HC Deb 09 April 1925 vol 182 cc2426-7

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India if it is the intention of the Secretary of State to invite Mr. C. R. Das and Mr. Gandhi, together with other representatives of Indian opinion such as Messrs. Sastri and Lajpat Rai and Mrs. Besant, to come to this country for the purpose of discussion and conference as to the best methods to be adopted for securing full co-operation between all classes in India for the re-establishment of social and industrial peace in that country?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Earl Winterton)

I must ask the indulgence of the House for a somewhat long answer, but the subject is very important. As I said on Monday, His Majesty's Government will receive with sympathy any concrete proposals put before them by Indian political parties with the support of the Government of India and the local Governments concerned; but it is not their intention to give such invitations as the hon. Member suggests for two reasons:

First, the direct conduct of policy and administration in India has been entrusted by Parliament to the Government of India and the local Governments. It is therefore with these authorities that any discussions or negotiations of the kind must take place, and no useful purpose would be served by the intervention or participation at this stage of His Majesty's Government in matters which must ultimately come before them for decision, and for the decision on which they are responsible to Parliament.

Second, though the Viceroy is about to visit this country for the purpose (among others) of discussing with His Majesty's Government the political situation in India, it would be placing both him and the Government of India in an entirely false position if his presence here were made the occasion for negotiations with Indian political parties.

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