22 AUGUST 1941, Page 13

SIR,—Now that Lord Willingdon is no more, and tributes are

being paid to his life-long service to India, his numerous admirers and friends will recall his promise at the last meeting of the East India Association that he was going to formulate his views on the Indian question, which he was actively engaged in before his untimely death. Before he went out for a period on his summer vacation, he had had long chats with those equally engaged with him in devising a practicable scheme of immediate and ultimate reiorms, and he had gone so far as to decide to convene a small conference of a few representatives of all parties actively interested in the Indian settle- ment, but before he could do so he was taken ill. I was probably the last one of those to whom he conveyed his view on the settlement, which he thought would reconcile all parties in India and enlist the full measure of their co-operation in the struggle that is getting intensified from day to day.

This view, though not final, flowed in the following direction. Appoint an exploratory Indian committee of no pronounced partisan views to reconcile conflicting claims on the common basis of Dominion- status and arm it with sufficient authority to act as a liaison-body between the Government and the people, with power to settle each question as it arises, and thus reduce the chasm of conflict without waiting to develop a grandiose scheme of final settlement on a totali- tarian basis. The whole question was to remain fluid and be given a chance to reach finality by its own force and strength of popular support. A scheme upon these lines is well worthy of consideration.

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