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Nehru, Jawaharlal (1889–1964), Prime Minister of India Avec objets numériques
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Letter from Jawaharlal Nehru to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

External Affairs Department, New Delhi.—Thanks him for his letter. He fully realises the difficulties they face, but hopes they will be overcome. The present atmosphere of suspicion will have to pass as new problems arise and people’s minds are diverted from old issues to living problems.

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Transcript

Personal

New Delhi
27. 7. 46

My dear Lord Pethick Lawrence,

I am grateful to you for your letter and the good wishes you have sent. I fully realise the difficulties facing us but I have every hope that we shall be able to overcome them. For the present the burden is heavy and the air is full of suspicion of each other. This will have to pass as new problems come up before us and people’s minds are diverted from old and stale issues to these living problems.

With all good wishes,

Yours sincerely
Jawarharlal Nehru

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Letter-head of the External Affairs Department, India.

Letter from V. K. Krishna Menon to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

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).

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Transcript

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,

Yours sincerely,
Krishna

Lord Pethick Lawrence of Peaslake, P.C.,
11, Old Square,
Lincoln’s Inn, W.C.2.

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Typed, except the signature.

Draft of a letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Jawaharlal Nehru

Sends good wishes on the occasion of India’s independence. The arrangements fall short of what he should have liked to see, but are far better than he once dared hope for. Is sorry he was unable to stay the full course (as Secretary of State), but is pleased by the appointments of Mountbatten and Mrs Naidu.

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Transcript

Copy

Aug 26. 47

My dear Nehru,

I h waited until now to write to you to send you my heartfelt good wishes, for though you are probably none the less busy, at least the excitement of the transition is over & you will be able to settle down to your stupendous task.

I imagine that you & I are in pretty close agreement about what has taken place. To me the solution falls far short of what I should have liked to see & yet it is far better than at one time I dared to hope. Looking back over the little more than two years tht have elapsed since I was directly association with Indian affairs I feel profoundly thankful tht such great changes have been peacefully accomplished & tht you have the opportunity for which your life has so well prepared you for directing the destiny of so large a part of the human race.

I was sorry not to be able to stay the full course myself. You know the American who said “in our country the trees are so tall tht it takes two men to see them, one looks as far up as he can & the other sees from there to the top” I went as far as I could & my successor saw to the end. And I think the same was true of the viceroyalty. I feel that in sending you Mountbatten we sent you one of the very best statesmen & I gather tht you & your colleagues have felt this too by the honour you have conferred on him in making him to be your first Governor General.

I was delighted tht you made our dear Mrs Naidu a temporary Governor. With her great heart & her sense of humour I am sure she will justify your appointment.

I shall write to Gaubliger {1} on his birthday.

With all my good wishes
I remain

Ever Sincerely Yours
[blank]

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In spite of the heading, this appears to be a draft rather than a copy. The shortened words, e.g. ‘h’ for ‘have’, are in the MS.

{1} Reading uncertain.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—Reflects on the colourfulness of Indian life. The mission are awaiting the results of their statement, and he has made his broadcast and addressed the press.—(Later.) Jinnah threatens not to answer for three or four weeks, but others have made encouraging signs.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
May 18. 46

My own very dear Beloved.

I have had to say to myself tht it is no good letting my heart or my head be obsessed with the idea tht I want to be home for 26th May. I came out here to do a certain job & I have just got to stay till it’s finished; & that’s that. As soon as it is finished I shall come home as fast as I can, you may be sure, to be with my old love again, & the day I come back & see you whatever it be according to the calendar will be our 26th May—our 45th anniversary!

I am so delighted to hear in your letters of how full your days have been with pleasurable activity. It is music in my ears; for I do so love to know tht you are enjoying yourself.

As for me my life here is full of colour & experience. Colour on the physical plane. The powerful sun, the flaming trees, the flashing birds, the darting chipmunks & lizards. The trees are red (Gold Mahar), gold (Cassia Sistilla) & apple-blossom tinted (Cassia Nodosa). Colourful personalities Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah, Wavell[,] to say nothing of people like Meliscent Shepherd, Mrs Naidu, Agatha Harrison & our own delegations & the secretaries.

So far in all the “changing vicissitudes of this mortal life” I have been upheld to keep my balance & my health. I eat well, digest well, sleep well & remain unfretted, remembering as Maud {1} said in Kashmir tht it is nt I that am doing it but He.

So my beloved I am patient & I am sure you will be also to await the day of our recession when it comes in His good will. I do not think it will be so very long before the work is finished here but it is still quite impossible to say.

Our D-day has come & gone, & we are awaiting its result. Our message {2} has not so far evoked any violent antagonism. I have made my broadcast {3}[,] addressed my press conference, met individual editors & so far it has been sunny weather. All this may be dashed at any minute but let us at any rate bask in the sunshine while it lasts!

