The British could not prevent the Constituent Assembly from meeting on December 9th 1946 because they were afraid that the Congress would walk out of the Interim Government if they did so. Though some urged that Muslim League members should attend since they could always walk out if they did not agree with Constituent Assembly's proceedings, the Muslim League decided to stay out. Note Jinnah's contempt for the Congress in (5).
526 page 832(full text)
1. I had an hour and ten minutes with Mr. Jinnah on the question of his calling his Council to accept the Statement of May 16th. It was completely unsatisfactory.
2. After a few preliminaries about the start of the Assembly and of the new Government, I told Mr. Jinnah that I hoped he would call his Council at once to accept the Statement of May 16; they could of course add, if they like, a reference to the Statement of May 25th; but it was essential that the Statement of May 16 should be accepted without further delay, and it was a condition of the League's acceptance of office at the Centre.
I said that Jinnah had told at an earlier interview that he must have some arguments to influence the Council to withdraw their previous decision. I said that the altered facts were that the Congress had agreed that representatives of Provinces should enter the Sections; that they were prepared to agree that any doubtful points of interpretation should be referred to the Federal Court; and most important of all that the Muslim League were now in the Government and able to influence events.
I said I felt it would be impossible at present to get any further assurances from the Congress, and that I did not think it would be good tactics on the part of the League to attempt to do so. A section of the Congress might use this to give them an excuse to force the League out of Government, into which they had not been at all anxious to accept them.
I emphasised that it was impossible for His Majesty's Government to force the Congress or the League to act in any particular way; but that the only hope was that we should get along by agreement. It was to the interests of the Muslim League that the Constituent Assembly should meet as soon as possible and complete its work in the shortest possible time. HMG cannot maintain the present Constitution and remain in India indefinitely and it was therefore in the interests of the League to get the Mission's scheme into operation as near as they possibly could.
3. Jinnah adopted a completely intransigent attitude. He went over all the old arguments, mainly to the effect that the Congress acceptance of the Statement of May 16 was not a genuine one and should never have been accepted as such. He said that the question of procedure inside the Constituent Assembly could not possibly be subjected to the decision of the Federal Court.
I listened patiently to all the old arguments on the weakness of the Mission and HMG in accepting the Congress acceptance of the Statement of May 16th(I was on rather weak ground here, since I entirely agree with Jinnah myself).
4. The main theme of a long discussion was that Jinnah could not possibly secure the acceptance of the Statement of May 16 from his Council unless it was agreed that Congress accepted the literal interpretation of the Mission's plan. He said that he was afraid that his Council would reject it and say that nothing but Pakistan would satisfy them.
I kept to the line that whatever there might be in his arguments, there were practical considerations; the best hope of avoiding civil war and getting the Muslims the best possible terms in India was to continue to carry out the Mission's plan as far as possible. Time is limited since HMG was not prepared to remain in India indefinitely.
5. Jinnah's further arguments were to the effect that the Congress leaders were completely over-rated; had simply reached the position they had because they had been to jail and were therefore martyrs; that the personnel of the Muslim League was really completely superior in administrative capacity, etc; that HMG must make up their minds and support what they had laid down.
He referred as usual to the "piles of letters and telegrams" which he had received, from Muslim Leaguers, imploring him to stand firm, complaining of the numbers of Muslims who were being persecuted by the Hindus, and the failure of the Hindu leaders to condemn the action of the Hindus while carrying out propaganda against the Muslims, and so forth.
I tried to keep the discussion on practical lines of the best tactics in the existing circumstances; but his attitude was to the effect that "if HMG will not take a firm line and protect us, then leave us to our fate".
6. I am not sure how far Mr. Jinnah was taking up his usual extreme attitude before giving way, it really depends on how far the extreme element in the League Council is dominant. I think the only thing now is to tackle his lieutenants, Liaqat & Co. and see what their views are.
