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Acceptance of India's Partition by Indian leaders - June 3 1947

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Editor's note: The Viceroy met with several Indian leaders on June 3, 1947. The minutes of that meeting are attached below. Source:http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelpregion/asia/india/indianindependence/indiapakistan/partition6/index.html This is followed by the broadcasts that took place later in the evening. The statement issued by the British Government on June 3, 1947 is also attached.

Minutes of the Meeting of the Viceroy with the Indian Leaders, 3 June 1947.

(Extract)

Speeches of Recrimination

His Excellency The Viceroy asked those present at the meeting to request their subordinate leaders to refrain, from now on, from speeches of recrimination which were likely to produce violent reactions. If the past could now be buried, the prospect of building a fine future would be opened up.
All those present at the meeting signified concurrence.

Mr. Gandhi

Mr Liaquat Ali Khan said that he fully agreed that it might be possible to control the speeches of subordinate leaders. In addition, however, there should be a request for restraint on the part of "super leaders" - for example Mr. Gandhi at his prayer meetings. It was true that Mr. Gandhi preached "nonviolence", but that many of his speeches could be taken as an incitement to violence.

The Viceroy said that he had talked to Mr. Gandhi the previous day. He had laid before Mr. Gandhi, very clearly, the steps which had led up to the present situation. He had pointed out those steps taken as a result of Mr. Gandhi's advice; those points on which it had not been possible to follow his advice; and the reasons for this. Mr. Gandhi's emotions were those of a man who had worked, lived and prayed for the unity of India. He (The Viceroy) thoroughly understood and responded to Mr. Gandhi's feelings. He had made clear to Mr. Gandhi the immense effect which the speeches at his prayer meetings had. It had been Mr. Gandhi's day of silence but he had written a friendly note at the meeting. It was to be hoped that he would help the situation. He always made it very clear that he was not even a 4 anna member of the Congress Party.

Mr Kripalani said that he was surprised at Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan's complaint, as all that Mr. Gandhi said was in advocation of non-violence. All members of Congress held to the idea of a united India. All Mr. Gandhi's activities were non-violent.

The Viceroy said that he was ready to agree with this if Mr. Gandhi's speeches were analysed carefully. But surely the emotion engendered by Mr. Gandhi, particularly in the more unintelligent people, was to the effect "this partition is wrong; we must resist it; we must not give in".

Sardar Patel said that he considered that, once the decision was taken, Mr. Gandhi would accept it loyally.

The Viceroy said that he too was sure that Mr. Gandhi would re-emphasize the principle of non-violence, whatever the decision might be.

Mr Liaquat Ali Khan pointed out that Mr. Gandhi had recently employed words to the effect that the people should not look to the Viceroy and the leaders for a decision. They were told instead to "do as they felt". That kind of statement was bound to give an indication to the people that they should go ahead on their own lines if they personally felt that India should not be divided.

Sardar Patel thought that no such inference could be drawn.

Mr Jinnah gave his view that, if Mr. Gandhi went on with his present line, the impression would be created that the people should not submit to what was being decided by the present conference. He himself did not think that Mr. Gandhi's intentions were bad. They might be of the best, but in fact the language which he had adopted recently had insinuated that the Muslim League were going to get Pakistan by force. Mr Jinnahsaid that he had deliberately refrained from criticizing Mr. Gandhi in public.

The Viceroy said that he thought that this particular subject had now been ventilated sufficiently. On the one hand he accepted the special position of Mr. Gandhi; but on the other he was sure that the Congress Leaders would see the point of what had been said and use their best endeavours.

The Administrative Consequences of Partition

Copies of a paper entitled "The Administrative Consequences of Partition" were handed round. His Excellency The Viceroy suggested that there might now be preliminary consideration of this paper before it was put up to a Cabinet Meeting. (In using the word "Cabinet" The Viceroy was referring to the Indian "Cabinet" or Interim Government. This was not realized by Mr. Jinnah but was cleared up as a result of a question).

