Viceroy's Executive Council

Oral Answers to Questions — India – in the House of Commons on 22nd October 1942.

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Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he will give an assurance that the reason for not completing the Indianisation of the Viceroy's Executive by appointing three Indians to the portfolios still held by Englishmen, is not because of any difficulty in finding suitable Indians for the position?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

The Viceroy, in the expansion of his Executive Council in order to meet war conditions, has been concerned to secure both efficiency and continuity, and is satisfied that his existing Council consists of those best qualified at the present moment to fill their respective offices. There is no question of any particular appointment being held on grounds of race or of the present European members being retained merely for the reason suggested by the hon. Member.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

Will my right hon. Friend make clear the reason why this policy, which meets with such widespread support, has not been put into effect?

Photo of Mr Arthur Molson Mr Arthur Molson , High Peak

Is it not the case that the appointment of a Congress representative would be unacceptable to Congress and that a representative of any other community in India might very well cause resentment on the part of other communities?

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

asked the Secretary of State for India whether it is the decision of His Majesty's Government that the Ministries now filled by non-Indians shall continue thus for the duration of the war; and whether he has considered recommendations to the contrary made by influential non-Congress Indians to the effect that Indians shall occupy all Ministries?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

I presume the hon. Member is referring to the seats on the Governor-General's Executive Council, and I would refer him to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander) on 15th October.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

Is this matter being considered by the right hon. Gentleman and the War Cabinet, seeing that considerable pressure has been brought to bear from several quarters about this matter?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

The answer I have given to the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton covers that point.

Photo of Major-General Sir Alfred Knox Major-General Sir Alfred Knox , Wycombe

Is not the agitation purely mischievous?

Photo of Mr Edgar Granville Mr Edgar Granville , Eye

Has the right hon. Gentleman seen a statement in to-day's papers that Mr. Rajagopalachari intends to visit this country, and will he extend to him and other distinguished Indians an official invitation to discuss the formation of a National Government in India?