HC Deb 08 March 1945 vol 408 cc2225-7
69. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Secretary of State for India whether, in view of the desirability of effecting an early solution of the Indian problem, he will consider, without prejudice to the Cripps proposals, taking the initiative in bringing the various interests together for the purpose of another discussion.

66. Mr. Creech Jones

asked the Secretary of State for India whether, in view of the recent speech by Sir Zafrulla Khan to the Commonwealth Conference regard- ing another approach by His Majesty's Government to the Indian situation, he can make any statement on this matter.

Mr. Amery

I do not think there is need at this juncture to make any fresh statement on the Indian policy of His Majesty's Government, which has been made fully clear to the world in the Draft Declaration published on 29th March, 1942, and in subsequent pronouncements by His Majesty's Ministers. The fulfilment of that policy depends on a common measure of agreement between the principal parties which His Majesty's Government sincerely wish to see attained. The fact that a committee of Indians under the distinguished chairmanship of Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru is at present studying the problem is welcome evidence that Indians appreciate the importance of the part they must themselves play in shaping the political future of their country.

Mr. Shinwell

In view of the conciliatory speeches made recently by Sir Zafrulla Khan and other moderate Indian leaders on this subject, which seems to indicate a new line of approach to a solution of this problem, and, as it is necessary that somebody must take the initiative, is it not desirable that His Majesty's Government should make a friendly gesture in the hope of effecting a rapprochement?

Mr. Amery

While attaching every importance to a speech made by any distinguished Indian, the fact remains that, at present, the leading parties have not yet come into sufficient touch to enable the corresponding gesture from His Majesty's Government to be of any real effect.

Mr. Shinwell

But, at a time when every effort is being made by the British Government and the Allied Governments to effect a solution of world problems is it not desirable that the Indian problem, at some stage, should be included?

Mr. Graham White

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether this is not the time to make a démarche of the kind suggested in the Question, and whether he will take very serious note of the practical nature of this suggestion, which may be, at some time, the proper measure to be taken by the Government?

Mr. Amery

Naturally, I take serious note of every practical suggestion.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Does the right hon. Gentleman not think that it would be useful if he would renew his assurances on the efforts constantly being made in the Section 93 Provinces to bring about a resumption of constitutional government?

Mr. Amery

It is well known that, in all these Provinces, as soon as there is a willingness to resume constitutional government. Governors will respond to that willingness, as they have done in several Provinces.

Mr. Sorensen

As a step in that direction, why not release the prisoners?