Mr Liaquat Ali Khan asked how the Cabinet was concerned with the questions raised in this paper.

His Excellency suggested that this seemed the only sensible procedure. It was obviously undesirable to set up an ultra vires body outside the Cabinet. He considered that his own responsibility was to give all possible assistance, backed up by his own small staff. Delegations and representatives of what were to be the two new States would have to be brought together to decide the various points. He emphasized the necessity for speed. Not a day should be wasted. He, on his part, would continue to draw attention to those points which would have to be settled and to be of what service he could.

Mr Jinnah said that he did not wish to express any definite opinion on this paper before he had studied it more carefully, but one general principle did strike him. The proposals would be examined between the parties, but finally it would be the Cabinet which would decide. Possibly, there would be complete agreement. On the other hand there might be differences of opinion. He asked whether the Cabinet would over-rule any points on which there was agreement. The Viceroy said that this was, of course, not the intention. Mr Jinnah then expressed the view that, if there were points of disagreement, the Cabinet in the United Kingdom was too far away to be the deciding authority.

It was then explained to Mr. Jinnah that The Viceroy was referring to the Indian Cabinet or Interim Government. Mr Jinnah complained that he had been misled. "You mean the Viceroy's Executive Council!" A spade should be called a spade. His mind worked in constitutional terms.

Mr Liaquat Ali Khan referred to the suggestion on Page 3 of this paper that an Inter-Party Partition Committee should be set up, consisting of two members of the Congress, two of the Muslim League and one minority representative. He asked how a decision would be taken if there was disagreement within this Committee. Would a majority vote decide the issue?

His Excellency replied that it would not. There would have to be negotiation on the basis of what was fair. The representatives of what were to be the two new States would come together with sovereign rights, and meet as an international conference would meet. He did not want to begin by assuming that impasses would be reached, but that negotiations would go forward on a basis of friendship. After the main issue of partition had been finally settled, he was sure that a new spirit would enter into the discussions.

Mr Liaquat Ali Khan said that he did not think that it was a question of a new spirit. There were unquestionably likely to be serious differences of opinion.

His Excellency explained that he had put this paper to the present meeting so that the party leaders, Mr. Jinnah and Mr. Kripalani, could give their views before it went up to the Interim Government. He suggested that they might all meet again on the morning of Thursday, 5th June at 10 a.m. in order to get the broad principles settled. This suggestion was agreed to.
Finally, Mr Jinnah emphasized his view that a machinery would have to be devised whereby somebody would be empowered to make a definite and final decision in the event of differences of opinion.

His Excellency The Viceroy said that he would consider this point and asked the leaders to do so also.

Division of the Armed Forces

The Viceroy then turned to the question of the division of the Armed Forces. The previous day he had held a conference with the Commanders-in-Chief and the Army Commanders, and pointed out to them that, if the votes in the Provinces produced partition, the logical consequence would be the division of the Armed Forces; and this would have to take place in such a way as not so far to weaken the Armed Forces that the maintenance of internal security would be compromised. All the officers whom he had met had emphasized the serious danger that the present feeling of uncertainty among the Armed Forces might have a most damaging effect on their morale. It had therefore been suggested that Field Marshal Auchinleck should make a broadcast to set their minds at rest on certain questions. His Excellency pointed out that nothing restored confidence so quickly as taking people into one's confidence. With this Lord Ismay agreed. There was general agreement that it would be desirable for Field Marshal Auchinleck to make a broadcast.

His Excellency The Viceroy said that the sort of question on which Field Marshal Auchinleck would be able to announce a decision might be whether the Army was to be divided on a communal or on a territorial basis.

Mr Kripalani pointed out that this was intimately connected with the question of nationality. With this Mr Jinnah agreed. He said that it would be his intention in Pakistan to observe no communal differences. All those who lived there, regardless of creed, would be fully-fledged citizens.

