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Letter from Sir Francis Low to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

‘The Times of India’, 4 Albemarle Street, London, W.1.—Defends his view of Jinnah’s rôle in the partition of India. Is convinced that Congress was largely responsible for alienating him.

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Transcript

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

Dear Lord Pethick Lawrence,

I was very interested to have your letter of October 13th. When I wrote to you I was thinking more of the narrower question of the splitting of the Punjab, referred to by Sir Henry Craik, than to the larger issue of the partition of India. Both form part of the same picture and it may be that in some respects Jinnah was only one factor in the circumstances which brought about partition. But he was a very important factor and his attitude, following the introduction of the new Constitution in 1937, was decisive. Every time the British Government faced the question of Indian political advancement, Jinnah demanded Pakistan and thus blocked agreement. You know more about what happened during the visit of the Cabinet Mission, but in Volume IV of the account of the Second World War entitled “The Hinge of Fate”, Churchill records that at the time of the Cripps Mission his Cabinet considered a plan to declare India a Dominion after the war. He was then faced with a note from Mr. Jinnah declaring that if any constitutional move was intended the Pakistan scheme must be accepted, a statement which was backed up by Sir Firoz Khan Noon, then a member of the Government of India. There is no doubt that Churchill was deeply impressed by these notes and sent them to President Roosevelt in justification of his attitude.

There may be something in what your Indian financier friend said to you after August 15, 1947, but my strong conviction—based on experience—is that the Congress was largely responsible for alienating Jinnah. They refused to take Jinnah and the Pakistan idea seriously. At the time of the famous Calcutta Unity Conference in the twenties, when Jinnah was still a Congressman at heart, they could have achieved an agreement with him on terms which would have preserved the unity of the country. From a logical point of view the Congress leaders, as I know, had justification for their attitude, but logic sometimes makes bad politics. I have no doubt British Governments in the past sometimes found Hindu-Moslem animosity very convenient, but on the need to preserve Indian unity there was always insistence, and I know that Viceroys like Halifax and Linlithgow were very strong on that point both in public and in private. I also know that many of my Indian friends took that same view as the Indian financier whom you quote, and one cannot say that it is entirely baseless. But I still feel that the main fault rested with the Congress mishandling of Jinnah, especially in the days when he was still a Congress supporter.

One or two people whom I met in the Club after your address, including Lord Hailey, agreed with me that you put up a very good case.

Yours sincerely,
Francis Low
(Sir Francis Low)

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 Humayun Kabir to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

2 York Place, New Delhi.—Asks him to contribute an article to a volume to be presented to Maulana Azad on the occasion of his seventieth birthday.

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Transcript

2, York Place,
New Delhi,
22 NOV 1957

Dear Lord Pethick Lawrence

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, a great national leader of India, will be completing his 70th year in November 1958. It is proposed that on this occasion, an Abhinandan Granth (Birthday Volume) be presented to him as a mark of our appreciation of his services to the nation for nearly fifty years.

Maulana Azad attained eminence as a brilliant writer and theologian in his early youth. The spirit of free enquiry and search for truth which characterised him from those days soon led him into the political movement as he realised that man cannot attain a true and full development except in an atmosphere of freedom. From his early twenties, he has been a fighter for Indian freedom and his contribution to the cause of Indian nationalism has been widely acknowledged. The Indian nation did him the honour of electing him the President of the Indian National Congress when he was 35. Later during the most critical period of the struggle for freedom, he guided the destinies of the Congress for six momentous years and conducted the negotiations with Sir Stafford Cripps, Lord Wavell and the British Cabinet Mission which resulted in the attainment of Indian independence in 1947.

Apart from his contribution to the Indian national struggle, Maulana Azad has also been an outspoken champion of rationalism and progressiveness in all spheres of Indian life. He has sought to approach religious, moral, social, economic and political questions from a detailed and dispassionate point of view and worked for securing justice and fairplay for all sections of the Indian people.

