- 26 June 1958 (Creation)
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Commonwealth Relations Office.—Asks him to deposit any Indian papers in his possession at the India Office Library, and sends a list of papers deposited or promised by others (2/68).
(Marked in pencil, ‘Send to Trinity’.)
COMMONWEALTH RELATIONS OFFICE,
26th June, 1958.
Dear Pethwick† Lawrence
I have been making great efforts in recent years to persuade former Secretaries of State, Viceroys of India, and Governors of the Indian Presidencies or Provinces, or their descendants, to let us have their Indian papers for deposit in the India Office Library on permanent loan. Such papers are of course of particular importance, in the case of the Secretary of State and the Viceroy, because so many political questions of the highest importance and delicacy were handled through the private channel, with the result that the correspondence is very often not on official record.
As you will see from the enclosed note showing the papers that have so far been deposited or promised, I have had a most gratifying and welcome response to the appeals which I have made, and I very much hope that you might feel able to let us have your own papers in the same way. The India Office Library has, in addition to these private Viceregal and similar a[r]chives, very large collections of Western and Oriental manuscripts and printed books bearing upon modern Indian history, and it is indeed in the Library’s Reading Room that most modern Indian historical research in the West is carried out.
The basis on which we have asked those whom I have so far approached to deposit their papers has been that they should be on permanent loan to the Secretary of State, and that they should never be removed from this country or pass out of the full and absolute control of the United Kingdom Government. The India Office Library undertakes to repair, bind, arrange, list, and catalogue the papers, as may be necessary. Access to them by the public would, of course, be governed by the fifty-year rule, so far as confidential or secret documents are concerned, and naturally in every way we should be most anxious to defer to any wishes that the owner of the papers might express in regard to their custody or the like.
If, as I very much hope, you do feel able to allow your papers to come here, we will readily arrange for their collection.