Mr Kripalani signified that the same principle would apply to their territory too. The Viceroy said that he was sure that this was the right principle. It was after all only elementary justice and common sense. However, the question of the transfer of citizenship was one which would have to be settled.

The Viceroy suggested, and it was agreed, that Sardar Baldev Singh should circulate a list of questions on which the Commander-in-Chief would require guidance, together with suggested answers. This list could be considered at the meeting on Thursday, 5th June. The following basis might be taken:-
(i) There would be an appeal for discipline in units, and loyalty to their Command, wherever the units were, and until they were split up and serving their new countries;
(ii) The division would be made on the basis of citizenship, which in its turn would be based on geographical considerations;
(iii) An opportunity might be given to volunteers, if they were now resident in that part of India in which their community was in a minority, to transfer their homes and citizenship to the other part.

*****


Editor's note: I have asked R C Mody, who was 21 years old in 1947 to descibe the events of June 3 1947 evening. Mr. Mody writes:

The plan for India's partition and independence was made public on the evening of June 3, 1947, which is why it is called the 3rd June Plan.  Lord Mountbatten, Jawaherlal Nehru, Mohammed Ali Jinnah and Baldev Singh, spoke in this order on All-India Radio.

I heard the four broadcasts on an improvised radio set in the canal colony of Balloki, near Lahore, and remember that Nehru's broadcast started with the words, "With no joy in my heart".

_______________________________________

© R C Mody 2012

Mountbatten's broadcast

Not available. No video, audio or text was found in an internet search.

Nehru's broadcast and speech

An incomplete audio of Pandit Nehru's speech. (Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/1751044.stm)

Nehru's speech

Source: http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelpregion/asia/india/indianindependence/indiapakistan/partition7/index.html

Friends and comrades, nearly nine months ago, soon after my assumption of office, I spoke to you from this place. I told you then that we were on the march and the goal had still to be reached. There were many difficulties and obstacles on the way, and our journey's end might not be near, for that end was not the assumption of office in the Government of India, but the achievement of the full independence of India and the establishment of a cooperative Commonwealth in which all will be equal sharers in opportunity and in all things that give meaning and value to life.

Nine months have passed, months of trial and difficulty, of anxiety and sometimes even of heartbreak. Yet, looking back at this period with its suffering and sorrow for our people there is much on the credit side also, for India has advanced nationally and internationally, and is respected today in the councils of the world.

In the domestic sphere something substantial has been achieved though the burden on the common man still continues to be terribly heavy and millions lack food and clothes and other necessaries of life. Many vast schemes of development are nearly ready, and yet it is true that most of our dreams about the brave things we were going to accomplish have still to be realised. You know well the difficulties which the country has had to face - economic, political and communal.

These months have been full of tragedy for millions and the burden on those who have the government of the country in their hands has been great indeed - My mind is heavy with the thought of the sufferings of our people in the areas of disturbance, the thousands who are dead and those, especially our womenfolk, who have suffered agony worse than death. To their families and to innumerable people who have been uprooted from their homes and rendered destitute, I offer my deep sympathy and assurance that we shall do all in our power to bring relief. We must see to it that such tragedies do not happen again. At no time have we lost faith in the great destiny of India which takes shape even though with struggle and suffering. My great regret has been that during this period owing to excess of work I have been unable to visit the numerous towns and villages of India as I used to do to meet my people and to learn their troubles at first hand.

Today, I am speaking to you on another historic occasion when a vital change affecting the future of India is proposed. You have just heard an announcement on behalf of the British Government. This announcement lays down a procedure for self-determination in certain areas of India. It envisages on the one hand the possibility of these areas seceding from India; on the other it promises a big advance towards complete independence. Such a big change must have the full concurrence of the people before effect can be given to it, for it must always be remembered that the future of India can only be decided by the people of India and not by any outside authority, however friendly.

