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An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

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Cripps Mission 
Request by Chamber of Princes for Statement of Policy by his Majesty Government Memorandum by the Secretary of State for India
September 4, 1942

Legal Document No 78

The Chancellor of the Chamber of Princes (the Jam Saheb of Nawanagar) is very shortly arriving in this country and will almost certainly ventilate this matter while he is here. It is very desirable to be in a position, whenever he refers to the matter (which he may take an early opportunity of doing), to say that the Crown Representative is already composing his reply on lines which can be indicated broadly to him as set out in this paper. Unless, therefore, any of my colleagues wish the matter to be discussed in Cabinet, I propose to dispatch the draft telegram to the Crown Representative not later than the 8th September.

2. The Chancellor, in his letter of the 1st June to the Viceroy's Political Adviser, complains:

  1. of the failure of the Draft Declaration of March 1942 to include an assurance that the British Government stands by its treaty obligations to the States, and of the apparent intention to impose treaties on the rulers;
  2. of the Lord Privy Seal's remarks in the House of Commons on the 28th April (Hansard, Cols. 834 and 835), which the Chancellor interprets as meaning that the Paramount Power intends to impose democratic institutions on the States;
  3. of various smaller grievances in connection with the "Cripps Negotiations," which, on the whole, need not concern the war Cabinet (except for the complaint that, by joining an Indian Union, they might involve themselves in succession from the Empire);
  4. of the absence of recognition of the right of non-adhering States-like non-adhering Provinces - to form a separate Union of their own.
3. In the view of the Viceroy and his advisers the Princes feel genuinely that their interests were insufficiently considered both in the Draft Declaration and in the discussions arising from it. The Viceroy accordingly suggests that a considered reply, "the nature of which can only be determined by His Majesty's Government," should be sent. I have accordingly agreed with the Viceroy on the following line of reply:
  1. the absence from the Draft Declaration of a special reference to the State's treaty rights is of no significance; the Prime Minister's statement of the 11th March made quite clear that the fulfillment of treaty obligations to the States remains an integral part of His Majesty's Government's policy. Moreover, these treaties will only be altered by negotiation and agreement;
  2. The Lord Privy Seal said that the House would wish the British administration in India "to do all it can to encourage and expedite the development of suitable representative institutions in All Indian States." This does not necessarily mean the imposition of democracy (which in any case might be quite unsuitable). It mean that the Paramount Power will continue, as at present, to urge upon Rulers the establishment of institutions for representing the views and grievances of their subjects with a view to their being remedied (viz. administrative reforms) constitutional changes (which might involve restriction on the Ruler's powers) may or may not be a sequel, but that is for the Rulers themselves to decide; no pressure to introduce such changes will be applied by the Paramount Power on the Ruler, as it is in the case of administrative reform. (This conforms with what has been said here in Parliament as recently as 1938 and with the Viceroy's own pronouncements on the subject in India. The argument, though somewhat sophisticated is at any rate consistent with our declared policy in a matter on which the Princes are very sensitive).
  3. replies on the minor points need not concern us (the succession point is covered under IV);
  4. between now and the next Indian constitutional discussions the Princes may certainly consider the outline of a scheme for a separate Union, if they wish. They might also consider what terms they might wish to demand of an Indian Union before they Join it, e.g. the right to secede from the Union if tile Union secedes from the Empire. Consideration of these points could certainly not be excluded from future discussions.
(In actual fact) the Viceroy hopes-- and proposes thank we suggest privately to the Princes that - the idea of age separate States Union might be used by them merely as a bargaining counter to secure better terms for accession to an Indian Union, and not as a serious objective. This seems sound).
  1. The question arises whether a reply on these lines should be published. The Victory assumes it will; my view is that it should not, since it is in effect an explanation of why we consider that there should be no new declaration of policy towards the States at this stage. If the reply aces not have the effect of satisfying the Princes, and if the Jam Saheb presses the matters strongly, it might conceivably be necessary to make some statement in parliament, but I am anxious to avoid it since there is little we can say and it might make matters worse for them by stimulating criticism in other quarters.
  2. Finally, the Viceroy and I remain agreed that we should press on as vigorously as possible with measure (such as internal organisation, pooling of judicial and police services between co-operative groups of States, absorption where possible of the administration of smaller by that of larger States & c.) towards making the lesser States more fit for survival in the modern world. The Viceroy hankers a little after a public pronouncement reaffirming the Crown's existing obligations to protect the States, linked with a warning that we interpret this only to mean protection of such States as are fit to survive. I am against any more pronouncements, and particularly against a qualification of the treaty obligations. It is because internal reforms are in the State's own interests that I think we should continue to urge the Rulers to adopt them.
  3. The course of action I propose to authorities is therefore:
  1. the issue in India, on behalf of the Viceroy to the Chancellor of the Chamber of Princes, of a reply on the lines laid down in paragraph 4, indicating no change n our policy towards the States.
  2. this reply to be expressly limited to confidential circulation among the Princes (hints of its contents may no doubt leak out in due course, but it will not be in any sense a formal declaration);
  3. the avoidance of any new formal declaration about the sanctity of the Princes treaties at this stage, even though it is possible that we might have to make some reference to the subject in an Indian debate (even this however I should prefer to avoid);
the continuance and intensification, so far as this can be done without alienating the more important Ruler's of our present policy of bringing the States into line with modern administrative standard).
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