Item 26 - Telegram from Edwin Montagu to Lord Reading

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MONT II/A/3/10/26

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Telegram from Edwin Montagu to Lord Reading

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  • 15 Nov. 1921 (Creation)

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Refers to A3/10/25. (1) The arrest of Gandhi must involve general action against non-co-operation, as it now threatens peace in India. A large number of other prosecutions will probably therefore take place. Asks whether Reading has considered his suggestion of prohibiting meetings for organising or discussing civil disobedience. (2) On the Khilafat question, Montagu expects that part of Thrace will be restored to Turkey for the protection of Constantinople, and that the Turkish Government there will be freed from Allied control; also that Smyrna will be restored. Any action of the British Government is risky, now that Kemal is adopting the attitude of a conqueror. Points out that the retention of Con-stantinople, etc., were modifications to the treaty made in consideration of the wishes of Indi-ans, and believes that the French are more concerned with their popularity with Mohammedans than with improving conditions in Turkey. He does not see why Reading should not state publicly what he is urging upon the British Government, what he has achieved by his repre-sentations, and that he is continuing to urge the questions of Thrace, Smyrna, Constantinople, no obstacle to any arrangements about Holy Places, etc. (3) Reading is in a position to state that his representations have achieved much, because Montagu has voiced them ‘vigour and argument’, and that the British Government will continue to consider them favourably; he therefore has a right to demand the support of Mohammedans. (4) The British Government is not presently in favour of restoring the whole of Thrace to Turkey, but since no power has hitherto proposed this, it has never had occasion to oppose it, and it is untrue to say that it ever prevented the allies from restoring Smyrna. (5) The British Government has not given any assistance to the Greeks in their present campaign. (6) Is unsure what a conference would achieve.—[P.S.] Cabinet is presently absorbed with the critical situation in Ireland.

(Typed, with handwritten alterations. Used for transmission (in two parts).)

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