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.
"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.
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.
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
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
(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.
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.."
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 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.
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.."
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
1899-1947: British Forward Policy(2)