CMP(12)  Congress Working Committee Resolutions in May-June 1946
Documents included
  • Resolution of the Working Committee of the Indian National Congress, 24 May 1946(excerpts).
  • Statement by the Cabinet Mission, 25 May, 1946(excerpts)
  • Resolution of the Working Committee of the Indian National Congress on the Cabinet Mission Plan, 25 June 1946(excerpts)
[From Speeches and Documents on the Indian Constitution 1921-47, Vol. II. Selected by Sir Maurice Gwyer and A. Appadorai, 1957]

Apart from opposing grouping, the Congress had also been consistent in stressing the need for a Union Centre and on the issue of the non binding nature of the Mission Plan recommendations on the Constituent Assembly. The Cabinet Mission disagreed.

Following the correspondence between Congress President Maulana Azad and the Cabinet Delegation on May 20-22[CMP(11)], the Congress Working Committee spelled out its stance in a resolution.

Resolution of the Working Committee of the Indian National Congress, 24 May 1946. (excerpts)

"The Working Committee has given careful consideration to the statement dated 16th May 1946, issued by the Delegation of the British Cabinet and the Viceroy on behalf of the British Government, as well as the correspondence relating to it that has passed between the Congress President and the members of the Delegation.

They have examined it with every desire to find a way for a peaceful and cooperative transfer of power and the establishment of a free and independent India. Such an India must necessarily have a strong central authority capable of representing the nation with power and dignity in the counsels of the world.

In considering the statement, the Working Committee have kept in view the picture of the future in so far as this was available to them from the proposals made for the formation of a Provisional Government and the clarification given by the members of the Delegation. This picture is still incomplete and vague.

It is only on the basis of the full picture that they can judge and come to a decision as to how far this is in conformity with the objectives they aim at. These objectives are : independence for India; a strong though limited, central authority; full autonomy for the Provinces; the establishment of a democratic structure in the Centre and in the units; the guarantee of the fundamental rights of each individual so that he may have full and equal opportunities of growth, and further that each community should have opportunity to live the life of its choice within the larger framework.


The statement issued by the Cabinet Delegation and the Viceroy contains certain recommendations and suggests a procedure for the building up of a Constituent Assembly, which is sovereign in so far as the framing of the Constitution is concerned.

The Committee do not agree with some of these recommendations. In their view it will be open to the Constituent Assembly itself at any stage to make changes and variations, with the proviso that in regard to certain major communal matters a majority decision of both the major communities will be necessary.

The statement of the Cabinet Delegation affirms the basic principle of provincial autonomy and residuary powers vesting in the Provinces. It is further said that Provinces should be free to form groups. Subsequently, however, it is recommended that provincial representatives will divide up into Sections which 'shall proceed to settle the Provincial constitutions for the Provinces in each Section and shall also decide whether any group Constitution shall be set up for those Provinces'.

There is a marked discrepancy in these two separate provisions, and it would appear that a measure of compulsion is introduced which clearly infringes the basis principle of provincial autonomy.

In order to retain the recommendatory character of the statement, and in order to make the clauses consistent with each other, the Committee read paragraph 15 to mean that, in the first instance, the respective Provinces will make their choice whether or not to belong to the Section in which they are placed. Thus the Constituent Assembly must be considered as a sovereign body with final authority for the purpose of drawing up a Constitution and give effect to it.

The Working Committee consider that the connected problems involved in the establishment of a Provisional Government and a Constituent Assembly should be viewed together... In absence of a full picture, the Committee are unable to give a final opinion at this stage."
(end excerpts)

Statement by the Cabinet Mission, 25 May, 1946

"The Delegation have considered the statement of the President of the Muslim League dated 22 May[CMP(4)] and the resolution dated 24 May of the Working Committee of the Congress.

(2) The position is that since the Indian leaders, after prolonged discussion, failed to arrive at an agreement the Delegation put forward their recommendations as the nearest approach to reconciling the views of the two main parties. The scheme stands as a whole and can only succeed if it is accepted and worked in a spirit of cooperation.
(4) The authority and the functions of the Constituent Assembly, and the procedure which it is intended to follow are clear from the Cabinet Delegation's statement. Once the Constituent Assembly is formed and working on this basis there is no intention of interfering with its discretion or questioning its decisions. When the Constituent Assembly has completed its labours, His Majesty's Government will recommend to Parliament such action as may be necessary for the cession of sovereignty to the Indian people, subject only to two matters which are mentioned in the statement and which we believe are not controversial, namely, adequate provision for the protection of the Minorities(paragraph 20 of the statement) and willingness to conclude a treaty with His Majesty's Government to cover matters arising out of the transfer of power(paragraph 22 of the statement).
(8) The interpretation put by the Congress resolution on paragraph 15 of the statement, to the effect that the Provinces can in the first instance make the choice whether or not to belong to the Section in which they are placed, does not accord with the Delegation's intentions.