These proposals will be placed soon before representative assemblies of the people for consideration. But meanwhile the sands of time run out and decisions cannot await the normal course of events. While we must necessarily abide by what the people finally decide we have to come to certain decisions ourselves and recommend them to the people of acceptance. We have, therefore, decided to accept these proposals and to recommend to our larger committees that they do likewise.

It is with no joy in my heart that I commend these proposals to you, though I have no doubt in my mind that this is the right course. For generations we have dreamt and struggled for a free and independent united India. The proposals to allow certain parts to secede, if they so will, is painful for any of us to contemplate. Nevertheless, I am convinced that our present decision is the right one even from the larger viewpoint.

The united India that we have laboured for was not one of compulsion and coercion, but a free and willing association of a free people. It may be that in this way we shall reach that united India sooner than otherwise and that she will have a stronger and more secure foundation. We are little men serving great causes, but because the cause is great, something of that greatness falls upon us also. Mighty forces are at work in the world today and in India, and I have no doubt that we are ushering in a period of greatness for India. The India is of geography, of history and traditions, the India of our minds and hearts cannot change. On this historic occasion each one of us must pray that he might be guided aright in the service of the motherland and of humanity at large.

We stand on a watershed dividing the past from the future. Let us bury that past in so far as it is dead and forget all bitterness and recrimination. Let there be moderation in speech and writing. Let there be strength and perseverence in adhering to the cause and the ideals we have at heart. Let us face the future not with easy optimism or with any complacency or weakness, but with confidence and a firm faith in India. There has been violence - shameful, degrading and revolting violence - in various parts of the country. This must end. We are determined to end it. We must make it clear that political ends are not to be achieved by methods of violence now or in the future.

On this the eve of great changes in India we have to make a fresh start with clear vision and a firm mind, with steadfastness and tolerance and a stout heart. We should not wish ill to anyone, but think always of every Indian as our brother and comrade. The good of the 400,000,000 of India must be our supreme objective. We shall seek to build anew our relations with England on a friendly and cooperative basis, forgetting the past which has lain so heavily upon us. I should like to express on this occasion my deep appreciation of the labours of the Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, ever since his arrival here at a critical juncture in our history. Inevitably on every occasion of our great leader, Mahatma Gandhi, who has led us unfalteringly for over a generation through darkness and sorrow, to the threshold of our freedom, to him we once more pay our homage. His blessing and wise counsel will happily be with us in the momentous years to come as always. With firm faith in our future I appeal to you to cooperate in the great task ahead and to march together to the haven of freedom for all in India.

Jai Hind.

Jinnah's broadcast and speech

Audio of Jinnah's speech. (Source: Youtube)

Jinnah's speech

Source: http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelpregion/asia/india/indianindependence/indiapakistan/partition8/index.html

I am glad that I am afforded an opportunity to speak to you directly through this radio from Delhi. It is the first time, I believe, that a non-official has been afforded an opportunity to address the people through the medium of this powerful instrument direct to the people on political matter. It augurs well and I hope that in the future I shall have greater facilities to enable me to voice my views and opinions which will reach you directly.

The statement of His Majesty's Government embodying the plan for the transfer of power to the peoples of India has already been broadcast and will be released to the press to be published in India and abroad tomorrow morning. It gives the outlines of the plan for us to give it our most earnest consideration. We must remember that we have to take momentous decisions and handle grave issues facing us in the solution of the complex political problem of this great sub-continent inhabited by 400 million people. The world has no parallel for the most onerous and difficult task which we have to perform.

Grave responsibility lies particularly on the shoulders of Indian leaders. Therefore, we must galvanize and concentrate all our energy to see that the transfer of power is effected in a peaceful and orderly manner. I most earnestly appeal to every community and particularly to Muslim India to maintain peace and order. We must examine the plan, in its letter and in its spirit and come to our conclusions and take our decisions. I pray to God that at this critical moment. He may guide us and enable us to discharge our responsibilities in a wise and statesmanlike manner.

