Copy of a letter from Winston Churchill to Clement Attlee, 1 July 1947

"This is a copy of a letter from Winston Churchill to Clement Attlee, 1 July 1947.Clement Attlee was the Prime Minister of the Labour Government that drew up plans to grant independence to India. Churchill was the leader of the opposition Conservative Party and was deeply worried about the plans. He objected to the use of the term ‘Independence’ because the new legislation was supposed to grant India and Pakistan dominion status. This meant that they recognised the British King, George VI, as their head of state and that Britain would retain some influence over the country.

Clement Attlee had become Prime Minister in July 1945 after the Labour Party won the General Election held at the end of the Second World War. The Labour Government supported the principle of independence for India and in February 1947 it announced that British India would become fully independent by June 1948 at the latest. In June 1947 Attlee’s government agreed a plan with the Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten, to bring about an early transfer of power on 15 August 1947 and to partition British India into two new independent countries – India and Pakistan. This would result in the partition of the provinces of Bengal and Punjab."

Churchill, Winston