The reasons for the grouping of the Provinces are well known and this is an essential feature of the scheme and can only be modified by agreement between the parties. The right to opt out of the groups after the constitution-making has been completed will be exercised by the people themselves, since at the first election under the new Provincial Constitution this question of opting out will obviously be a major issue and all those entitled to vote under the new franchise will be able to take their share in a truly democratic decision.."

(end excerpts)


The reason the above Cabinet Mission statement is also included here is because Nehru responded explicitly to these and other points in a press conference subsequently, for which he has since been hanged and quartered by most historians.

Regarding the Interim government, agreement could not be reached with Jinnah, with the Viceroy sometimes advocating his stance, sometimes opposing it. In 1945, Jinnah had wanted Muslim League to have half the seats in the Union Cabinet i.e., parity with all other parties combined in recognition of the separateness and parity of Pakistan with Hindustan[ CMP(19)]. By this he meant that the other minorities and Scheduled Caste appointees should share the other half of the Cabinet posts with the Caste Hindus.

Since that was an extravagant demand, in 1946 Jinnah held out for parity between the League and the Congress[CMP(10)] and also demanded a say in the appointment of minorities and Scheduled castes' appointees, while refusing to allow Congress to appoint a Congress Muslim in its own quota of seats.[CMP(12C) : Behind the scenes-Jinnah]

After a month of discussions on various formulae for the Interim Government, the Congress Working Committee passed a resolution on 25th June.

Resolution of the Working Committee of the Indian National Congress on the Cabinet Mission Plan, 25 June 1946(excerpts)

"On May 24, the Working Committee passed a resolution on the statement dated May 16 issued by the British Cabinet Delegation and the Viceroy. In this resolution, they pointed out some defects in the statement and gave their own interpretation of certain parts of it.

Since then, the Committee has been continuously engaged in giving earnest consideration to the proposals made on behalf of the British Government in the statements of May 16 and June 16[announcement of Interim Government composition and terms], and have considered the correspondence in regard to them between the Congress President and Members of the Cabinet Delegation and the Viceroy.

The Committee has examined both these sets of proposals from the point of view of the Congress objective of immediate independence and the opening out of avenues leading to the rapid advances of the masses economically and socially, so that their material standards may be raised and poverty, malnutrition, famine and lack of necessaries of life may be ended, and all the people of the country may have freedom and the opportunity to grow and develop according to their genius.

These proposals fall short of these objectives. Yet the Committee has considered them earnestly in all their aspects because of their desire to find some way for the peaceful settlement of India's problem and the ending of the conflict between India and England.

The kind of independence which Congress has aimed at is the establishment of a united democratic Indian Federation with a Central authority which would command respect from the nations of the world, maximum provincial autonomy, and equal rights for all men and women in the country. The limitation of the Central authority, as contained in the proposals, as well as the system of grouping of Provinces weakened the whole structure and was unfair to some Provinces, such as the North-West Frontier Province, and Assam, and to some of the Minorities, notably the Sikhs.

The Committee disapproved of this. They felt, however, taking the proposals was a whole, that there was sufficient scope for enlarging and strengthening the Central authority and for fully ensuring the right of a Province at act according to its choice in regard to grouping, and to give protection to such Minorities as might otherwise be placed at a disadvantage.
In the proposals for an Interim Government contained in the statement of June 16, the defects related to matters of vital concern to the Congress. Some of these have been pointed out in a letter of June 25[CMP(12C)], from the Congress President[Azad] to the Viceroy.

In the formation of a Provisional or other Government, Congressmen can never give up the national character of Congress, or accept an artificial and unjust parity, or agree to a veto of a communal group.

The Committee are unable to accept the proposals for formation of an Interim Government as contained in the statement of June 16. The Committee have, however, decided that the Congress should join the proposed Constituent Assembly with a view to framing the Constitution of a free, united and democratic India.."
(end excerpts)

When Jawaharlal Nehru elaborated on the above-mentioned positions at a press conference in early July, Jinnah seized the opportunity, reacted as if the sky had fallen and got the Muslim League to repudiate the Mission Plan.


CMP(1) -  From Ayesha Jalal's 'The Sole Spokesman'