It is clear that the plan does not meet in some important respects our point of view and we cannot say or feel that we are satisfied or that we agree with some of the matters dealt with by the plan. It is for us now to consider whether the plan as presented to us by His Majesty's Government should be accepted by us as a compromise or a settlement. On this point, I do not wish to prejudge the decision of the Council of the All-India Muslim League, which has been summoned to meet on Monday, June 9; and the final decision can only be taken by the Council according to our constitution, precedents and practice. But so far as I have been able to gather on the whole, reaction in the Muslim League circles in Delhi has been hopeful. Of course the plan has got to be very carefully examined in its pros and cons before the final decision can be taken.

I must say that I feel that the Viceroy has battled against various forces very bravely and the impression that he has left on my mind is that he was actuated by a high sense of fairness and impartiality, and it is up to us now to make his task less difficult and help him as far as it lies in our power in order that he may fulfill his mission of transfer of power to the people of India, in a peaceful and orderly manner.

Now the plan that has been broadcast already makes it clear in paragraph II that a referendum will be made to the electorates of the present Legislative Assembly in the North West Frontier Province who will choose which of the two alternatives in paragraph four they wish to adopt; and the referendum will be held under the aegis of the Governor-general in consultation with the provincial government. Hence it is clear that the verdict and the mandate of the people of the Frontier Province will be obtained as to whether they want to join Pakistan Constituent Assembly or the Hindustan Constituent Assembly. In these circumstances, I request the Provincial Muslim League of the Frontier Province to withdraw the movement of peaceful civil disobedience which they had perforce to resort to; and I call upon all the leaders of the Muslim League and Mussalmans generally to organize our people to face this referendum with hope and courage, and I feel confident that the people of the Frontier will give their verdict by a solid vote to join the Pakistan Constituent Assembly.

I cannot but express my appreciation of the sufferings and sacrifices made by all the classes of Mussalmans and particularly the great part the women of the Frontier played in the fight for our civil liberties. Without apportioning blame, and this is hardly the moment to do so, I deeply sympathize with all those who have suffered and those who died or whose properties were subjected to destruction and I fervently hope that Frontier will go through this referendum in a peaceful manner and it should be the anxiety of everyone to obtain a fair, free and true verdict of the people of the Frontier. Once more I most earnestly appeal to all to maintain peace and order.

Baldev Singh's broadcast and speech

Not available. No video, audio or text was found in an internet search.

 

Statement of 3 June 1947 (as published) [Cmd. 7136]

http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelpregion/asia/india/indianindependence/transfer/transfer7/index.html

Indian Policy

Introduction

1. On 20th February, 1947, His Majesty's Government announced their intention of transferring power in British India to Indian hands by June 1948. His Majesty's Government had hoped that it would be possible for the major parties to co-operate in the working-out of the Cabinet Mission's Plan of 16th May, I946, and evolve for India a constitution acceptable to all concerned. This hope has not been fulfilled.

2. The majority of the representatives of the Provinces of Madras, Bombay, the United Provinces, Bihar, Central Provinces and Berar, Assam, Orissa and the North-West Frontier Province, and the representatives of Delhi, Ajmer-Merwara and Coorg have already made progress in the task of evolving a new Constitution. On the other hand, the Muslim League Party, including in it a majority of the representatives of Bengal, the Punjab and Sind, as also the representative of British Baluchistan, has decided not to participate in the Constituent Assembly.

3. It has always been the desire of His Majesty's Government that power should be transferred in accordance with the wishes of the Indian people themselves. This task would have been greatly facilitated if there had been agreement among the Indian political parties. In the absence of such an agreement, the task of devising a method by which the wishes of the Indian people can be ascertained has devolved on His Majesty's Government. After full consultation with political leaders in India, His Majesty's Government have decided to adopt for this purpose the plan set out below. His Majesty's Government wish to make it clear that they have no intention of attempting to frame any ultimate Constitution for India; this is a matter for the Indians themselves. Nor is there anything in this plan to preclude negotiations between communities for an united India.

