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Cripps, Sir Richard Stafford (1889–1952), knight, politician and lawyer Afbeelding With digital objects
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Carbon copy of a letter from F. W. Pethick-Lawrence to Sir Stafford Cripps

Has joined the Socialist League. Explains why he opposes the view that a Labour Government should nationalise the joint stock banks when it nationalises the Bank of England (cf. 1/160–2 and 1/166–7).

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Transcript

Confidential.

28th. September, 1932.

Dear Stafford,

I have just joined the new Socialist League on the strength of your signature. I waited to do so as I was not sure whether it was going to be merely a “Wise” society or a body of people who are really keen upon implementing effective socialism. I shall turn up at the meeting on Sunday and I expect we shall have a rare old debate on all sorts of subjects.

The question which above all others interests me is of course currency and banking. I do not anticipate any substantial divergence of views on the former, but on the latter I know that Wise will make tremendous efforts to defeat the proposal of the Labour Executive to postpone consideration of the position of the Joint Stock Banks till next year, and will endeavour to insert instead a proposal to include their nationalisation simultaneously with that of the Bank of England.

This is a matter to which I have devoted a very great deal of thought and attention and I should like if possible to have a chance of meeting you before Sunday to discuss it. I shall be travelling to Leicester as early as Friday next and my address there will be c/o Miss Fortey, 31, Meadhurst Road, Leicester. I am at present free both on Friday evening and on Saturday late afternoon and evening. But in case we do not have an opportunity of meeting I want to set out here my principal reasons for wishing to confine ourselves in our public policy for the next general meeting to that in the Labour Resolutions. These are you will remember: first, a general power of control such as you yourself have suggested—a sort of financial D.O.R.A., and secondly, the definite nationalisation of the Bank of England.

1) I have attempted to visualise the work that will be thrown on the Finance Minister of the Labour Government after the Bank of England has been nationalised. If this is to be of any real account it will have to be a whole time job. So much so, that I do not think it can be done by the Chancellor of the Exchequer but by a separate Finance Minister chosen for the express purpose. Some people imagine that there will only be a few broad general principles which he will have to decide. I do not take this view, for most of the questions which the present Governor of the Bank of England decides are big issues, and an untrained Minister with an untrained staff will be wholly inefficient unless he devotes a great deal of time to making such changes in policy at every point where it may be necessary.

If the Joint Stock Banks are to be taken over in addition, that is a still larger job and will require minute and detailed work, particularly in the earlier stages. If this work is not be be put into the job and we are to trust to appointing as managers a number of banking people who we think are friendly to the Labour point of view, we shall mess the job up altogether. It might perhaps be said that we can have a third Labour Minister for this purpose, but I regard this as unpracticable.

2) The Labour Party has not yet thought out any clearly defined policy which the J.S.B. should pursue, and until this is done I can see no great advantage in prematurely taking them over.

3) Those who support the proposal frequently use such loose phrases as “it is the business of the Joint Stock Banks to finance industry”. In my view they are quite wrong. Financing industry is a long term operation and the work of the J.S.B. is confined in the main to short term lending. That is to say, to tiding industry over short periods in which they want ready money. It is quite true recently that some of these short term credits have become frozen, but that does not alter the essential fact.

4) Wise and Cole and others maintain that it is necessary to nationalise the J.S.B. to prevent Government policy being sabotaged. I take precisely the opposite view. In so far as Labour policy involves socialising industry, that industry ought not to be financed by the J.S.B. but by the Central Banking Institution. In Russia, Gosplan, which corresponds to the Bank of England is the authority for issuing short term credits.

5) In so far as any parts of industry remain in the hands of private enterprise it is much better that they should draw their resources from private enterprise banks instead of from Government owned banks. One of the great difficulties of the late Labour Administration was that we had to buttress up capitalist enterprise w[h]ile advocating socialism. That difficulty is bound to exist in any transitional regime: but it will be enormously increased if the media through which private enterprise is to be helped over temporary difficulties is itself a Government Institution.

6) Put into practical terms, the difficulty presents itself a) that the Finance Minister would have to pick & choose between rival industries, and b) M.Ps would be bombarded by pressure from local employers to secure overdrafts for their works.

7) We must not forget that in the first Parliament there will be great demands on time, and there will be many voices who will claim that finance ought not to take first place. I disagree with this because I think both the general power of control and the particular nationalisation of the Bank of England are essential before any substantial measure of Socialism can be brought about. But I do not see why the further step of nationalising the J.S.B. should precede, and therefore delay, other socialist action when in effect it is not necessary for this purpose.

8) We have to educate the electorate to our point of view. With a hostile press it is particularly difficult to get them to understand that any step in the nationalisation of banking is not confiscation. I believe the public are nearly ready for nationalisation of the Bank of England, but I believe they are a very long way from being ready for nationalisation of the J.S.B. And unless it is really necessary I think it will be a grave mistake to burden our programme with this big project.