I deeply regret that the Viceroy and His Majesty's Government have decided to summon the Constituent Assembly on the ninth of December. In my opinion, it is one more blunder of a very grave and serious character. It is quite obvious that the Viceroy is blind to the present serious situation and the realities facing him and is entirely playing into the hands of the Congress and is appeasing them in complete disregard of the Muslim League and other organizations and elements in the national life of the country.
In these circumstances, it is
obvious that no representative of the Muslim League will participate in
the Constituent Assembly, and the Bombay resolution of the Muslim
League Council, passed on July 29, stands. By forcing this meeting of
the Constituent Assembly, the matter has been further exacerbated and a
situation has been created which will lead to serious consequences. I
want to make it clear that no representatives of the Muslim League
should attend the Constituent Assembly summoned to meet on the 9th of
(4) Interpretation of
paragraph 19(v) and (viii) of the Cabinet Mission statement of 16 May
His Majesty's Government have had legal advice which confirms that the statement of May 16 means what the Cabinet Mission have always stated was their intention. This part of the statement, as so interpreted, must, therefore, be considered an essential part of the scheme of May 16 for enabling the Indian people to formulate a Constitution which His Majesty's Government would be prepared to submit to Parliament. It should, therefore, be accepted by all parties in the Constituent Assembly.
(B) Resolution by the Working Committee of the Indian National Congress, 22 December 1946 (excerpts)
...In their statement of December 6, 1946, the British Government, in giving their interpretation of a doubtful point of procedure, have referred to it as a 'fundamental point' and suggested that the Constituent Assembly may refer it to the Federal Court at a very early date.
Subsequent statements made on behalf of the British Government have made it clear that they are not prepared to accept the decision of this Court should it go against their own interpretations. On behalf of the Muslim League also it has been stated that they will not be bound by the decision of the Federal Court, and a demand for the partition of India, which is a negation of the Cabinet Mission's scheme, continues to be put forward.
While the Congress has always been willing to agree to a reference to the Federal Court, any reference now, when none of the other parties are prepared to join it or to accept it, and one of them does not even accept the basis of the scheme, becomes totally uncalled for and unbecoming, and unsuited to the dignity of either the Congress, or the Federal Court. By their repeated statements, British statesmen have ruled this out.
The Working Committee are still of the opinion
that the interpretation put by the British Government in regard to the
method of voting in the Sections is not in conformity with provincial
autonomy., which is one of the fundamental bases of the scheme proposed
in the statement of May 16...
(C) Resolution of the Working Committee of the All-India Muslim League, 31 January 1947(excerpts) [full text in CMP(17A)]
...With regard to the third point, namely, that if a Constitution come to be framed by the Constituent Assembly in which 'a large section of the Indian population has not been represented', such a Constitution would not be forced upon any 'unwilling parts of the country', the All-India Congress Committee resolution[CMP(17A)], in paragraph 3, completely distorts the meaning and application of this principle and makes this an excuse to instigate a section of the population of Assam, the North-West Frontier Province, the Sikhs and even Baluchistan, to revolt against decisions that might be taken by the relevant Sections sitting as whole and by a simple majority vote.
In the opinion of the Working Committee of the All-India Muslim League the subsequent decision of the Assam Provincial Congress not to abide by the procedure laid down for the Sections and its reiteration that the 'Constitution for Assam shall be framed by her representatives only' is a direct result of this instigation and is a step taken by Assam Congressmen in collusion with the all-India leaders of the Congress.
The Constituent Assembly met on December 9  and subsequent dates and thereafter on January 20  and subsequent dates and has already taken decisions of vital character, so far as it is know to the public; and as some of the sittings were held in camera it is very difficult to get correct information as to what other resolutions it has passed or what decisions it has already taken. It has passed a resolution, known as the independent sovereign republic resolution, laying down the objectives.
It is not only a proclaimation of India as an independent sovereign republic but it lays down fundamentals of the Constitution as was admitted by Pandit Nehru, the mover of the resolution. It is a very vital resolution. It lays down the essentials of the next Constitution; several things which are mentioned there are fundamentals of the Constitution.
