HC Deb 28 February 1905 vol 141 cc1475-6

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether Lord Curzon of Kedleston, who, on his departure from India, had, in accordance with statutory provisions, ipso facto vacated the position of Governor-General of India, was, for several months during his residence in this country and previous to his reappointment to the Governor-Generalship of India, practically discharging from this country the functions appertaining to the office of Viceroy, and directing and dictating the policy of the Indian Government in its controversy with the Imperial Government with reference to the Tibetan Expedition as to the terms of the treaty with Tibet; whether confidential communications between the India Office and the Acting Viceroy of India were open to the perusal of Lord Curzon when in this country; and whether there is any and, if so, what precedent for the active interference in the government and policy of India of a person holding no official position, and irresponsible to Parliament, and exempt from its criticism.


It is not the case that Lord Curzon, while he was in this country, practically discharged the functions appertaining to the office of Viceroy. During that time His Majesty's Government were in frequent consultation with him on matters relating to India, including Tibet, and many confidential documents were shown to him; but as long as he held no official position he took no official part in the government of India. His Majesty's Government were glad to avail themselves of the experience which Lord Curzon had recently gained during the six years of his Viceroyalty, and it was obviously desirable that, as Viceroy-designate, he should be kept fully informed on current questions.


When did Lord Curzon become Viceroy-designate? Before he did so, were not confidential communications between the Acting Viceroy and the Cabinet submitted to him?


Lord Curzon became Viceroy-designate on the notification of his reappointment. I do not remember the precise date. His Majesty's Government are always glad to avail themselves of the experience of retired Viceroys, and the Viceroy-designate is kept fully apprised of all that is going on before he goes to India.