I will only add one general word. If we were contemplating revolution such as took place in Russia, or a kind of catastrophic change such as happened in France at Mob[i]lisation, 1914, it might be necessary for us to swallow the whole meal and subsequently spew out what we could not digest, as was done in both those cases. But if we are going to carry out Socialism by stages as our general programme suggests, then it is essential that each stage should be well thought out in advance and should be carried out with the utmost efficiency. This is necessary to secure the continuance of public support.

The gist of my opposition is that it is not necessary in the first instance to nationalise the J.S.B., that we have neither the policy nor the machinery to carry out such a step efficiently, and on the contrary, that it is actually better from a financial point of view so long as some private enterprise remains to leave this being fed by private banks, while feeding our own socialised industry, as is done in Russia, direct from the Central Bank, or if it should prove necessary, from a subsidiary of that Bank.

Yours sincerely,
[blank]

Since dictating the above I have developed a slight temperature which may imply incipient “flu” but I shall hope otherwise & to get to Leicester on Friday

The Hon. Sir Stafford Cripps, K.C., M.P.,
“Goodfellows”
Lechlade,
Gloucester.

Letter from Sir Stafford Cripps to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

3 Elm Court, Temple, E.C.4.—The course recommended by Pethick-Lawrence (see 5/46) would be the best one for the present capitalist Government to adopt if they want capitalism to stagger on as long as possible. But it is increasingly important for the Labour Party to be frankly socialist and not to think of returning to an era of expanding capitalism.

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Transcript

3 Elm Court, Temple, E.C.4
July 14th 1933

Dear Pethick,

Thanks for your letter and the enclosure {1}. I think it probably sets out the best course to be adopted by the present capitalist Government if they want capitalism to stagger on as long as possible. My own view increasingly is that it should be given the ‘coup de grace’ at the earliest possible moment, and I do not think that a Socialist policy would really have any relation to what Roosevelt is doing in America except in a rather vague way in the earlier stages.

I think it is becoming increasingly important for the Labour Party to be quite frankly socialist and not to think of getting back to an era of expanding capitalism, which I am convinced is inherently impossible, and any way is undesirable.

Yours ever
Stafford

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{1} Apparently a cutting referring to policies adopted by Roosevelt in America.

Carbon copy of a letter from F. W. Pethick-Lawrence to Aldous Huxley

Praises his book Grey Eminence, and discusses the involvement of mystics in politics. Refers to Gandhi’s inflexibility on certain subjects, and suggests that his policy may result in calamities comparable to those created by Father Joseph.

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Transcript

29th. November, 1943.

Dear Huxley,

A colleague M.P. {1} who had read my autobiography insisted that I should read your book “Grey Eminence” {2}, and I have now done so with absorbing interest. The double riddle that you set yourself to solve, first as to why a mystic should engage in politics at all and secondly, why if he did so he should play such an abominable part, is in itself a most fascinating one; and your solution appears to me as nearly satisfactory as any appreciation of somebody else’s pyschology† can possibly be.

I agree broadly with you that it is not the function of a mystic to engage in “activities” at all and that he is wise to refrain from so doing until he has reached a degree of spiritual discernment which enables him to discriminate between good and bad action. I think you are also right in pointing the danger of that school of Christian mystics who transfer their attempt at union with the Central Life to union with Christ (though no doubt some of them believe that this is the same thing). It seems to me moreover that if Father Joseph had concentrated his mind on Christ the Lover of men who suffered little children to come to Him and told us that we must enter the Kingdom as little children, he might not have been so regardless of human suffering as he became in contemplating the sufferings of Christ on the Cross.

Of course it is in general true that a man of some eminence in his own sphere should hesitate before entering a sphere other than his own. I have noticed the unfortunate result of neglecting this in many cases and I have noted also that the most eminent are usually too wise to fall into this mistake.

But for those whose sphere is religion and who have attained to {3} some measure to union with the Central Life the danger is much greater, both for themselves and also for the public who are wont to assume that their saintly life has given them a discernment in worldly af[f]airs which they do not necessarily possess. I was reading in The New Statesman a few weeks ago a remark which it is said was used by Oliver Cromwell to a number of Northern Ireland Divines “I beseech you in the bowels of Christ to think that ye may be mistaken”. The religieus† i4} is apt to assume that he is never mistaken and the words that fall from his lips belong to the category “Thus saith Zoroaster”.

I expect your mind has turned, as mine has done, from the mystic politician of the 17th century about whom you write to the Mahatma politician of our own day. I wonder whether it has occurred to you to write a companion volume dealing with his “activities”? If not, perhaps some future writer a century or two hence will write up the story and sum up the result in somewhat the same way that you have done with regard to Father Joseph.

