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Historical documents

62 Garnett to Strahan

Letter CANBERRA, 5 November 1948


I am directed by the Acting High Commissioner to say that in view
of recent speculation in the United Kingdom Press about proposals
alleged to have been discussed recently in London by Pandit Nehru
and certain other United Kingdom and Commonwealth Ministers for
India's future relationship with the Commonwealth, the United
Kingdom authorities have felt it desirable to make the following
points available unofficially for guidance purposes:-

(i) It is the case that questions relating to the future
association of India with the Commonwealth were discussed
informally between Pandit Nehru and certain United Kingdom
Ministers and other Commonwealth representatives in London
recently. The matter was not however raised in the meeting of
Commonwealth Prime Ministers.

(ii) It will be recalled that Pandit Nehru stated publicly on his
arrival in this country that he hoped that whatever India's
decision might be as to her future constitutional status a close
association between India, Britain, and the Commonwealth might be

(iii) The decision as to India's future constitutional status
rests of course with the Indian Constituent Assembly which is to
resume its deliberations early this month.

(iv) In the light of his impressions of the Commonwealth Prime
Ministers' Meeting and the opportunity provided by talks both in
London and Paris, Pandit Nehru will naturally report to his
colleagues in the Indian Cabinet and will give such advice as he
thinks fit to the Constituent Assembly.

(v) It would be quite wrong to assume that any precise formula
providing for a special constitutional relationship between India
and the Commonwealth has been worked out. It would be for India
herself to put forward any proposals in this connection that she
might wish to make and the matter would then be one for
consideration in its legal and constitutional aspects by the
Commonwealth as a whole.

(vi) It would not be in the public interest, least of all in the
interests of India herself that there should be any attempt to
prejudge this issue by speculation as to what may have passed in
private and confidential conversations.

2. It is desired to emphasize that this guidance was given in
London quite unofficially, i.e., it will not be attributed to an
official spokesman.

[AA: A1838/283, TS899/6]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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