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Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—They are busy with interviews. Yesterday’s visitors included the ruler of Bhopal, and they are meeting Azad, Gandhi, and Jinnah today and tomorrow. Is dining with Jinnah tonight. He and Alexander may fly to Agra on Sunday to see the Taj.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
April 3. 46

My dear.

We are in the thick of it. Yesterday we started interviews at 10 AM & finishing @ 5 went on to a social gathering of the Press (off the record) which lasted 1¾ hours of which for one hour I answered questions. This was followed by a dinner in our house for 3 prominent Moslem league supporters. The conversations lasted till 11.30 PM during which I had to break off to have ¾ hr talk with an emissary from Gandhi.

Today is not quite so busy, but I am to have Jinnah to dine tonight.

I am exceptionally well.

Among our visitors yesterday was the ruler of Bhopal {1}[,] who is the “Chancellor” of the Princes[,] who seemed to me a particularly efficient man. Today we are seeing Azad & Gandhi separately & tomorrow Jinnah.

Sunday {2} Alexander & I are thinking of flying over to Agra to see The Taj.

I have been so pleased to get your second letter written I think last Monday {3}. They take about a week to come. The other way viz the India Office takes about 4 days.

All my love to you & all
Boy

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{1} Nawab Sir Hamidullah Khan.

{2} 7 April.

{3} 25 March. The letter is not extant.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—Refers to his forthcoming visits to Kashmir and the Taj. The mission has gained much goodwill, but their visitors do not expect that it will be able to resolve the impasse between Congress and the Muslim League.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
Saty April 13. 46

My beloved.

I may as well confess tht what I would love most wd be to spend Easter with my darling at Fways. But since tht is out of the question a few days recess in Cashmir has its charms. So many people have chanted the praises of Cashmir tht I shall be most interested to see how far their eulogies are justified. Then there will be also the relaxation from the heat here. Latterly we have been rather mercifully treated in tht respect. After rising day by day to a maximum of 105º (in the shade of course) the dust & rain storms brought it down with a run to a maximum of 85º & of course a minimum much below tht at night—almost cold. Now I expect it will creep up again & the flowers will gradually wither away. But the Jacaranda trees are in full bloom with their gorgeous blue flowers.

Meanwhile the political scene continues to run its course. None of our visitors seem to expect tht we shall be able to resolve the Congress-Moslem League impasse; on the other hand the Mission itself seems to have been accepted as sincere & to have won a fair measure of goodwill. After we come back from Cashmir all this remains to be put to the test.

Alexander & I plan to go to Agra tomorrow, starting fairly early, to see the Taj. We propose to be back here for lunch. Our intention is to leave here for Cashmir on Friday next April 19 returning Wednesday morning April 24.

A great budget of letters has just arrived—two from you dated 7th & 9th, two from E K 8th & 9th, one fm Kathleen Wilkinson & one from Arthur Henderson. I have only had time to glance at them as I want this letter to go by the bag. But I shall have leisure to read them all with enjoyment this Saturday afternoon.

My fond love to my darling
Boy

We had a party for all the Congress Working Committee last night. They all came. Presently we are doing the same for the Moslem League.

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There are a few characteristically abbreviated words, including ‘tht’ for ‘that’.

{1} 21 April.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

[Viceregal Lodge, Simla.]—Meetings with members of Congress and the Muslim League have begun. They will probably return to Delhi in about nine or ten days. Describes an excursion into the country and other activities. Refers to her letter in The Times.

(Letter-head of the Office of Cabinet Delegation at New Delhi, but evidently written at Simla.)

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Transcript

May 5 46

My dear.

Motor cars, rickshaws, ponies have brought the members of Congress & Muslim league to join us in discussion here, & one day I will tell you all the behind-the-scene details of the Alice-in-Wonderland’s croquet party which it involves. However the first day has gone off fairly well & if we are no nearer agreement at least we know more accurately where they all stand & wht we have to do about it.

I am still clinging to the hope tht I may be back for 26 May but it will be a near thing at best & it may well be tht I have to stay in India right on into June. We shall probably return to Delhi in about 9 or 10 days fm now. I expect you will hear all about it on the wireless. I went for a little walk from here a few minutes after the meeting dispersed & heard as I passed in a cottage a wireless report of it on the 6 o’c news.