I do not of course attribute to Gandhi the political malpractices performed by Father Joseph which seem so disreputable to us and even to his contemporaries. I have known Gandhi personally for a great many years and have been a great admirer of him; and I know his meticulous care to be fair and just. Nevertheless the result of his policy may bring upon India and indeed upon the whole world calamities comparable to those which Father Joseph created. I will give you three examples:—

1) Gandhi feels deeply the spiritual wrongs inflicted by Hindu castes on the untouchables and has his own approach to this question. But the untouchables must be saved his way and this makes him very intolerant of Ambedkar the leader of the untouchables. I saw this myself on the Round Table Conference and its sequel.

2) Gandhi preaches the spiritual view of continence. Therefore he will have nothing to do with birth control. But Gandhi’s spiritual doctrine is quite above the heads of the vast mass of his fellow countrymen. Therefore we have the appalling picture of an India already over populated, having some 50 million extra souls to its population in the course of the last ten years.

3) Gandhi has a spiritual conception of the independence of India. This makes him intolerant of any compromise and I think there is no doubt that it was his influence which caused the Cripss† olive branch to be rejected in the summer of 1942. This has resulted in the further drawing apart of the Hindus & British, of the Moslems & British, and the Hindus & Moslems; and though one can never predict the final closing of the gates of mercy, it may prevent a peaceful solution of the Indian problem for many years to come. I think that Gandhi himself has envisaged the breaking out of civil war.

In conclusion may I say once more what a great service I think you have rendered in writing such an amazingly interesting and penetrating book.

I remain,

Yours sincerely,
[blank]

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{1} Godfrey Nicholson. See 5/62.

{2} A study of François Leclerc du Tremblay (1577–1638), a French Capuchin monk more commonly known as ‘Père Joseph’ or ‘l’éminence grise’ (the grey eminence). He was the confidant and agent of Cardinal Richelieu, ‘l’éminence rouge’.

{3} Altered from ‘in’. ‘to’, the next word but two, should have been altered to ‘of’.

{4} Typed ‘religieuse’ and altered by hand to ‘religieus’.

† Sic.

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.

Copy of a letter from M. K. Gandhi to Sir Stafford Cripps

Camp: Gauhati (‘as from’ Sevagram, Via Wardha).—Acknowledges the receipt of his letter, and expresses the hope that ‘this time there is determination to do the right thing in terms of Indian thought’.

(Typed transcript.)

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Transcript

As from Sevagram, | Via Wardha (India)

Camp: Gauhati,
12th January, 1946.

Dear Friend,

I was delighted to receive your letter of 19th December ’45. As I am touring Bengal and Assam, your kind greetings were received only yesterday. The Rajkumari {1} had described her talks with you and told me how affectionate you were towards me. I am hoping that this time there is determination to do the right thing in terms of Indian thought. I well remember what King Edward had said about right dealing. I was then in South Africa. The question was of interpreting the treaty between the British and the Boers, and the King had gently insisted on the Boer interpretation being accepted in preference to the British. How I wish that the admirable canon be repeated this time.

I hope with you that this New Year will bring to the thirsting earth the much needed shower of peace and goodwill for which the “Prince of Peace” lived and died.

Yours sincerely,
(sgd) M. K. GANDHI

Sir R. Stafford Cripps,
Board of Trade,
Millbank,
London, S.W.1.

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{1} Amrit Kaur.

Letter from Sir Stafford Cripps to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

Suggests that Frank Turnbull should be with them when they meet at Chequers, and that Maurice Gwyer should be Pethick-Lawrence’s legal adviser while he is in India. Intends to ask Short to come with him, instead of Moore, whom he would like to see re-employed in India.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Baghdad and ‘On the plane’.—Describes the Cabinet mission’s stay at Tunis. Afterwards they flew to Baghdad, where they met the Iraqi Prime Minister and his Cabinet. They are now on the way to Karachi.

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Transcript

Bagdad†
Mch 23. 46

My dear.

I have enjoyed every minute of my time so far. I was warned tht the time in the areoplane† would be very tiring but I have not found it so at all. Quite the contrary it is has† been a delightful rest. We have flown for the most part at between 7000 & 10,000 feet. But it has been so clear tht I I have been able to see th sea on the ground underneath nearly all the way. Yesterday we passed over Haifa, Mt Carmel Nazareth & Galilee on our way here.

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on the plane

Tunis was a pleasant cool place & we had several walks along the sea. Our residence was about 10 miles out from the city. We came in one afternoon to visit the Arab quarter and saw a number of booths in some of which were fine display of carpets—one small one of Japanese silk was priced at £250 & was very delicate.

Wednesday night {1} we dined with the French Resident General {2} (at their house in Tunis) & I sat next to his wife, a most accomplished woman. She showed me her library of books artistically bound by her own hand. Her husband General Mast was a fine intellectual type. It was their summer residence in which we stayed.

We made an early start on Thursday {3}. We were called at 4.30 AM & pushed off from our house in the dark at 5.15. There was a slight delay at the Aerodrome but we took the air before the sun rose. We passed Pantelaria† on the left & Crete on the right & reached Cyprus at 12.15 (Tunis time) (1.15 Cyprus time). We came down there & had only 50 min to drive to the house of the Governor—a lovely spot—have lunch & drive back to the plane. We were soon up in the air again & over Palestine & along the pipe line towards the Tigris & Baghdad. It was only just light when we arrived at 6.30 (Baghdad time).