Evening. As I anticipated, some clouds have darkened the sun & Jinnah threatens not to give us an answer for 3 or 4 weeks! {4} I really don’t know what to make of it. But there are still many encouraging signs. Brailsford, Sapru & many others have sent us delightfully enthusiastic congratulations. At the moment it looks as if Congress will come in. I see Lord Samuel spoke some very kind words about me in the H of Lords on Thursday May 16. I hope you got a copy.

And so my darling, my true heart, my beloved, my dear Wife I send you my love & blessing for May 26.

Your very own loving Boy.

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

{1} Maud Coote.

{2} The statement by the Cabinet Delegation and the Viceroy, published on the 16th. See Transfer of Power, vol. vii, No. 303.

{3} Transfer of Power, vol., vii, No. 303.

{4} See Transfer of Power, vol., vii, No. 322. The word ‘weeks’ is underlined three times.

Carbon copy of a letter from V. K. Krishna Menon to S. C. Roberts

Advises him of Nehru’s decision not to become a candidate for the chancellorship of the University of Cambridge.

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Transcript

4th November, 1950

Dear Vice-Chancellor,

I have now had the opportunity of ascertaining the views of my Prime Minister about the nomination of his name for the Chancellorship of University of Cambridge. I am to say, that Pandit Nehru is deeply conscious of the honour sought to be done to him and is very grateful to those who were good enough to think of him in this connection.

Pandit Nehru, however, does not wish to enter into any contest and therefore asked me to convey a request to those who have done him this honour to nominate him, to take such steps as they may consider suitable to effect its withdrawal. I have conveyed Pandit Nehru’s request to those concerned, and I have no doubt that in view of the high esteem in which they hold Pandit Nehru they would respect his wishes and accede to his request.

The Prime Minister is most anxious that you and the members of the University should not feel that any discourtesy whatsoever either to the University or to its Senators is intended or implied in the decision which he has made.

Yours sincerely,
[blank]

S. C. Roberts Esq.,
Vice-Chancellor of the University,
The Lodge, Pembroke College,
CAMBRIDGE.

Copy of a letter from Jawaharlal Nehru to Sir Stafford Cripps

Anand Bharnan, Allahabad.—Acknowledges Cripps's wish see India free, but emphasises the difficulties on both sides and the powerlessness of individuals to control the situation.

(Carbon copy of a typed transcript.)

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Transcript

COPY
VERY CONFIDENTIAL

Anand Bharnan, | Allahabad.
Dec. 3, 1945

My dear Stafford,

Your letter of the 20th Nov. reached me three days ago. I think I have some realisation of your wish to see India free, also of your difficulties. I do not underrate these difficulties. Many things that have been said and done during the past few years have hurt me and a dull pain endures, but at no time did I doubt that you had the cause of India at heart. It is seven years since I was in England and vast changes must have taken place there during these years. I think I have some conception of them also. But I often wonder if our friends in England, and those who are not our friends, have any realisation of what has happened in India, of the changes that have taken place here, and of the passion that lies behind India’s demand for independence. People have grown desperate and it is no easy matter to hold them in check. We have our difficulties also. On both sides, whatever our personal feelings in the matter, we become the agents of powerful forces which we may influence somewhat but cannot control. Individuals count of course but the reality is impersonal, the resultant of a chain of action.

We do not want anything untoward to happen till the elections are over and your Government has had a fair chance to take the next steps. We shall do our utmost to avoid conflict and to restrain the hotheads. But if even then there appears to be delay or what appears to be prevarication, then it is beyond our power or anyone else’s power to control the situation. You must remember that existing conditions in India are a grave and constant irritation and provocation.

Forgive me if I do not paint an easy picture. I do not want to delude you. Having spent a good part of my life in this business, I am tired of conflict and long to do something more worth while. But the fates have so far been against this.

I can have faith in an individual but not in a machine, and it appears that the machine counts in the long run. It is your presence in the British Govt. that gives me some hope. No one else then means much to me so far as India is concerned.

Yours,
(Sgd.) JAMAHARLAL†

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Marked at the head ‘3148’.

† Sic.

Letter from Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

India House.—Pethick-Lawrence’s message has been forwarded to her brother (Nehru). Indians have been heartened to realise that many people in Britain did not support the actions of their Government in the Middle East. She thinks her brother has made it clear that India would not wish to leave the Commonwealth. Invites him to lunch for a quiet talk.

Carbon copy of a letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Indira Gandhi

11 Old Square, Lincoln’s Inn, London, W.C.2.—Has returned to England, and Helen is on the way to America to see her children. Thanks her and her father (Nehru) for their hospitality. His interview with Miss Naidu at Calcutta was brief, as she was recovering from influenza. Has sent a letter of thanks for Miss Rao (see 2/112).

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