It is proposed that the Abhinandan Granth should include assessments of his contribution to different aspects of Indian life or studies in various fields in which he has taken a keen interest. On behalf of the Committee, I have great pleasure in requesting you to be so kind as to make a contribution either on some aspect of Maulana Azad’s life and personality or in a subject of your special study. The articles should ordinarily be from 2000 to 3000 words and should reach the undersigned by the 31st March 1958 at the latest.

I shall be grateful for a line in reply indicating your consent and the title of the subject on which you would like to write.

Yours sincerely {1}
Humayun Kabir
(HUMAYUN KABIR)

Lord Pethick-Lawrence,
C/o Rashtrapati Bhavan,
NEW DELHI.

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Letter-head of the Maulana Azad 70th Birthday Committee. The letter is typed, except the opening and closing greetings, which are handwritten, and the date, which is stamped. Presumably the same message was sent to other potential contributors to the projected volume. At the foot has been added ‘Ld P will send a short message of tribute.’ (‘Ld P’ is a conjectural reading; what is written is indistinct.)

{1} These two words are indistinct.

Letter from W. Glenvil Hall to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Treasury Chambers.—Responds to Pethick-Lawrence’s remarks on estate duty (see 2/26), which he has discussed with the Chancellor (Cripps) and the Inland Revenue.

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Transcript

Treasury Chambers, | Great George Street, | S.W.1.
29 April, 1949.

My dear Pethick,

I promised to write you again on the Estate Duty points you raised in your letter to me, after I had consulted the Inland Revenue and the Chancellor on them.

As you point out, the Estate Duty scale has always been such that at a point where the rate increases there is a margin within which, whatever the value of the estate, the amount left after payment of duty is the same. At the new rates there will be a margin of £10,000 between £100,000 and £110,000. We have from time to time considered the possibility of changing, as you suggest, to a slice scale on the Sur-tax principle to avoid this particular difficulty, but the Inland Revenue tell me such a change would bring very considerable new difficulties of its own. It would for example add to the complexities of the administration of estates where property passed on a death under more than one title. Every time any adjustment were made in the value of the property passing under one of the titles the amount of duty payable on the property passing under each title would be affected.

The Chancellor proposes to increase the yield from death duties because, as he stated in his Budget statement, there is still a degree of inequality in the ownership of property which could be the subject of adjustment. The various changes in the death duties will not, of course, come into effect until the passing of the Finance Act. This will give testators some opportunity of altering their wills if they so wish. They will be able to see the detailed proposals in the Finance Bill—we have in mind, for example, the point you mention about the remainder-man—and they will be able to make their plans accordingly.

In the light of what I say above about the difficulties, you will gather that there seems little possibility of the suggestion you make about the slice system being adopted. Nevertheless you will like to know that the Chancellor is having the point looked at again, though, as I say, it appears that whatever system were adopted some anomalies are bound to occur.

With kind regards and all good wishes.

Yours sincerely,
W Glenvil Hall

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

Carbon copy of a letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to W. Glenvil Hall

Is broadly in support of the Government’s financial policy. Would like to hear his views on (1) further postponing the adjourned CPA meeting till the accounts are ready, and moving the room of the General Council’s secretary; (2) an anomaly in the calculation of estate duty; and (3) his own article in the Contemporary Review.

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Transcript

8th. April, 1949.

My dear Glenvil,

I listened to the Chancellor’s speech on Wednesday with great interest and with the admiration which he always commands for his pellucid exposition. I also attended the party meeting yesterday and now have read your speech of last night with my usual interest, pleasure and substantial agreement.

Broadly I find myself in full support of the Government’s standpoint, though naturally there are one or two small matters which I do not like quite so much. I though Mrs. Mann was particularly happy in what she said yesterday at the party meeting.

You are of course tremendously busy at the moment, but if you have a little leisure I should be interested to hear from you on three matters:—1) Sir Howard D’Egville told me that he had had a talk with you and explained to you that the accounts that were on the table at the C.P.A. meeting, only went up to the end of 1947. You will remember he interrupted me in the middle of my speech at the meeting and, incidentally, mislead† me as to the dates of the accounts. In all the circumstances I hope you agree that it is better to postpone the adjourned meeting of the members until we have got the 1948 accounts also to give to them. I am afraid it will not be until the end of June or the beginning of July. I daresay you and I shall be meeting one day in the House of Commons before then; and I would also like to discuss with you this question of whether the room for the General Council’s Secretary should be in future actually adjoining the rooms of the United Kingdom Branch or nearby.

