HC Deb 10 December 1934 vol 296 cc3-5

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he will give an assurance that, notwithstanding any change that may be made in the Government of India, no community of British citizens will be transferred to Native rule without their consent?


In any question of the cession of British territory or of jurisdiction previously exercised the wishes of the population affected are given the utmost possible weight in accordance with the circumstances of the case.


If the decision is against their wishes, will they have a right of appeal to Parliament?


am afraid everything must depend on the circumstances of the particular case in question.


Does "the utmost possible weight" include a free vote of the inhabitants, or is that not considered a matter of importance?


The best possible method of finding out the wishes of the inhabitants would be taken if such a case arose.


Would it be by a free vote?

Duchess of ATHOLL

Is it not the case that there have already been emphatic protests on the part of the citizens of Bangalore and Tangasseri against their proposed transfer respectively to the States of Mysore and Travancore?


understand that that question is to be raised later to-night, and that would be a more suitable time to go into it.


asked the Secretary of State for India whether he was informed by the Viceroy of the communication sent to him in April by the Chancellor of the Chamber of Princes on behalf of himself and other Indian princes stating that it was clear that the White Paper could not satisfy the demands persistently made by the Chamber of Princes; for what reason has the letter in question been kept secret; and whether either the Viceroy or the Secretary of State have had any subsequent correspondence to indicate whether the Chancellor of the Chamber of Princes and the other princes referred to in the above letter have changed the opinion above expressed?


My right hon. Friend received a copy of the communication from His Highness the Chancellor of the Chamber of Princes to the Viceroy enclosing a copy of the letter to which my hon. Friend refers. This letter was marked "personal and confidential." As the context shows, the letter did not purport to convey any new view and was intended to be read in the light of the proceedings of the Chamber of Princes, dated 25th March, 1933, which are on record in the Library. I would invite my hon. Friend's attention to the speech of His Highness the Maharaja of Patiala at that meeting. His Highness, after drawing attention to the safeguards which the Princes considered necessary, stated that these would in due course be placed before the Joint Select Committee by the witnesses who would appear on their behalf and by their representatives among the Indian Delegates to the Committee. My hon. Friend may rest assured that the recommendations of the Joint Committee have been framed with full regard to the points of view expressed by the Princes' witnesses and delegates. A meeting of the Chamber of Princes has been convened for the 21st January next.


Can my hon. Friend say whether his right hon. Friend is now convinced that the proposals of the Joint Select Committee fully satisfy the demands made persistently by the Chamber of Princes?


I think that in general the report of the Joint Select Committee may be said to have met the points put forward by the Princes. If my hon. Friend will refer to the recommendations of the Committee and the points laid down by the Princes, he will be able to form his own judgment.

Brigadier-General Sir HENRY CROFT

Can the hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that the Bill will not be introduced until the Chamber of Princes has stated that the Princes are prepared to go into the Federation?


I am obviously not in a position to answer that question.

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