Item 2 - Telegram from Edwin Montagu to Lord Reading

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MONT II/A/3/9/2

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Telegram from Edwin Montagu to Lord Reading

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  • 12–13 Oct. 1921 (Creation)

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Refers to Reading’s communications regarding Gandhi and the Prince of Wales’s visit. The Cabinet’s opinion is that Gandhi’s arrest and trial are inevitable and preferable to deportation, and that action should be taken promptly. Suggests that Gandhi might be deported after conviction, perhaps to Ceylon. The Cabinet believes that the Prince of Wales’s visit should proceed as planned unless the effect of Gandhi’s arrest leads Reading to ask for a postponement at the last minute. Montagu opposes the conference proposed by Malaviya, thinking that it would be disloyal to those elected members of the legislatures who have determined to make the most of the Government of India Act to discuss political questions with those with no representative position, and that as Gandhi has declared that he wishes to make Government impossible, he does not see how Reading can confer with him about improving the Act. A conference with the legislatures or their representatives would be another matter. Emphasises that it would be difficult to persuade Parliament to alter the Act without evidence of a defect in it or some alteration in the political situation.

(Typed, with handwritten alterations. Used for transmission. The message was sent in three portions, over two days.)

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