S.C. {4} & I stayed with the British Ambassador {5} who had invited all the Iraqui† Cabinet to meet us at dinner. I had a long talk with the Prime Minister {6} afterwards. The Ambassador’s wife found I liked the bananas & dates & said she would send a packet of the latter to you. If you get them you will no doubt write to thank for them to| Lady Bird | The British Embassy | Baghdad | Iraq.

There was some discussion about the suffragette movement & a soldier said his aunt had been one.

I had a very good night & after breakfast a banana, 2 oranges & an apple & toast, I walked round their fine garden on the banks of the Tigris & drove off to our plane and took the air at 9. We are now having lunch & are due at Karachi at 4.30 PM (6 PM Indian time).

{7} My darling

I have written the above in scrappy little bits for general consumption. This sheet is for my own dear love. I am afraid you wd be a long time without a letter from me. I wrote my letter in Tunis on my arrival but the quickest way to get it to you was to carry it on to Cyprus & despatch it from there. Tonight or tomorrow you will hear of our arrival in India. We are expecting to meet the press in Karachi on arrival & shall see them again at Delhi on Monday. We meet Alexander at Karachi & the Viceroy {8} in Delhi.

I do so hope you had a fruitful & enjoyable time with all your engagements in London & will enjoy your gardens in Peaslake next week. I send to you dear messages of love. I have great faith in my colleagues to reach a real solution of our problems, & your prayers & good wishes & those of our friends & the nation as a whole are a great support. Your token of love is safe in my waistcoat pocket {9}.

Blessed Sweetheart
I am your own boy lover.

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The letter contains a few characteristically abbreviated words, including ‘tht’ for ‘that’.

{1} 20 March.

{2} General Mast.

{3} A mistake for ‘Friday’.

{4} Stafford Cripps.

{5} Sir Hugh Stonehewer Bird.

{6} Tawfiq al-Suwaidi.

{7} A new sheet begins here.

{8} Lord Wavell.

{9} Before he left England Emmeline had given him a ‘little charm or keepsake’ to keep him company. See PETH 8/68.

† Sic.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—The Cabinet mission are about to remove to Willingdon Crescent, where life will be less formal. They had a large press conference last night.

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Transcript

The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
Mch 25. 46

My dear.

I am now nearing the end of the second day here & tomorrow we are migrating to our private residence in Willingdon Crescent. Though everyone has been more than kind here I shall not be sorry to shake off the excessive formality & ceremony. At lunch & dinner there are as many servants in gorgeous red livery as there are diners. When the Viceroy & his wife walk into dinner his own sister & his daughter have to curtsey to them. There are some 250 gardeners in the garden, & the house is I think actually larger than Buckingham Palace. Of course my “bearer” will go on with me to the house. He is a very charming person & I submit gracefully to his ministrations which include putting on me nearly all my clothes but he does not insist on seeing me into bed at night!

I am exceedingly well & have recovered from the slight liver-sluggishness from having no exercise whatever during the last 2½ days of my flight.

One of the guests here is General Wauchope who was High Commissioner in Palestine & had us several times to dine with him when we were there. He asked specially after you whom he said he had so much enjoyed meeting, & wished me to remember him to you.

Enclosed is for Lydia.

If I am not able to write any more before the post goes I will just take this moment to send you my very dear love

Boy

I have already had two letters from EK {1}.

[Added later:]

I feel I have done much less than justice to the gorgeousness of the garden. Great shrubs of ? Petria {2} with blue flowers the colour of Ceanotus & nearly the shape of Wisteria, other shrubs of red Bougainvillée & trees with lovely coloured flowers, vast masses of stocks[,] roses etc.

Everything is on an immense scale. We had a press conference last night attended by some 200–250 press men & after reading a long agreed statemt, I had to answer some 50 questions. Everyone thinks it went very well & tht we did nt depart from a balanced presentation.

Alexander & Cripps are most delightful colleagues, and the V with his paucity of words is helpful & friendly.

I havent seen Agatha {3} yet but I think we shall have more opportunities for social intercourse when we move to our own abode. I suppose the temperature is between 80 & 90 but as it is very dry I have not experienced the slightest discomfort—only a pleasant pervading warmth.

I do so hope you are well & happy & have fairly decent weather.

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

{1} Esther Knowles.

{2} Probably Petrea volubilis, purple wreath.

{3} Agatha Harrison.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

2 Willingdon Crescent, New Delhi.—Has dined with Mrs Naidu, and is seeing Gandhi on Monday. Cripps met Jinnah today. The most pressing issues are the Hindu-Muslim dispute over Pakistan, and the time gap before independence. Is going to a Quaker service tomorrow, which Jinnah and Nehru are expected to attend.

