Gandhi on Dominion status

Viceroy Linlithgow’s record for the British Cabinet of his conversation with Gandhi, 5th February 1940 (CAB 67/5/24)


Future Status of India

18. Mr. Gandhi proceeded that he had noted in regard to the future status of India that in my speech at the Orient Club at Bombay I guaranteed Dominion Status of the Statute of Westminster variety. He did not think it necessary or even wise for me to give any such guarantee. It was for India to choose her status-not for us to make a limited offer. Australia, Canada, and the other Dominions were one thing. India was another. India could never be a daughter State, for her roots did not lie in England. Furthermore, I must understand the difficulty which Indians felt in accepting the phrase “full partnership in the Commonwealth.” What about the position of Indians in South Africa?

Mr. Gandhi enlarged at very considerable length on the grossly unjust treatment of Indians in that Dominion. He went on to repeat that it was not for us to limit our offer. It should be an offer to India to choose what she wanted. Let the Constituent Assembly settle the whole question of status.

Return to The Road to Partition 1939-1947