We had a real holiday the first day after we got here & drove through Simla on the road when the milestone read 190 miles to Thibet! About 4 miles the other side of Simla we turned off the main road & then walked to a fascinating cottage facing the mountains & out on the lawn we had a picnic lunch. Walking back part of the way we encountered a troop of monkeys in the tree tops jumping from branch to branch. One, a young mother, had a baby tucked under one arm but jumped with the rest. Our bedroom windows are covered with wire netting so tht monkeys cant get in when the window is open, but I havent seen many in these grounds.

Since Thursday {1} I have been very busy but I have arranged to get some walks & some games of golf. There are shots over walls & all sorts of hazards which the Viceroy & his one-armed son {2} negotiate to perfection; & nearly every night I play a game of billiards on a rather ancient table with uncertain balls & rather crooked cues. Sometimes the whole company looks on. It is the Viceroys birthday today & I proposed his health.

I have had 2 letters from you full of good things {3}. I had missed your excellent letter in th Times {4}. You shd have received my letter about Kashmir {5} the day after your second one was written.

We had a thunderstorm on Friday afternoon & evening all over the ranges & ranges of hills that ring this place. It was really very wonderful & brought down the air temperature to a moderately wam English summer day.

All my love to my own darling & if 12th May hasnt actually passed when you get this my special love for tht.

Just Your own
Little Boy

I am very well & sleeping well.

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The address printed on the writing-paper is ‘Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi’, but the letter was clearly written at Simla. There are a number of characteristically abbreviated words, including ‘tht’ for ‘that’.

{1} 2nd.

{2} Archibald, later the 2nd Earl.

{3} These letters have not survived.

{4} The reference is to a letter published in The Times on 25 April (p. 5), appealing for donations to provide personnel to assist in famine relief in India. The letter was subscribed by Lady Pethick-Lawrence, Elizabeth M. Cadbury, T. Edmund Harvey, Lord Lindsay of Birker, and Carl Heath, and contributions were to be sent to the Friends Service Council.

{5} PETH 6/162, dated 19–24 April.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—The weather is cooler. The Muslim League have accepted the plan for constitution-making, and Congress may do so, but there may be a dispute about the interim Government. Discusses their date of departure and related arrangements.

Letter from Sir Francis Low to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

‘The Times of India’, 4 Albemarle Street, London, W.1.—Responsibility for the partition of India does not lie with the British Government, as implied by Sir Henry Craik at yesterday’s meeting of the East India Association, but with Jinnah.

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Transcript

The Times of India, London Branch:
4 Albemarle Street, London, W.1

9th Oct. 1953

The Rt. Hon. Lord Pethick-Lawrence,
11, Old Square,
Lincoln’s Inn,
London. W.C.2.

Dear Lord Pethick-Lawrence,

Had Sir Henry Craik not been moving the vote of thanks at yesterday’s meeting I would have liked to comment on one of his remarks. He said that the Partition of India ruined the life-work of people like himself who had been connected with the Punjab, of which he was at one time Governor. He inferred that the British Government were in some way responsible for this, either by agreeing to the Partition of India or by leaving India too soon. But, as I know well, the Partition of the Punjab was due not to the British Government but to Mr. Jinnah. Nobody believed more in the unity of the Punjab than its former Prime Minister, Sir Sikandar Hyat Khan, who I daresay you know. When Sikandar used to come to Bombay to attend meetings of the Council of the Muslim League he used to tell me—with the object of enlisting my willing help—that he would make a determined stand against Jinnah’s “nonsense” of splitting the Punjab. But he never did. Nobody could stand up to Jinnah, and I gather that at each meeting he completely dominated Sikandar and others of like mind and made mincemeat of their arguments. The breaking up of the unity of the Punjab, which made it so great a province, was a great tragedy, but the real author of that tragedy was, as I have said, not the British Government, but Jinnah. And Jinnah was embittered beyond all hope of conciliation by the Congress refusal to form coalition governments in the provinces in 1937 by taking in the provincial cabinets a representative or representatives of the Muslim League. I shall never forget the bitterness with which he said to me after that decision: “This is the finish. Since we cannot obtain justice in India we must form our own state”.

In closing may I congratulate you on the clear way in which you put the British Government’s case.

Yours sincerely,
Francis Low
(Sir Francis Low)

Telegram from Viscount Wavell to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

New Delhi.—It is reported in the Indian press that Pethick-Lawrence is about to retire, to be replaced by Cripps. He trusts this is not true, as the appointment of Cripps would destroy any hope of securing the co-operation of the Muslim League. If Pethick-Lawrence is indeed retiring, he would prefer that Alexander should succeed him.