Item 1 - Telegram from Lord Reading to Edwin Montagu

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MONT II/A/3/1/1

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Telegram from Lord Reading to Edwin Montagu

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  • 9 June 1921 (Creation)

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Refers to Montagu's telegram of 6 June regarding the Prince of Wales's visit. The non-co-operation agitation is now less active. The recantation of the Ali brothers has, he thinks, had a damping effect on the Khilafat supporters and the Gandhi movement, notwithstanding Mohammed Ali's explanation of his apology. Sapru, Shafi, and Malaviya also think the situation improved. Gandhi is not succeeding in obtaining support and money. Butler is dissatisfied with the position in the United Provinces, and wishes to proceed with prosecutions against the Independent and others; the Government of India will decide on their policy on Friday. Is concerned at the number of youths in gaol for lesser offences, and favours releasing them upon expressions of regret and promises of future good behaviour. So long as Gandhi pursues his present policy of less virulence and refrains from preaching active hatred of the Government, no action should be taken by the Government; but prosecutions should be instituted wherever speeches are made inciting to violence, or whenever the agents of the non-co-operationist movement lie about Government action or preach hatred of it. It is not always easy to distinguish between speeches denouncing Government policy and thus exciting disaffection against it, and speeches containing serious mis-statements, accompanied by incitement to hatred, but he recommends prosecution only in the latter case at present.

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