Defence Services (Reconstruction)

Oral Answers to Questions — India – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th December 1945.

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Photo of Mr Woodrow Wyatt Mr Woodrow Wyatt , Birmingham Aston 12:00 am, 17th December 1945

asked the Undersecretary of State for India why, in view of the Government's intention to Indianise the Indian Army, the recently appointed chairman of the Recontruction Committee of the Defence Services of India is a British service lieutenant-general and not an Indian Army officer.

Photo of Mr Arthur Henderson Mr Arthur Henderson , Kingswinford

General Willcox, who has wide experience of Indian conditions, was selected by the Commander-in-Chief as the best available officer for the appointment in question. There are two Indian Army members of the committee, one of whom, a brigadier, is an Indian.

Photo of Mr Woodrow Wyatt Mr Woodrow Wyatt , Birmingham Aston

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that there is considerable resentment in the Indian Army because nearly all the high appointments in India have been given to British Service officers and not to officers in the Indian Army, either British officers in the Indian Army or even Indian officers in the Indian Army; and will he take steps to look into the matter and have this state of affairs altered?

Photo of Mr Arthur Henderson Mr Arthur Henderson , Kingswinford

I will look into what my hon. and gallant Friend represents, but as regards this particular appointment, I am satisfied that the Commander-in-Chief took the view that General Willcox was the best officer for this work.