Item 2 - Telegram from Lord Reading to Edwin Montagu

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MONT II/A/3/40/2

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Telegram from Lord Reading to Edwin Montagu

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  • 11 Feb. 1922 (Creation)

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Refers to A3/40/1 and observes that the date of the debate coincides with the arrival of the Prince of Wales at Delhi. The arrest of Gandhi should be announced by Montagu, but he thinks it would be unfair to the Prince to make the arrest less than 48 hours before he arrives at ‘the capital of the Empire’. As the Bombay Government say that the arrest could not be made before Monday, Reading has postponed it till Tuesday, after the Prince’s reception, and he will advise Montagu when the arrest takes place, so that he can announce it in the House. He cannot reply about the military budget, since, if the decision is indeed vested in him, he ought not to make his views known in advance. He thinks more Indians will accept Gandhi’s arrest now than at any previous time: Malaviya, Jinnah, and others have published expres-sions of disgust at Gandhi’s attitude, and the incidents at Gorakhpur and Bareilly have fright-ened people. He is disturbed by the views of the Bombay Government’s legal advisers, who doubt whether the Bardoli Resolutions and Gandhi’s speeches there on civil disobedience amount to an offence, and are therefore prosecuting for his earlier writings, but he is agreeing to this course, as he believes now is the time to arrest him.

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