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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 May 2019


As a Junior Minister at the India Office, I joined as an observer the India and Burma Committee of the Cabinet under Attlee's chairmanship in autumn 1944. The agenda of our meetings was a mirror image of the conflict between Wavell, who had succeeded Linlithgow as Viceroy the previous year, and Churchill. He had been sent to India by Churchill as a professional soldier who would keep India quiet until the end of the war, without meddling in politics. It was intended as a strictly law and order job. It must have been a rude shock to the Prime Minister when he soon found out that this professional soldier, not only understood politics, but took a strong view about the immediate necessity for constitutional advance, without waiting for further progress until after the war.

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393 Field Marshal Archibald Wavell (1883–1950), 1st Viscount Wavell, later Earl Wavell, army officer and colonial administrator; viceroy of India, 1943–1946.

394 Victor Hope, 2nd marquess of Linlithgow (1887–1952), Conservative peer and colonial administrator; viceroy of India, 1936–1943.

395 Another reason for sending Wavell to India was because Churchill wanted to replace him by Montgomery.

396 A.V. Alexander (1885–1965), later 1st Earl Alexander of Hillsborough, Labour MP and minister; first lord of the Admiralty, 1940–1945, and minister of defence, 1946–1950; member of the 1946 Cabinet Mission to India and later Labour leader in the House of Lords, 1955–1964.

397 Arthur Henderson (1893–1968), later Lord Rowley, Labour MP and minister; last under–secretary of state for India and Burma, 1945–1948.

398 William Wedgwood Benn (1877–1960), later 1st Viscount Stansgate, Labour MP, peer and minister; secretary of state for India, 1929–1931.

399 1945.

400 The so called ‘Cripps Offer’.

401 Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten (1900–1979), later Earl Mountbatten of Burma, naval officer and colonial administrator; supreme Allied commander, South-East Asia Command, 1943–1946; last viceroy of India, 1947; first governor general of India, 1947–1948; chief of the Defence Staff, 1959–1965.

402 ‘Mahatma’ Mohandas Gandhi (1869–1948), Indian freedom fighter and Indian National Congress leader; assassinated 1948.

403 Ernest Bevin (1881–1951), trade unionist, Labour MP and minister; minister of labour, 1940–1945 and foreign secretary, 1945–1951.

404 Mohammad Ali Jinnah (1876–1948), Indian and Pakistani politician and head of the Muslim League; first governor general of Pakistan, 1947–1948.

405 A meeting convened by Wavell of main Indian political leaders in June 1945 to agree a plan for Indian self-government and unity, held in Simla, the summer capital of the Raj. The plan was hamstrung by disagreements over Muslim representation, among other things.

406 Sir Penderel Moon (1905–1987), colonial and Indian administrator, and writer. Among works he wrote after leaving India in 1961 were Divide and Quit (1961) and editing Wavell: The Viceroy's Journal (London, 1973).

407 Mountbatten's Headquarters in South East Asia were in Ceylon.

408 Letter from Mountbatten to me dated 3 October 1978.

409 In March 1946.

410 J.N. ‘Muchu’ Chaudhuri (1908–1983), later General J.N. Chaudhuri; senior Indian Officer in the British Indian and Indian Armies and diplomat; later military governor of Hyderabad, 1948, and chief of the Army Staff, 1962–1966.

411 Edwina Mountbatten (1901–1960), later Countess Mountbatten of Burma; during the Second World War worked for Red Cross, also superintendent-in-chief of St John's Ambulance, 1942; last vicereine of India, 1947.

412 Letter from Mountbatten to me dated 3 October 1978.

413 Mountbatten's Nehru Memorial Lecture. Lord Mountbatten, ‘Reflections on the Transfer of Power and Jawaharlal Nehru’, 2nd Nehru Memorial Lecture, Cambridge, 14 November 1968. The last sentence of the above quotation does not appear in the speech.

414 John Morley (1838–1923), later Viscount Morley of Blackburn, Liberal MP, peer and minister, and writer; secretary of state for India, 1905–1910, and, briefly, in 1911.

415 Gilbert Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, 4th earl of Minto (1845–1914), colonial administrator; viceroy of India, 1905–1910.

