HC Deb 03 June 1931 vol 253 cc190-1
24 and 28. Mr. WARDLAW-MILNE

asked the Secretary of State for India (1) when the federal structure sub-committee will meet; and whether the terms of reference will be drawn up and published prior to the committee commencing its work;

(2) whether a date has yet been fixed for the reassembling of the Round Table Conference; whether an agenda has been or will be prepared setting out clearly the basis upon which the discussions will take place; and whether the safeguards set out at the last conference as the essential bask of further discussions have been accepted by the representatives of the Congress party as in the interests of India?

The SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Mr. Wedgwood Benn)

The work of the Round Table Conference will be resumed in the autumn, and it is hoped that the members of the Federal Structure Committee will reach London at the beginning of September. The hon. Member will not forget that the scope for future discussions has already been agreed on as being with the object of considering further the scheme for constitutional government of India discussed at the earlier Session of the Conference. Of the scheme there outlined reservations or safeguards in the interests of India for such matters as, for instance, defence, external affairs, the position of Minorities, the financial credit of India and the discharge of obligations, were agreed to be an essential part as were also Federation and Indian responsibility.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Will the opportunity of the interval be utilised to make some progress with the provincial structures by negotiations in India?


That is a separate question, which I cannot answer now.


Is the right hon. Gentleman in a position to say that, in fact, the conference representatives have accepted the safeguards to which he himself has just referred as being in the interests of India?


That is a rather separate question. The agreement was made between Lord Irwin and Mr. Gandhi as representing the congress.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether Mr. Gandhi has been invited, and whether he has yet accepted?


That is another question.

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