CMP(2) -  Congress and Muslim League positions on 12 May 1946

CMP(3) -  The Cabinet Mission Plan 16 May 1946

CMP(4) - Jinnah  and ML  responses to the CMP 22 May  and June 6 1946

CMP(5) -  Jinnah's meeting with Mission Delegation on 4 April 1946

CMP(6) -  Jinnah's meeting with Missiion Delegation on 16 April 1946

CMP(7A) - Maulana Azad's meeting with Mission Delegation on 17 April 1946

CMP(7) -  The Congress unease with parity  8-9 May 1946

CMP(7B) - Jinnah and Azad responses to preliminary proposals 8-9 May 1946

CMP(8A) - Simla Conference meetings on 5 May 1946 on the powers of the Union

CMP(8) -  More exchanges on parity, Simla Conference meeting  11 May 1946

CMP(9) -  Jinnah and Wyatt(1) on Pakistan and CMP, 8 Jan. and 25 May 1946

CMP(10) -  Jinnah and Wyatt(2) on the interim government, 11 June 1946

CMP(11) -   Congress opposition to grouping. Gandhi, Patel and Azad, May 1946

CMP(12) - Congress Working Committee resolutions, May-June 1946

CMP(12A) - Arguments over inclusion of a Congress Muslim, June 1946

CMP(12B) - Behind the scenes-Gandhi, June-July 1946

CMP(12C) - Behind the scenes-Jinnah, June-July 1946

CMP(13) - Jawaharlal Nehru's press conference on the Plan, 10 July 1946

CMP(14) - League rejected Plan, called Direct Action,  July-August 1946

CMP(15) - Viceroy strong-arming Nehru, Gandhi on compulsory grouping, Pethick-Lawrence to Attlee, Aug -Sept 1946

CMP(16) - Intelligence assessment on Jinnah's options and threat of civil war, Sept. 1946

CMP(17) - League Boycott of the Constituent Assembly Dec. 1946

CMP(17A) - Congress "climbdown" on grouping and Jinnah's rejection, January 1947

CMP (A1) - Plain speaking from Sir Khizr Hayat, Abell on the Breakdown plan, Wavell

CMP(A2) - North West Frontier Province, Oct-Nov 1946 and Feb-March 1947

CMP(A3) - Bengal and Bihar, August - November 1946

CMP(A4) - Punjab, February - March 1947

CMP (18) - My take

CMP (19) - What did parity and communal veto mean in numbers?

CMP(20) - Another take -with links to reference material

CMP(21) - Mountbatten discussing CMP with Patel and Jinnah, 24-26 Apr 1947

CMP(22) - A reply on the Cabinet Mission Plan

Extra(1) - Jinnah's speech in March 1941 on independent sovereign Pakistan

Extra(1A) - Jinnah's Speeches and Statements from 1941-1942

Extra(1B) - Jinnah's Speeches and Statements from 1938-1940

Extra(1C) - Jinnah's speeches and Statements from 1943-45

Extra(2) - Gandhi-Jinnah talks in 1944 on defining Pakistan

Extra(3) - BR Ambedkar quoted from his book 'Pakistan or the Partition of India'

Extra(4) - Congress and Muslim parties' on the Communal question 1927-1931

Extra(4A) - Excerpts of Motilal Nehru Committee Report 1928

Extra(4B) - Nehru, Bose, Jinnah Correspondence 1937-38

Extra(5) -  BR Ambedkar on Communal Representation 1909-1947

Extra(6) - Gandhiji's scheme of offering the Prime Ministership to Jinnah in 1947

Extra(6A) - Jinnah on Congress's offers of Prime Ministership 1940-43

Extra (6B) - Apr-Jul 1947 Negotiations on Pakistan between Mountbatten and Jinnah

Extra(7) - M.A.Jinnah and Maulana Azad on two nation theory

Extra(8) - On Separate electorates, Joint electorates and Reserved constituencies

Extra(9) - Links to cartoons on Indian constitutional parleys from the Daily Mail, UK, 1942 and 1946-1947, by L.G. Illingworth

Extra(10) -Nehru Report 1928 (10 MB pdf)
Extra(11) -Iqbal's letters to Jinnah, May-June 1937

Extra(12) -Jinnah, Linlithgow, Sikander Hayat, Pakistan rumblings 1942-43

Durga Das (1) 1919-1931, Jallianwala Bagh to Bhagat Singh

Durga Das (2) 1931-1936, Crescent Card: Jinnah in London to Fazli Husain in Punjab

Durga Das(3) 1937-1940, Provincial Autonomy to Jinnah gets the veto

Durga Das(4) 1940-1945, The War Years: India's War Effort-Pakistan on a platter

Durga Das(5) 1945-1947, The Cabinet Mission to Divide and Quit

1937-1940(2)  Congress and Jinnah fall out in U.P., Jinnah's anti-Congress campaign and the Viceroy gives Jinnah a Veto: Ayesha Jalal, Sarvepalli Gopal and Stanley Wolpert

1937: Congress-Jinnah tussle over coalition government in U. P., M.J. Akbar

1937: Nehru, Jinnah and Coalition Governments, Bimal Prasad

1939-1940: India and the War, Anita Inder Singh

1945-1946: The Elections of 1945-46, Anita Inder Singh

1857-1938 Glimpses of British policy in Punjab: Ian Talbot and David Page

1930-1939 Congress Decline in Bengal, John Gallagher

Glendevon (1) 1937: Congress's Office Acceptance Saga over Governor's Powers

Glendevon (2) 1937-1940: Federation, Jinnah, Congress activism in Princely States

Glendevon (3) 1939-1942: Linlithgow, Congress, Jinnah,War-time Realignments

1939-1947: Jinnah and the Anglo-Muslim League Alliance, Narendra Singh Sarila

1944: Gandhi-Jinnah talks, Jaswant Singh

1830s-1898: British Forward Policy(1)

1899-1947: British Forward Policy(2)

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