416 Letter from Mountbatten to me dated 3 October 1978.

417 General Hastings ‘Pug’ Ismay (1887–1965), later Baron Ismay, army officer, official and minister; chief of staff to Viceroy Mountbatten; secretary of state for Commonwealth Relations, 1951–1952; and first secretary general of NATO, 1952–1957.

418 A resolution passed in the Indian Constituent Assembly on 22 January 1947.

419 John Rowlatt (1898–1956), later Sir John Rowlatt, parliamentary draftsman; later first parliamentary draftsman to the Treasury, 1953–1956.

420 Clement Davies (1884–1962), Liberal MP and leader of the Liberal Party, 1945–1956.

421 Mountbatten was the second cousin of George VI, Emperor of India.

422 It should be remembered that Nehru's home was in Kashmir and Hyderabad was the largest and best armed of the India States. Hyderabad was incorporated into the Indian Union by military intervention in September 1948, while Kashmir, which lies between India and Pakistan, remains a hotly contested area and issue for both states.

423 1st Viscount Templewood, formerly Sir Samuel Hoare (1880–1959), Conservative MP, minister, and diplomat; secretary of state for India, 1931–1935; foreign secretary, 1935 and lord privy seal, 1939–1940.

424 The speech of Lord Halifax, an ex-Viceroy, was the only occasion I can remember in 63 years when a single speech has changed the opinion of the House.

425 William Jowitt (1885–1957), 1st Viscount Jowitt, later Earl Jowitt, Labour MP, Labour peer and minister; lord chancellor, 1945–1951.

426 Victor Bulwer-Lytton, 2nd earl of Lytton (1876–1947), Liberal peer and colonial administrator; governor of Bombay, 1922–1927.

427 John Llewellin (1893–1957), later Baron Llewellin, Conservative MP and peer; minister in the wartime coalition; first governor general of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, 1953–1957.

428 The five peers dressed in their robes of scarlet and ermine for the occasion, witnessed by Attlee at the bar of the House, as the Royal Assent was given for this historic Act that enabled the ending of British rule over India.

429 This refers to the bloody division of the critical state of Punjab, as a result of the Radcliffe Boundary Commission demarcating the borders between India and Pakistan, and the chaos of the migration of whole communities forced to leave their homes.

430 Letter from Mountbatten to me dated 3 October 1978.

431 Due to our policy of giving independence to our colonies, we were the only colonial power in South East Asia to leave on good terms with the incoming governments, as compared with the French in Indo-China and the Dutch in Indonesia and Timor. This set the pattern for independence for our other colonies such as Ceylon/Sri Lanka.

432 Ghandi [sic] retired from politics with a broken heart after the decision to divide India.

433 Lady Delia Peel, née Spencer (1889–1981), Woman of the Bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth from 1938.

434 In January 1948.

435 Sir Norman Brook (1902–1967), later Baron Normanbrook, civil servant; secretary to the Cabinet, 1947–1962.

436 Patrick Gordon Walker (1907–1980), later Lord Gordon-Walker, Labour MP and minister; under-secretary of state for Commonwealth Relations, 1947–1950; secretary of state for Commonwealth Relations, 1950–1951; and, briefly, foreign secretary, 1964–1965.

437 Then named Ceylon.

438 Sir Percivale Liesching (1895–1973), civil servant; permanent under-secretary of state for Commonwealth Relations, 1949–1955.

439 Actually it was at the conference of Commonwealth prime ministers in April 1949 at which India's status as a republic within the Commonwealth and the King's position as head of the Commonwealth were enshrined in the ‘London Declaration’, at the conclusion of the conference.

440 Due to ceasing to be Emperor of India.

441 Hugh Rossi (b.1927), later Sir Hugh Rossi, Conservative MP and minister.

442 Janet Fookes (b.1936), later Baroness Fookes, Conservative MP and later deputy speaker of the House of Commons, 1992–1997.

443 Ivan Lawrence QC (b.1936), later Sir Ivan Lawrence QC, Conservative MP and criminal barrister.

444 K.S. Hegde (1909–1990), Indian judge and Janata Party MP; speaker of the Lok Sabha, 1977–1980.

445 N.S. Reddy (1913–1996), president of India, 1977–1982.

446 Indira Gandhi (1917–1984), Congress Party leader and prime minister of India, 1966–1977 and 1980–1984; assassinated 1984.