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Transcript

2 Willingdon Crescent {1}
Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi

March 30. 46

Dearest.

It has been a very great pleasure to me to get your letter dated Mch 23 & to hear all your news about golf & the garden. Incidentally it marks the contrast between England & India when you speak with satisfaction about the the winter being nearly past & the summer being at hand, while we are rather regretting that summer is upon us & with its coming the flowers (we are told) wither away. Also 95º in the day & 67º at night is quite manageable but an advance of a further 10º or 20º is not an entrancing prospect. However I have still some reductions of cloth-ing to be made & I am not at all alarmed at the prospect. As a matter of fact I seem to have brought exactly the right things away with me.

We are on the threshold of the real purpose of our coming here. Mrs Naidu dined with us last night—still full of energy & fun at 67. We explored some of the ground. I gave her greeting from you. Gandhi has agreed to come here on Monday evening {2} to see me. Stafford Cripps saw Jinnah today. We have to build bridges over two gaps (1) the Hindu-Moslem dispute over Pakistan (2) the time gap between now & the full realisation of independence by India.

So far this first week has produced as much fruit as could be reasonably xpected, but the real test is to come. I remain an optimist. Both the Mission & the V seem to be agreed tht I shd do most of the talking to all the people who come to the discussions. It is a great responsibility but I am fortified by their confidence in me.

I am going to a quaker service in Delhi tomorrow & I understand Jinnah & Nehru are both xpected to be there. Later I am proposing to have a drive in my car[,] getting back in time to see someone @ 6. o’c.

My dear love to you
Boy

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There are a few characteristically abbreviated words, including ‘xpected’ for ‘expected’.

{1} This line of the address is handwritten.

{2} 1 April.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—Has sent an account of his visit to Agra for distribution (see 6/159). Reflects on his colleagues’ personalities. The Cabinet mission must confront the ‘Communal problems’ when they return from Kashmir.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
April 14 46
(Not posted till 15th).

My very own darling.

Of course you have been specially in my thoughts today as I have been to Agra to see the Taj. I dont propose to say anything about that in this letter as I have written a short a/c to E K for her to copy & to send to you & various people {1}. As it will arrive during Easter I am afraid there will be a little delay before you get it but that doesnt matter does it. But you are constantly in my thoughts & I yearn to see you & be with you again. But I have just to be patient. The Taj was just radiant as ever & unsurpassable. Nearly 20 years since you & I saw it together {2}.

I rejoice greatly in all the lovely spring you are having. I have had leisure to read your recent letters several times & to enjoy them. They keep me well posted up in your doings & friends & thoughts.

All my colleagues are delightful & interesting & so different. Cripps the brilliant rapier witted improviser with strong left tendencies, vegetarian, teetotaler. Alexander the Britisher who likes to breakfast in bed & get up at 8 or 8.30, wants cheddar cheese & English food, & is so proud of the British navy, is going to read the lessons tonight at the English nonconformist church here. The Viceroy the soldier sparing of speech, suspicious of new fangled ideas & I imagine of all foreign ways of thought & action, straight forward, blunt but with his own sense of humour. And P-L wht of him? Well, not so resourceful as Cripps, not so downright as the V[,] nt so British as Alexander. Perhaps more judicial than any of them. Weighs up all the pros & cons. Hears all tht is said on both sides. Sums up & expresses the general opinion. Perhaps more than any of the others I have convinced the Indians of our sincerity. But sincerity alone won’t solve the Communal problems, & when we come back from Cashmir we have got to face it in earnest unless a miracle happens & the Indians solve it themselves.

The weather is really quite nice here in Delhi (unusually mild for the time of year we are told). It was hotter in Agra. I am very well. No mosquitoes & very few flies. Lizards frogs & mice in the house—none of which I think the “First Lord” (Alexander) really likes. I have bought exactly the right clothes.

Four times in my life I have had someone to go before me to prepare my bath—when I was a baby, when I was in prison, when I broke my ribs, & now when I am in India. I suppose it will happen again when I am very old! An odd thing is life!

I kiss my beloved, & send my love to all our circle

Boy.

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There are a few characteristically abbreviated words, including ‘wht’ for ‘what’ and ‘nt’ for ‘not’.

{1} See PETH 6/159.

{2} The Pethick-Lawrences first visited the Taj Mahal together in December 1926 and they returned there at the beginning of the following month. See PETH 6/130 and 6/132.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—(17th.) Reflects on the difficult month to come. Meliscent Shephard sends her love.—(18th.) Harold Large has appointed him one of his literary executors. Some changes in the Budget will affect them personally.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
April 17—1946

My dear.

When I start off on my journey to Kashmir on Friday morning it will be just a month since I started off on my journey to London. Just as I began then with a short holiday in a new place so I am beginning again. Just as I then saw in front of me a hot & difficult month so now I see a still hotter & still more difficult task in the time ahead. I cannot in the least tell wht the future has in store for me; Sir Stafford Cripps says he feels assured tht somehow the hour is striking when India is to attain her new freedom. I have kissed the little love token tht you gave me before I went away & have commended myself to God for Him to fit my little piece of Himself into his great plan as he thinks best. I am exceedingly well in health.

