Friday, January 28, 2011

Did he or did he not?

The answer is probably somewhere out there - on July 27, 1946, Jinnah's address to the Muslim League includes this:
Mr. Jinnah proceeded to explain in detail the negotiations regarding the setting up of an Interim Government.  He said: 'It is entirely untrue that I submitted any list on behalf of the Muslim League.  On the contrary I definitely said that I was not prepared to submit any list until I knew that there was an agreed settlement and if there was no agreed settlement, the Viceroy was bound to go ahead with one major party that accepted it and that I would submit my list at that stage.  The Viceroy had no business to put my name when I had clearly made it know to him, in spite of his trying to persuade me, that I would not accept any office so long as I was the President of the Muslim League." (Annual Register, 1946, part II, page 171, or Speeches, Statements & Messages of the Quaid-e-Azam, Editor: Khurshid Ahmad Khan Yusufi Volume IV, page 2345)
The Transfer of Power papers, (Volume VII, Item 471) has this:

Note by Field Marshal Viscount Wavell
L/P&J/10/44:f 318
7 June 1946

Mr. Jinnah said that he must insist on the 5/5/2 ratio in the Interim Government and that he would not come in on any other basis.  As regards portfolios he said the League were particularly interested in Defence, External Affairs, and Planning and Development, with the last of these Commerce should go.

2. As regards himself he asked what would happen to his seat in the Assembly if he became a member of the Interim Government.  Would he have to resign his elected seat and take a nominated one?

3. He said the only portfolio he would consider was that of Defence.

4.  He said he hoped there was not objection to his remaining President of the Muslim League if he came into the Interim Government.

T.O.P., volume VII, Item 493 has a letter from "Field Marshal Viscount Wavell to Mr Jinnah" dated 11 June 1946.
You asked me when we last met [No. 471 above] what would happen about your seat in the Assembly if you became a Member of the Interim Government.  I have had the matter examined and am advised that in the absence of Parliamentary legislation it would be impossible to avoid your vacating your elected seat on becoming a Member of Government.   You would of course have a nominated seat as a Member of Government.
T.O.P. Volume VII, Item 497 has the "Record of Meeting of Cabinet Delegation and Field Marshal Viscount Wavell on 12 June 1946 at 10 am"
Sir Stafford Cripps said that he had had a conversation with Jinnah....He himself wanted the Defence Portfolio and had told Sir Stafford if he came into the Government he would regard himself as bound to work in a non-communal spirit for the good of India as a whole, and he would take good care to put forward for inclusion in the Government men whom he was satisfied could discharge the duties satisfactorily.  He would not bind himself to members of his Working Committee but would be prepared to bring in younger men.
T.O.P., volume VII, Item 556, has "Note of Intervew between Mr Jinnah, Lord Pethick-Lawrence and Mr Alexander on Monday, June 17, 1946".
"On this question of portfolios Mr. Jinnah made a further point.  He said that in view of his position as President of the Muslim League and as he would probably want to serve on the Constitution-making Body, he was not absolutely certain that he would have time to enter the Interim Government. He had asked the Viceroy for the portfolio of Defence because he thought that this would be suitable from every point of view.  Could he be assured that if he himself did not come into the Government this portfolio could be given to one of his party?  I said that this was of course a matter for the Viceroy but it did not seem to me a reasonable demand because the Viceroy would naturally want to allocate portfolios according to the actual ministers who were willing to take them."
Doesn't seem that Jinnah was being quite accurate with his address to the Muslim League.
Regarding the other issue, of having submitted a list of names:
 ....[Jinnah] He said: 'It is entirely untrue that I submitted any list on behalf of the Muslim League. 
TOP, Volume VII, Item 521, "Recording of Meeting of Cabinet Delegation and Field Marshal Viscount Wavell on 14 June 1946 at 10 am"

2. The meeting then considered Sir S. Cripps' draft of a statement which might be made if agreement could not be reached on the composition of the Government. The discussion centered mainly round the names to be included as those who were being invited to serve in the Government......From the Muslim League he proposed to include Jinnah, Liaquat Ali Khan, Mohammad Ismail Khan, Sardar Nishtar and Sir Nazimuddin, all of whom were included in the League recommendations.
Inquiring  minds want to know where the League recommendations came from?

As per T.O.P. Volume VII, Item 562, the list came from Jinnah himself.  "Note by Field Marshal Viscount Wavell" on "Note on Interview with Mr Jinnah 18-6-46":

...We then considered the question of names; the only new feature was that Ispahani, who was one of his original nominees, had now said that he did not wish to be considered.  Jinnah said that he thought his nominees were superior in ability to any of those of the Congress except Rajagopalachari.
The same note says that Jinnah "had not decided whether he would come in himself or not...". It also records that by including Nazimuddin, Wavell had put Jinnah in a difficult position with the Nizam as they {Jinnah, Muslim League} wanted Nazimuddin to be the President of the Nizam's Council".  {Also see item 564}.   So how did Sir Nazimuddin get to be in the League recommendations? {see PPS}

PS: additional context for Jinnah's speech to the Muslim League - on June 16th the Viceroy issued a statement, issuing invitations to Sardar Baldev Singh, Sir N.P. Engineer, Mr Jagjivan Ram, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Mr. M.A. Jinnah, Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan, Mr H.K. Mahtab, Dr. John Matthai, Nawab Mohammad Ismail Khan, Khwaja Sir Nazimuddin, Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar, Mr. C. Rajagopalachari, Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, to serve as members of the Interim Government (TOP Volume VII, Item 550).

On June 19, 1946, Jinnah wrote to Wavell (TOP Volume VII, Item 565)
"...the Working Committee are surprised that invitations have been issued to five Muslim Leaguers to join the Interim Government without calling for a list from the Leader of the Muslim League."
PPS: April 27, 1946 Jinnah wrote to the Nizam of Hyderabad suggesting that either Khwaja Sir Nazimuddin or Mr Ghulam Mohammed be appointed the President of his Council. {Item 59, page 78, volume XIII, in Z.H. Zaidi's Quaid-i-Azam papers.} May 1, 1946 {Item 69}, the Nizam wrote back to Jinnah saying that "as far as the possibility oif either of the two gentlemen mentioned by you to succeed the Nawab of Chhatari as President of Council...I am afraid neither I nor the Government of India will approve of this, since they are not quite fit for such a high position having no experience of an Indian State at all."

T.O.P., volume VII, Item 447 has a note from Mr Abell to Mr Jinnah, 4 June 1946

"His Excellency asks me to reply to two questions you put to him yesterday.

1. There is no objection to members of the Interim Government being also members of the Constituent Assembly.

2. With regard to Baluchistan.......
T.O.P., Volume VII, Item 564, records this: "The First Lord said that the danger of this {Muslim League holding the Defence Portfolio} seemed to him to be that the Muslims might take the opportunity of redistributing the Indian Army in a way which would facilitate the creation of Pakistan."

It wasn't just the Congress that did not trust the Muslim League.


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