become a candidate for the chancellorship of the University of Cambridge. Encloses a copy of his letter to the Vice-Chancellor (1/350).
India House, | Aldwych, | London, W.C.2.
5th November, 1950.
My dear Lord Pethick-Lawrence,
After the interview which you were kind enough to afford me, and our long talk, I sent a very full telegram to Panditji setting out all the facts. I had a reply from him which reveals both his concern for advice and his own embarrassment. He has asked me to say that he was very grateful to you for thinking of him in this connection and the discussions with me. He has told me in confidence, and I think it is right to tell you this for your own information, that there is very strong feeling in India about the whole business of a contest at all in which Panditji is involved. Indian public opinion has to be taken into account. It would be very resentful of a contest, and would be even more so if it went wrong in results! Panditji feels that the whole business may even have a bad effect on Indo-British relations and he says we cannot take that risk. He has, therefore, asked me to convey to you all this, and also to take such immediate steps as are possible to establish contact with the people concerned, in Cambridge, and to tell them that they should in whatever form possible, effect a withdrawal of his name. If necessary, I was to tell them in confidence of our difficulty in the matter. He has also authorised me to say to them that they could announce that the decision to have his name withdrawn was taken at his request. Also he is very conscious of the honour done to him by you and the rest of his supporters, and that no discourtesy to the University is intended in his decision.
I am glad to say that I was able to meet the Cambridge people last Friday. Mr. Gold and others, who came here to see me. I persuaded them after nearly an hour and a half’s talk to take the necessary steps for effecting a withdrawal. They were, however, most upset and resentful of the intervention of the Vice-Chancellor which they thought had spoilt the issue for them, but appreciated the Prime Minister’s difficulty. They have made a communication to the Vice-Chancellor, to whom I have also written. I enclose a copy of the letter for your personal information.
Being the weekend I was not able to get in touch with you. I spoke to the Observer people myself and I think they have dealt with the matter sympathetically.
Very kind regards,
Lord Pethick Lawrence of Peaslake, P.C.,
11, Old Square,
Lincoln’s Inn, W.C.2.
Typed, except the signature.