I saw Miss Melicent Shepherd a few days ago & had a very pleasant talk to her. She asked me to remember her to you & sent you her love. She says she is Cornish & her name is really the same as the French “Melisande”. I shall keep this letter open until tomorrow as it will probably be about a week after you receive this before you receive another from me. I do hope you will have a lovely Easter time.

Thursday. I dined with Auckinleck† last night & a number of generals. One of them said he knew Harold Large {2} & had heard from him saying tht he & I were to be H L’s literary executors when he passed on.

All my love to my own blessed darling.

Ever your very own
Boy

You will note several changes in the budget which affect us. You & I & E M P are all entitled to cash part of post-war credits. Changes in Estate Duty are nil on your Estate.

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There are a few characteristically abbreviated words, including ‘wht’ for ‘what’.

{1} i.e. Tunis.

{2} Not identified.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Guest House No. 2, Srinagar, Kashmir.—Gives an account of the Cabinet mission’s visit to Kashmir.

Delhi.—Has now (24th) returned to Delhi.

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Transcript

Guest House No 2, {1}
Srinagar, Kashmir

April 19. 46

My dear.

What a strange unreal world I am living in! I came over the mountains this morning. Great snowy peaks at a height of 12000 to 15000 ft with some running up to over 20000. Then down into this sunny plain—the vale of Kashmir—some 5000 above sea level. We were met by the Prime Minister & the Resident {2} & brought away here. All the streets were lined with people to see us pass. Neither welcome nor hostility from the crowds—just curiosity. This place has an English climate. The almond blossom just over, the hawthorn (not really hawthorn but a kind of spirea) & the fruit blossom in flower. It is very lovely. Maud Coote (Foulds) is coming to see me on Sunday {3}. I am warned tht she is very odd. I am not surprised. I will tell you about wht I make of her after she has come & gone.

I had another interview with Gandhi last evening. He is very friendly personally—so are they all which is a most important & valuable thing. But what help or hindrance we shall get from any of them when we really bend ourselves to trying to solve the riddle of the Sphinx remains to be seen.

Sunday morning. Yesterday we drove 60 miles up the valley & up a mountain stream to a little island on to which we crossed on foot. We walked up to a little shrine & from there only 200 or 300 further up was snow in a ravine. The sun was very hot & I did not go on. I thought at 7000 ft up it was probably wiser not to do too much. We picnicked out with food brought from here & later I walked round the island & after the others had had tea we drove home. Cripps did not come with us as he went fishing with Turnbull & Fraser. They caught a large number of very large trout which they have since distributed among various houses round here.

It started raining yesterday evening & is raining fast now. But it was fine for me to have a morning walk before breakfast. I climbed half way up to a monastery on the top of a hill just opposite this guest-house. Presently I am going to church & am to read the lesson—from “Revelation”. I have conned it though so as not to stumble. I belive† the Maharajah is coming to lunch with us. His own house is being repaired & he lives in a small villa. Later Maud Coote is coming to see me, & later if the rain leaves off, which seems unlikely, we are to go on the lake. There are hundreds of houseboats on the river & lake in which many people (retired Europeans & Indians) live all the year round.

On the day of our arrival (Friday) we had a short drive to two fascinating public gardens. The feature of each of them was a stream running down in cascades all the way. One of them had 12 terraces & a cascade above each.

Later. It rained all the morning, I drove to Church. The Canon preached a sermon all about the resurrection of the Spring & the coming of the flowers. The Church Yard instead of being a cemetery is a very beatiful† flower garden—pansies, tulips, cowslips, primroses, nermophilas, aubrecchia, & hundreds of others & a lovely little Japanese Maple & a Judas tree.

The Maharaja {4} came to lunch. He & Sir Stafford Cripps talked fishing for about 1½ hours. I am going to see him tomorrow morning to talk politics. He has planned out a trip on the river for tomorrow afternoon & a journey up a valley for Tuesday to see wild bears.

Maud Coote came at 2.15. She struck me as very sane & most interesting. She gave me a book of her poems some of which I have read since she has gone & I liked v. much. She herself is of course much older & plumper though she eats very little. She sent her love to you & said she would pray Ramakrishna for the Cabinet Mission.

After tht I went for a walk along the bank of the river & seen† the many houseboats & the back of the shops including Maud’s “Kig Products”.

Tuesday evening. Monday we had a lovely paddle on the lake. 5 men paddled in each boat of which there were three. (I had of course to be a passenger). Later I drove with the Maharajah about 20 miles up a valley & saw a wild boar but no bears. We visited his trout hatchery & saw some enormous trout 10 & 12 & 14 lbs. We had lunch & tea there. I have also played billiards & snooker with Alexander & gave him a considerable handicap & beat him in all but one game. We start for Delhi tomorrow at 7 AM weather permitting. I shall post this from there. I am very well. I love you very much.