It speaks of a Republic or Union, functions and powers vested in the Union or as are inherent or implied in the Union and resulting therefrom, and talks of present boundaries, States, present authorities, the residuary powers, powers being derived from the people, minority rights and fundamental rights. These are undoubtedly fundamentals of the Constitution and they are beyond the limit of the powers and the terms of the scheme of the Cabinet Mission's statement of May 16 and the resolution is therefore illegal, ultra vires and not competent to the Constituent Assembly to adopt.
Next, it has appointed several committees[ blogger's comment: with vacancies left open for Muslim League members to join later if they so wished] and has proceeded to elect an Advisory Committee, referred to in paragraph 20 of the statement of the Cabinet Mission and the Viceroy, on the rights of citizens, Minorities, Tribal and excluded areas. Further it has appointed a Steering Committee and various other committees, and as some of the decisions have been taken in camera it is very difficult to say what resolutions it has passed or decisions it has taken..
And lastly, it has appointed a committee to define
the scope of the Union subjects, whereas the position was made quite
clear, immediately after the statement of May 16 was issued, by the
Secretary of State for India in his broadcast and by Sir Stafford
Cripps at his press conference where he read out an explanatory
statement. Both of them stated in the clearest possible terms the time
and the manner in which the Group Constitutions were to be framed by
the Sections concerned before the Union Constitution was taken up...
...[ more on how Congress
Constituent Assembly activities were in
gross violation of the terms of the Cabinet Mission Plan]
Speech by Jinnah from the Egyptian State Broadcasting Service, Cairo, December 19, 1946.(excerpts).
"..one India, or a united India means the establishment of a large India where the Hindus will- with majority of three to one- dominate and rule the Mussalman nation. This will mean as time passes to strangle the very existence of Muslims in India. We, as a nation, will be doomed to perish. It is therefore a matter of life and death to one hundred million Muslims who strive to preserve their lives, to have an independent and separate state in these two regions where there is a solid majority of Muslims.
The philosophy of Hindus, their culture and social life are wholy based on caste system. One is born in one's caste and dies in one's caste. They are the most exclusive people, and no one from a lower caste can be admitted in a higher caste or treated, socially and economically on equal footing. Muslims are considered by the high Hindustani castes as Malich.
There are sixty million of the untouchables who, though they profess to be Hindus, are inadmitable in high caste society of Hindus. They are treated economically and socially as serfs. Democracy is foreign to Hindu society. Those untouchables are caste-ridden and cannot enter or be admitted in other caste.
It is even worse in the case of Muslims, for they are considered from the point of view of history, culture and economy as pole? descendents. As the Muslims believe and act according to the essential principles of equality of mankind, of fraternity and liberty, for they are basically a democratic nation, there is no common ground on which the Muslims and the Hindus can meet in everything that matters in life. They are two different nations. There is no hope therefore, even at a distant future, that they will be homogenous or united.
We have lived there for thousands of years, and the so-called one India is only a means of British domination and British rule that preaches the maintaining of peace and social order.
It is unthinkable that these two nations, which are totally different in everything, can participate in one government administration where the Hindus have three votes against one of the Muslims.
The popular democratic conception of government is to sanction the will of the people behind it. Such a government as may be composed of Hindus and Muslims will be artificial and unnatural, and can never again gain the respect and confidence of the people or be obeyed or honoured. If decisions will be taken as regards legislation and administration by poll-box, this will be disastrous, for they will not stand the shock of test or trial, and will in no time divide acre and acre the opinion of the two nations put artificially together in one government dominating the whole sub-continent of India. The only solution is therefore to separate Muslim India from Hindustani India, and to establish an independent government for each, so that they can live as good neighbours..
..Our scheme is therefore more just and fair to both
whereas the Hindu scheme means death to one hundred million Muslims,
politically, socially, economically and in everything that matters in
life and all that Islam stands for."
On February 20th 1947, Attlee announced the British intent to transfer power to Indians by a 'date not later than June 1948'. He also announced that Mountbatten would replace Wavell as Viceroy for the transition period.
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)