2) I am rather sorry that when the Chancellor was tidying up the death duties (and incidentally making a considerable increase in the estate duty which will involve substantial alterations in wills of large testators who leave specified sums to various persons, and particularly to widows) that he did not rectify an anomaly which causes testators a good deal of inconvenience. I refer to the different method of dealing with slices of the gross amount for estate duty and surtax respectively. In the latter, the taxpayer has no particular interest in getting his gross figure below certain limits, whereas in the former the higher rate is charged not only on the slice but on the gross total so that a very small change makes a great deal of difference. I am aware of course that adjustments are made, but in view of the present high rates of taxation, this method is surely both inconvenient and unsatisfactory. Consider for instance the case of a man whose gross estate is in the neighbourhood of a hundred thousand pounds. If it is just below a hundred thousand pounds, he pays tax under the new scheme at 45% leaving him for distribution fifty-five thousand pounds. As I understand it, it is not until he reaches over a hundred and ten thousand pounds gross (which will pay 50%) that he obtains any larger sum for distribution. Similar anomalies occur on other marginal figures. The net result is surely not very healthy because a testator with assets close to one of the marginal figures is deprived of all incentive to save as the tax amounts to 100% on part of the capital.

Would it not be better to adopt the surtax method on slices for death duties? In any case will you consider this, and will you consider whether some explanation might be given of how the prospective tax works out on successive slices. It is quite true that the big fry might be alarmed at the very large proportion which the higher slices will have to pay, but some of our labour supporters may be equally satisfied that the rich are contributing so much. I hope however that if this is done next year the Chancellor will not take the opportunity of putting up still further the rates. Will you also consider, unless it has already been made fully clear, precisely when all the changes in death duties come into operation so that testators will know just what they have to face and when. For instance what about the case of A deceased in 1948 leaving a life interest to B who dies in 1950. What does C the remainderman have to pay?

3) When I last saw you, you were good enough to say that you would look at my article in the January issue of the “Contemporary Review”. If you have managed in your busy life to do so I should be interested to know how it struck you.

Yours sincerely,
[blank]

The Rt. Hon. W. Glenvil Hall, M.P.,
Financial Secretary to the Treasury,
Treasury Chambers,
S.W.1.

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† Sic.

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 Sir Stafford Cripps to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

Office of the Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—Expresses, on the eve of his departure from India, his admiration and gratitude for Pethick-Lawrence’s conduct as leader of the Mission.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
29. 6. 46

My Dearest Pethick,

I just feel that I could not leave India without expressing to you as the leader of our Mission the intense admiration and gratitude that I feel for all you have done.

It has not always been easy in this intemperate climate to hold together the team but your courtesy, fairness and deep sincerity have overcome any obstacles that there might have been. Our common affection to you has been a binding force for the whole of our team.

In the conduct of our negotiations you have made a wise mixture of caution with enthusiasm for the cause of Indian independence and a determination not to let your patience become exhausted, even though you yourself were feeling physically exhausted.

It has been a tremendous privilege and joy to me to be associated with you in this historic enterprise and I believe that you can be satisfied with the contribution that you have made to World History.

Though it is true that the results are those of the team it is to you that the major share of the credit must justly be given. Your unremitting labours, the high trust in which the Indian leaders held you and your convincing sincerity have created an atmosphere of trust amongst the Indian people different to anything known from the earliest times of British occupation.

The superficial and partisan attempts to discredit your work are not I am convinced reflecting anything but the anger of disappointed politicians.

Our “home life” here in Willingdon Crescent, a most important factor in our work, has been happy and restful because of the knowledge of the “Father of our party”.

We have all learnt to love our leader with unrestrained affection and I regard it as the highest privilege that I should have been allowed to serve under and with you during these last 3½ months.

May God Bless and keep you to see the fulfilment of your labours

Stafford

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.

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.

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