Just your own
Boy

This is a very inadequate description of a very lovely place & a charming holiday.

[Added at the head of the letter:]

April 24 Back in Delhi

3 letters from E K & 2 from you dated April 14 & 16. I look forward to reading them but do not want to delay sending this off.

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

{1} This line of the address is handwritten.

{2} Ram Chandra Kak and W. F. Webb.

{3} 21 April, Easter Day.

{4} Sir Hari Singh.

† Sic.

Carbon copy of a letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Clement Attlee

The Cabinet Mission have been refreshed by their stay in Kashmir. Encloses a copy of a proposal put before Jinnah, and gives an account of negotiations on the composition of an interim Government.

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Transcript

25th April, 1946.

Personal and Secret

My dear Clem,

Your good wishes for our Kashmir trip were amply fulfilled. We had a thorough break physical and mental and a most enjoyable time. The Maharaja and his Prime Minister were most assiduous in providing us with entertainment.

While there, we made up our minds to try one more expedient to achieve agreement which Stafford put before Jinnah informally last night. I enclose a copy of this and you will see that it is a partial return to the Cripps proposals of 1942. Jinnah was noncommittal and there is a remote possibility that it will find acceptance by both sides. Otherwise it will go into the limbo of fruitless efforts.

Failing success in that we shall revert to the need for formulating proposals of our own. These will recite our attempts to obtain agreement and make an award which we shall submit to you before publication.

Apart from the communal difficulty over Pakistan, there will arise certain grave difficulties over the Interim Government which I feel it is important you should appreciate in advance. The first point is the composition of the Executive (communally and otherwise) on which I need not dilate. The second point is the quantum of power which the Executive will possess.

I have told Congress that in the interim period the existing constitution must remain. That is to say that constitutional safeguards will continue—the Viceroy’s discretionary powers and his power of veto and the Secretary of State’s overriding authority. The reaction of Maulana Azad (President of Congress) to this announcement was one of violent dissent. “Plenary power must be transferred immediately”. “The India Office must cease to exist forthwith”. “All contracts must be instantly transferred to the ministerial Government”.

I explained very politely to Azad (too politely the Viceroy told me afterwards) and later to Gandhi how unreal their attitude was. Not only must the Government of India operate under the existing constitution until it is changed by Parliament, but the vast machinery of Government of the India Office could not physically be transferred to a newly installed Government in India in a moment. I could not divest myself of my responsibility for the I. C. S. and others without a proper agreement. Other matters will also require adjustment etc. One of the functions of the Interim Government will be to reach a settlement for orderly transfer of powers at the proper time. I appeared to make no impression and I am convinced this matter is likely to be a serious bone of contention when the Pakistan issue is finally settled.

On the principle of the matter I do not see how we can possibly give way particularly if Jinnah does not come into the Executive or is in a minority on it for in such a case the Viceroy’s veto will be essential to protect Muslim interests in the interim period. But it may be that Congress would be willing to accept some comforting assurances regarding the use of the powers of the Viceroy and the Secretary of State. Stafford and I are disposed, when the time arrives, to consider carefully how far we can go to meet Congress susceptibilities in this matter. Alexander will probably not dissent from our view. The Viceroy appears to think that he can stand pat on an unequivocal refusal to budge an inch.

It is plain to me that if and when the Interim Executive comes into being (with or without any such assurances) the position of the Viceroy during the year or more of its existence will be one of extraordinary delicacy. He may be periodically threatened with the resignation of his ministers, and all the time the essential administration will have to be carried on.

(SGD.) PETHICK-LAWRENCE.

P.S. Since the above was typed Nehru has told Stafford that there would not be the least chance of Congress agreeing to the enclosed proposal.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Viceregal Lodge, Simla.—Describes his journey to Simla and the situation of the Lodge. Jinnah will not arrive till Saturday, so talks will not begin till Sunday. Sends his love for their anniversary of 12 May. Four of his colleagues have just celebrated birthdays.

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Transcript

Viceregal Lodge, Simla
May 1, 46.

My dear.

This is certainly a most wonderful place and I am glad I have not missed seeing it. This particular house is perched upon a hill in Simla (which is, by the way, all hills) & there is a panoramic view all round. But while at Fways the view extends for 2 or 3 miles, here it is 50, 100, & in some directions I should think 150 miles. There are snow mountains dividing us from Kashmir & snow mountains dividing us from Tibet. We are about 7000 feet up.

I dined with Jinnah last night & met his sister who is very like him—they both look very tall but tht is because they are thin with aquiline faces. In reality they are only 5’9” & 5’ 4”. Jinnah says he cant get here till Saturday & we shant begin our talks till Sunday, so we shall nt have very much to do the next 3 days.

