The following Question stood on the Order Paper, in the name of Sir RALPH GLYN:100. To ask the Secretary of State for India if he is in a position to make a statement regarding representations made by the Chamber of Princes to the Viceroy concerning the future development of their territories.
§ The Secretary of State for India (Mr. Amery)
May I make a brief statement 1244 dealing with the Question of my hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn)? In September last a small deputation of Princes, led by the Chancellor of the Chamber, was received by the Crown Representative. The matters discussed covered a wide field. A formal reply was sent on 2nd December, on behalf of the Crown Representative, to the points raised by the deputation. On 3rd December, just before the date fixed for the Session of the Chamber of Princes, the Chancellor informed Lord Wavell that he, the Pro-Chancellor, and 19 members of the Standing Committee had resigned their offices and membership of that Committee. No question arises of the Crown Representative accepting or not accepting these resignations, since appointments connected with the Chamber of Princes are made, not by him but by the Chamber itself; but they inevitably caused a postponement of the Session of the Chamber. The Princes have made no statement indicating what particular issue or issues led them to resign. Until the situation is clear, I should not like to express an opinion on this point. I would emphasize, however, that the reply to the Princes to which I have alluded contained nothing new in principle or policy. I am glad to be able to tell the House that the Viceroy has received an assurance from the Princes concerned that their resignation will not affect their determination to do their utmost to help in the prosecution of the war.
On the question of the future development of the Indian States, to which the hon. Member has referred, I may add that discussions on this subject and its relation to post-war development in British India were initiated with representatives of the Princes in October last. These discussions are at a preliminary stage only; and the reply to the Princes' deputation which I have mentioned merely referred to the discussions and to the importance of the question. The Government of India are aware of the necessity for so shaping their post-war development plans that the benefits will, as far as possible, accrue to the whole country, and not to British India only.