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India (Deputation To Viceroy)

Volume 388: debated on Thursday 8 April 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for India whether he has any information as to the reasons why the proposed deputation of Mr. Rajagopalachari and other Indian political leaders to the Viceroy, which was to have taken place on 1st April, was abandoned?

The Viceroy originally agreed to receive a deputation on the explicit understanding that he should receive an advance copy of its address, to which he would reply in writing. The deputation later indicated their wish for supplementary oral discussions. The Viceroy replied that he must hold to the conditions on which he originally agreed to receive them, but asked them to amplify their statement in any way they thought fit. The deputation thereupon made a material addition to the statement, and told the Viceroy that while still ready if he wished to present it in person, they did not wish to waste his time with formality, and that if he agreed it might be taken as having been officially presented and be published with his reply. To this the Viceroy readily agreed. It was obviously essential, in a question of such public importance that the Viceroy should confine himself to a considered reply to the matters raised by the deputation, and that there should be no room for any misunderstanding of what has passed in conversation or discussion.