Item 24 - Telegram from Lord Reading to Edwin Montagu

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MONT II/A/3/10/24

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Telegram from Lord Reading to Edwin Montagu

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  • 2 Nov. 1921 (Creation)

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He has met with Jinnah, whom he thought distinctly able, and somewhere between a moderate and an extremist. Like Malaviya he has strong views on the acceleration of swaraj and the redress of Punjab wrongs, and, though he is in favour of Khilafat agitation, he considers Gandhi’s policy destructive. He claims to hold a position of influence with Indians of vari-ous opinions. Jinnah outlined a plan for settling the present agitation, placing in the forefront the Khilafat question. He said that most Mohammedans would be content with a settlement which restored Smyrna and Thrace to Turkey, leaving the Hedjaz and Mesopotamia under the rule of Hassan and Feisul. He thinks that questions about Palestine and the Punjab might al-so be settled, but postponed discussion of swaraj. Reading replied that policy with regard to Smyrna and Thrace rested with the British Government, not himself, but said that he would continue to represent Indian opinion. They also touched briefly on the questions of martial law prisoners, swaraj, etc. Jinnah gave the definite impression that he desired to arrive at a settlement, particularly as he said he had seen both Gandhi and Malaviya before leaving for Delhi. But Reading is not inclined to use him as a broker with Gandhi, and, though he is anxious to banish illegal and substitute constitutional agitation he is not prepared to make substantial sacrifices to achieve it. Reading was unimpressed by Jinnah’s personality, as distinguished from his intellect, and detected in him a strong anti-British feeling, though masked at present, and some want of scruple. He prefers Malaviya.

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