The issues to be decided

4. It is not the intention of His Majesty's Government to interrupt the work of the existing Constituent Assembly. Now that provision is made for certain Provinces specified below, His Majesty's Government trust that, as a consequence of this announcement, the Muslim League representatives of those Provinces, a majority of whose representatives are already participating in it, will now take their due share in its labours. At the same time, it is clear that any Constitution framed by this Assembly cannot apply to those parts of the country which are unwilling to accept it. His Majesty's Government are satisfied that the procedure outlined below embodies the best practical method of ascertaining the wishes of the people of such areas on the issue whether their Constitution is to be framed -

(a) in the existing Constituent Assembly; or

(b) in a new and separate Constituent Assembly consisting of the representatives of those areas which decide not to participate in the existing Constituent Assembly.

When this has been done, it will be possible to determine the authority or authorities to whom power should be transferred.

Bengal and the Punjab

5. The Provincial Legislative Assemblies of Bengal and the Punjab (excluding the European members) will therefore each be asked to meet in two parts, one representing the Muslim majority districts and the other the rest of the Province. For the purpose of determining the population of districts, the 1941 census figures will be taken as authoritative. The Muslim majority districts in these two Provinces are set out in the Appendix to this Announcement.

6. The members of the two parts of each Legislative Assembly sitting separately will be empowered to vote whether or not the Province should be partitioned. If a simple majority of either part decides in favour of partition, division will take place and arrangements will be made accordingly.

7. Before the question as to the partition is decided, it is desirable that the representatives of each part should know in advance which Constituent Assembly the Province as a whole would join in the event of the two parts subsequently deciding to remain united. Therefore, if any member of either Legislative Assembly so demands, there shall be held a meeting of all members of the Legislative Assembly (other than Europeans) at which a decision will be taken on the issue as to which Constituent Assembly the Province as a whole would join if it were decided by the two parts to remain united.

8. In the event of partition being decided upon, each part of the Legislative Assembly will, on behalf of the areas they represent, decide which of the alternatives in paragraph 4 above to adopt.

9. For the immediate purpose of deciding on the issue of partition, the members of the Legislative Assemblies of Bengal and the Punjab will sit in two parts according to Muslim majority districts (as laid down in the Appendix) and non-Muslim majority districts. This is only a preliminary step of a purely temporary nature as it is evident that for the purposes of final partition of these Provinces a detailed investigation of boundary questions will be needed; and, as soon as a decision involving partition has been taken for either Province, a Boundary Commission will be set up by the Governor- General, the membership and terms of reference of which will be settled in consultation with those concerned. It will be instructed to demarcate the boundaries of the two parts of the Punjab on the basis of ascertaining the contiguous majority areas of Muslims and non-Muslims. It will also be instructed to take into account other factors. Similar instructions will be given to the Bengal Boundary Commission. Until the report of a Boundary Com mission has been put into effect, the provisional boundaries indicated in the Appendix will be used.

Sind

10. The Legislative Assembly of Sind (excluding the European members) will at a special meeting also take its own decision on the alternatives in paragraph 4 above.

North-West Frontier Provence

11. The position of the North-West Frontier Province is exceptional. Two of the three representatives of this Province are already participating in the existing Constituent Assembly. But it is clear, in view of its geographical situation, and other considerations, that, if the whole or any part of the Punjab decides not to join the existing Constituent Assembly, it will be necessary to give the North-West Frontier Province an opportunity to reconsider its position. Accordingly, in such art event, a referendum will be made to the electors of the present Legislative Assembly in the North-West Frontier Province to choose which of the alternatives mentioned in paragraph 4 above they wish to adopt. The referendum will be held under the aegis of the Governor-General and in consultation with the Provincial Government.

British Baluchistan

12. British Baluchistan has elected a member but he has not taken his seat in the existing Constituent Assembly. In view of its geographical situation, this Province will also be given an opportunity to reconsider its position and to choose which of the alternatives in paragraph 4 above to adopt. His Excellency the Governor-General is examining how this can most appropriately be done.

