Monday, September 4, 2017

Wavell to Pethick-Lawrence, July 8, 1946

From Transfer of Power 1942-7, Volume VIII, #11,  Field Marshal Viscount Wavell to Lord Pethick-Lawrence (Secretary of State), July 8, 1946, L/PO/10/23.

5.  Menon will keep Turnbull informed of the progress of the elections to the Constituent Assembly.  Even the Sikhs appear to intend to elect their representatives to the Constituent Assembly, which is satisfactory.   There has however been insistence by the Ministries of Assam, Madras and Bombay that the declaration form for candidates should omit mention of paragraph 19, and it still appears that the Congress may try to move in the Constituent Assembly that the Assembly is a sovereign body and can changes its own rules of procedure, even include the one which requires a double majority for major communal issues.   They may even seek to elect a provisional Government in the Constituent Assembly.  If the Congress press their view as far as that, it is clear that the Constituent Assembly will break up at once, and all our efforts will have been in vain.  If that happens, it will mean I suppose that the Congress are prepared to attempt to take power by a mass-movement.  We must still recognize the possibility of this; and His Majesty's Government must give me as early as possible a definite plan to deal with a breakdown; it will take a considerable time to fill in details, when I know the general intention.   Only if the Right Wing of the Congress are unshaken in their control during the A.I.C.C. session shall we have any reason to hope that the Constituent Assembly will be worked in something approaching the way that we intended.

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