HC Deb 18 May 1931 vol 252 cc1567-8

asked the Secretary of State for India whether, in view of the instructions given by the Congress party at the meeting at Karachi to its delegate to future meetings of the Round Table Conference or any of its committeees, His Majesty's Government will obtain an assurance that that delegate accepts the safeguards formulated by the first session of the Round Table Conference held at St. James's Palace before he is invited to attend the forthcoming session of the Round Table Conference or the Federal Structure Committee?


asked the Secretary of State for India whether he has now any information as to the acceptance by Mr. Gandhi of the constitutional safeguards agreed upon by the Round Table Conference?

18. Colonel LANE FOX

asked the Secretary of State for India whether, to avoid the danger of disappointment to him and misunderstanding in India, it will be made clear to Mr. Gandhi, before he starts for England from India, that the safeguards set out at the Round Table Conference form an essential condition of the consideration by Parliament of any federal scheme of government for India?


The published result of the conversations between Lord Irwin and Mr. Gandhi shows, in paragraph 2, that constitutional discussions were to be resumed on the scheme outlined by the Round Table Conference, and that it was explicitly recognised that just as federation and Indian responsibility are an essential part of this scheme, so also are "reservations or safeguards in the interests of India for such matters as, for instance, defence, external affairs, the position of minorities, the financial credit of India and discharge of obligations."


Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that Mr. Gandhi accepted instructions at Karachi which cut right across the terms of the Gandhi-lrwin settlement?

Colonel LANE FOX

Will it be made quite clear to Mr. Gandhi before he comes to this country that these are not mere bargaining points and that no compromise in principle will be possible at all?


I hope I have made it quite clear by my answer that discussions will be resumed on the basis of paragraph 2 as read out by me.


Is it not a fact that recent statements by Mr. Gandhi are completely contrary to the Gandhi-lrwin agreement?

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Do the whole of the future prospects of this conference depend on Mr. Gandhi?


Does not the right hon. Gentleman think there is a little danger arising out of the possible misunderstanding—


That is a matter of opinion.