CMP(7) - The Congress's unease with parity. Exchanges between the Congress and the Cabinet Mission on 8th and 9th May.
 Documents included
  • Letter from Gandhi to Stafford Cripps 8 May 1946(full text)
  • Letter from Stafford Cripps to Gandhi 9 May 1946(full text)
  • Record of Meeting of the Cabinet Delegation and  Viscount Wavell on 9 May 1946 (full text)

From 'The Transfer of Power 1942-7' Volume VII The Cabinet Mission 23 March-29 June 1946, Eds, Nicholas Mansergh and Penderel Moon, 1977.

222 page 466(full text)

Mr Gandhi to Sir S. Cripps

"Chadwick", Simla, W., 8 May 1946
Dear Sir Stafford,

The four Congress Delegates had a warm debate over the Cabinet Mission's suggestions. The foremost point was that if the Delegates accepted the terms they would be binding on them and, therefore, on the Congress unless the latter repudiated them. The same would be the case with the Muslim League. On the strength of what you told me last night I said they were binding on no one. The Constituent Assembly would be free to throw out any of the items and the members of the two delegations were equally free to add or amend the suggestions before the Constituent Assembly. I added that they were meant only as a scaffolding by means of which the two institutions could be brought to the Constituent Assembly adumbrated in the draft. If you are able to confirm the above and are free to make a public declaration to that effect, the main difficulty would be over.

As to merits the difficulty about parity between six Hindu majority Provinces and the five Muslim majority Provinces is insurmountable. The Muslim majority Provinces represent over nine crores of the population as against over nineteen crores of the Hindu majority Provinces. This is really worse than Pakistan. What is suggested in place is that the Central Legislature should be framed on the population basis and so too the Executive. If this is considered unfair an impartial non-British tribunal should award on this as on any other matter of differences otherwise incapable of adjustment. If these two points are cleared my way would be clear.

Instead of running down to you I thought I should send this note, leaving you to decide whether we should meet before the Conference or whether an exchange of letters should suffice. I am in your hands.

Yours sincerely, M.K. Gandhi

223 page 466(full text)
Sir S. Cripps to Mr Gandhi
Viceregal Lodge, Simla 9 May 1946

My dear Mr. Gandhi,

Sudhir brought me your letter last night just as I had got into bed after my excellent treatment by Dr. Mehta, so I sent you back an answer verbally by him.

This is merely a note to confirm what he will have told you.

As to your first point the position, as I see it, is this:- If the Congress and Muslim League Delegates agree to a certain basis for the new constitution they will be bound as honourable men to do their utmost to see that the form agreed upon is that adopted by the Constituent Assembly. To do less than that would be to go back upon their word. As to the second point - equality at the centre, I appreciate your difficulty though not that "it would be worse than Pakistan". If this can be overcome with some form of international arbitration by agreement with the League there is, of course, nothing whatever to prevent such agreement.

I am very grateful for this further helpful advice and look forward to seeing you again this evening after the Conference has met again.

Yours very sincerely. R. Stafford Cripps.

230 page 479(full text)
Record of Meeting of the Cabinet Delegation and Field Marshal Viscount Wavell on 9 May 1946 at 2.45 pm.

His Excellency the Viceroy said that he had seen Mr. Jinnah. He had emphasised to him that if there were no agreement His Majesty's Government would have to make their own proposals and that if Jinnah was intransigent in the negotiations, that would draw us towards the Congress.

Mr. Jinnah made the following objections to the Statement:-

(a) there must be definite groups of Muslim Provinces before he could participate in the scheme. This was not sufficiently definitely laid down.

(b) He could not agree to a single Constituent Assembly. In discussion, he had agreed, however, that provided group Constituent Bodies had formal meetings separately before the formal meeting of the Constituent Body as a whole, his point would be met.

(c) He agreed that Assam was not a Muslim-majority Province. Provided it was recognised that the 6 Pakistan Provinces were in one Group Mr Jinnah would be quite prepared for a Pakistan Constitution-making Body to sit in two parts one of which would consist of Bengal and Assam.

It might possibly be that the North-Western Provinces might wish to form more than one Group.

Mr. Jinnah had emphasised that he was trying to be reasonable but the acceptance of a Union of any kind was a great concession from his point of view and that he was already the subject of criticism from his supporters for having yielded on this.

As regards the Executive Council, Mr. Jinnah had said that that should be dealt with subsequently. The Viceroy had said that he must have a new Council and that if Mr. Jinnah could not help him over it he would have to carry on without him.

Sir S. Cripps said that he had found Maulana Azad and Pandit Nehru entirely reasonable but evidently having great difficulty with their colleagues. There were two main points of difficulty for the Congress.

1. Parity in the Executive and Legislature at the Centre. There were two possible ways of getting over this, either that it should be reconsidered after five years or that in its place it should be provided that both in the Executive and the Legislature a majority of each main community should be required for any important decision.

2. The Congress had no objection to Groups with Governments and Executives provided that they were formed voluntarily by decision of the main Constitution-making Body. They objected to division of Provinces into groups even initially on a communal basis.

The Congress feared particularly the possibility of Hindu/Muslim parity being established as a principle and applied in the Services and the Army, etc.

It was agreed that if the Conference did not break down that evening the Delegation should see the two Party Delegations separately in the morning and evening of Friday, the 10th, with a view to a final meeting on Saturday the 11th.


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 1944, Jaswant Singh

1830s-1898: British Forward Policy(1)

1899-1947: British Forward Policy(2)

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