Item 10 - Telegram from Lord Reading to Edwin Montagu

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MONT II/A/3/1/10

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Telegram from Lord Reading to Edwin Montagu

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  • 14 Nov. 1921 (Creation)

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Malaviya has come to see him, urging that, when the Prince of Wales arrives, an announcement should be made that all remaining martial law prisoners will be released, and that the British Government will undertake to do its utmost for the restoration of Thrace and Smyrna to Turkey. Malaviya believes this would effect a marked change, and a conference could be called to discuss swaraj. Reading pointed out that, with regard to the prisoners, he had already done the utmost he could recommend. Malaviya suggested it might be politically expedient, and Reading asked for whom he was speaking, suspecting him of being optimistic as to Gandhi’s future action. Malaviya admitted it, but claimed to speak for most Indian people, and pointed out that he had persuaded Gandhi to mollify his statements regarding the people’s attitude on the Prince’s visit. But Reading was little impressed, pointing out that all Gandhi’s organs continued to advocate boycott, and that his few sentences in Young India were of little account compared with previous injunctions and resolutions. He believes Malaviya is anxious for the success of the visit, but is powerless in view of the political crowds surrounding Gandhi. Reading told him that his policy of conciliation had failed, and that Gandhi and his movement had become more violent. Malaviya objected that, though a resolution for civil disobedience had been passed, there was little enthusiasm for it outside the Committee and a few extremists, and claimed conciliation was working. He suggested holding a conference at which all the various parties would be represented, and asserted that Gandhi would attend. Reading asked for more precise proposals, and Malaviya said he would consider the matter with his friends. He believes Malaviya and Jinnah are working together, but does not know how far they represent Gandhi. Malaviya believes Gandhi intended to spend one or two months at a village in Gujarat organising civil disobedience, but this is doubtful.

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