Assam

13. Though Assam is predominantly a non-Muslim Province, the district of Sylhet which is contiguous to Bengal is predominately Muslim. There has been a demand that, in the event of the partition of Bengal, Sylhet should be amalgamated with the Muslim part of Bengal. Accordingly, if it is decided that Bengal should be partitioned, a referendum will be held in Sylhet district, under the aegis of the Governor-General and in consultation with the Assam Provincial Government, to decide whether the district of Sylhet  should continue to form part of the Assam Province or should be amalgamated with the new Province of Eastern Bengal, if that Province agrees. If the referendum results in favour of amalgamation with Eastern Bengal, a Boundary Commission with terms of reference similar to those for the Punjab and Bengal will be set up to demarcate the Muslim majority areas of Sylhet district and contiguous Muslim majority areas of adjoining districts, which will then be transferred to Eastern Bengal. The rest of the Assam Province will in any case continue to participate in the proceedings of the existing Constituent Assembly.

Representation in constituent assemblies

14. If it is decided that Bengal and the Punjab should be partitioned, it will be necessary to hold fresh elections to choose their representatives on the scale of one for every million of population according to the principle contained in the Cabinet Mission's Plan of 16th May, 1946. Similar elections will also have to be held for Sylhet in the event of its being decided that this district should form part of East Bengal. The number of representatives to which each area would be entitled is as follows :-

 

Province

General

Muslims

Sikhs

Total

Sylhet District

1

2

Nil

3

West Bengal

15

4

Nil

19

East Bengal

12

29

Nil

41

West Punjab

3

12

2

17

East Punjab

6

4

2

12

 

15. In accordance with the mandates given to them, the representatives of the various areas will either join the existing Constituent Assembly or form the new Constituent Assembly.

Administrative matters

16. Negotiations will have to be initiated as soon as possible on administrative consequences of any partition that may have been decided upon:-

(a) Between the representatives of the respective successor authorities about all subjects now dealt with by the Central Government, including Defence, Finance and Communications.

(b) Between different successor authorities and His Majesty's Government for treaties in regard to matters arising out of the transfer of power.

(c) In the case of Provinces that may be partitioned as to administration of all provincial subjects such as the division of assets and liabilities, the police and other services, the High Courts, provincial institutions, &c.

The tribes of the North-West Frontier

17. Agreements with tribes of the North-West Frontier of India will have to be negotiated by the appropriate successor authority.

The States

18. His Majesty's Government wish to make it clear that the decisions announced above relate only to British India and that their policy towards Indian States contained in the Cabinet Mission Memorandum of 12th May, I946, remains unchanged.

Necessity for speed

19. In order that the successor authorities may have time to prepare themselves to take over power, it is important that all the above processes should be completed as quickly as possible. To avoid delay, the different Provinces or parts of Provinces will proceed independently as far as practicable within the conditions of this Plan, the existing Constituent Assembly and the new Constituent Assembly (if formed) will proceed to frame Constitutions for their respective territories: they will of course be free to frame their own rules.

Immediate transfer of power

20. The major political parties have repeatedly emphasised their desire that there should be the earliest possible transfer of power in India. With this desire His Majesty's Government are in full sympathy, and they are willing to anticipate the date of June 1948, for the handing over of power by the setting up of an independent Indian Government or Governments at an even earlier date. Accordingly, as the most expeditious, and indeed the only practicable, way of meeting this desire His Majesty's Government propose to introduce legislation during the current session for the transfer of power this year on a Dominion status basis to one or two successor authorities according to the decisions taken as a result of this announcement. This will be without prejudice to the right of Indian Constituent Assemblies to decide in due course whether or not the part of India in respect of which they have authority will remain within the British Commonwealth.

Further announcements by Governor-General

His Excellency the Governor-General will from time to time make such further announcements as may be necessary in regard to produce or any other matters for carrying out the above arrangements.

 

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