We got up @ 5.30 this morning, breakfasted 6.15, started 7, left aerodrome at 7.30[,] reached Amballa at 8.30 & then came up here 94 miles in motor cars, the last 55 miles being a steady climb. Most of the cars broke down on the way. I came with the Viceroy. I smelt something like a leather clutch burning some time before we pulled up. The sun is quite hot up here but the air is cool & refreshing. There is a billiard table in the house & a putting golf course in the garden.

The house itself is much less grandiose than the one at Delhi; all the same I have a very large sitting room & another large bedroom & 2 verandahs with glorious views.

I dont know how long this letter will take to reach you but I expect is wont go off till tomorrow & then it will take a day to Delhi, so tht you wont get it much before our May 12. In spite of all the beauty here I do wish I was with you for our festival. You will have to have the salmon & the gooseberry tart with friends & waft a greeting to me as I shall to you my beloved. 45 years ago since the original May 12, & I love my darling more deeply than ever. Kiss all the flowers for me at Fourways. Give my love to May & Lydia & to the girls in London & to the folk at Peaslake.

Last Wednesday was Stafford Cripps birthday, yesterday was Turnbulls, & today Alexanders[,] & Sunday is the Viceroys {1}. But I am sticking to soft drinks which suit me better. I am still exceptionally well though I dont xpect to sleep as well at this height as I have done in Delhi. You know neither of us ever did when we were in Switzerland.

The political situation here moves slowly forward to a climax which I cant predict. I am afraid the Palestine Report will greatly upset the Moslems.

All my love
Boy

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There are a few characteristically abbreviated words, including ‘nt’ for ‘not’ and ‘xpect’ for ‘expect’.

{1} ‘& Sunday is the Viceroys’ was inserted slightly later.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—Sends a loving greeting for the 26th. Reports briefly on the mission and the political situation. He has ordered an aeroplane for 10 June, but may not be able to leave then.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
May 26. 46

Oh My Dear.

May 26 Sunday. Our May 26. I love you. You are my very darling. You are I am sure thinking of me as I am of you.

Our political barometer continues to go up & down. At the present moment after a severe depression it has appreciably risen.

Cripps is in hospital but is improving & hopes to be out in a few days & back at work a few days later. Alexander has gone off to the South on an Admiralty mission {1}. Jinnah is still at Simla & his Muslim League doesnt meet till June 3. The Congress have adjourned & departed.

So I & the Viceroy are left alone. I think there will be plenty to do & time to get some rest. I played Alexander at billiards last night[,] gave him 100 in 250 & beat him by 24.

I have told them to have an aeroplane standing by by June 10 but I am afraid tht† doesnt mean I shall get off by then. Still the time is coming when I shall have to say to the parties not “tht my patience is exhausted” but “time Gentlemen please”. It may be the only way to get them to decide anything. See the amusing extract from a pro-Congres† paper. And perhaps I shall add “We are going now forward with summoning the Constituent Assembly” & see what happens.

Darling once more
All my love
Boy

Please go on writing to me until I definitely start for home.

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{1} He had gone to Ceylon to inspect the fleet. See Transfer of Power, vol. vii, no. 386.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—Is looking forward to going home. Cripps is recovering gradually, and Isobel is coming out to take him home by ship. Refers to the delay in negotiations. He took some colleagues for a drive on Sunday.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
May 28. 46.

My beloved.

I have had 2 letters from you today {1} & 3 from Esther & as I have had a fair amount of leisure I have been able thoroughly to enjoy them. I am so glad tht you feel just as I do about my coming home. The job comes first, second, third & all the time. But when it is done—so far as it can be done—all my mind & heart will be in coming home & seeing you again.

I am sorry to be missing an English spring, but I am delighted to know tht you are enjoying it to the full. After all I enjoy all the seasons in their turn & perhaps I shall be back before all the wild roses in the path are over & I did see some in Simla. All the flowers are gone here, but the trees are still in blossom, & the Bougainvillea seems to last on indefinitely.

Cripps is back with us—better but with a long way to go yet. Isobel is coming out to take him home on shipboard. We have booked passage for them on June 16 from Bombay and hope tht will see the job done.

These people here keep on keeping us waiting in turn & then are inclined to grumble at us for the delay. I suppose we must remember tht we have been keeping them waiting in a sense for the last 50 years! I think on the whole we make progress though sometimes there is a great slip backwards which seems to retrace the forward steps of many days. Through it all I do not forget tht we can only do our best with the parts tht are given to us, it is the Great Dramatist who decided whether the play is to have a happy ending.

I took Turnbull & 2 others out for a short drive on Sunday afternoon starting at 4.30. We got out 3 times to see sights & though it was terribly hot it made a pleasant break in the daily routine specially for Turnbull who works incessantly.

I have a sort of idea it is May’s birthday some time about now. If so give her my special love.

Darling I am,
Your very own
Boy.

Give my love to Madeleine & congratulate her from me on her success. Dont let her overdo you.

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The abbreviation ‘tht’ for ‘that’ occurs a few times.

{1} PETH 8/70 and 8/71?

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