Simla Conference

Simla Conference (History)

Article Upload Date: 2018,Feb 05

The Second World War ended with the Japanese surrender in August 1945. The six year war had left the British victorious but financially bankrupt. The new British government was desperate to concentrate on domestic problems. British rule in India was now certainly going to end and negotiations had to start on how power was to be transferred.

Title Description
Type: Pre-Partition conference
In English: Simla Conference
In Urdu: شملہ کانفرس
Location: Simla
Date: June 1945
Proposed By: Lord Wavell
Appreciated By: All the parties accepted the principle of the Executive Council
Disregarded By: Disregarded on the method of selection of members of Executive Council
Presented At: Simla meeting in 1945
Importance: Lord Wavell and British governement had to officially admit defeat on 14 July

Proposal of Executive Council

2nd world war

2nd world war

Before the war had ended, Lord Wavell, the viceroy, proposed that an Executive Council should be established to act as the interim government. The Executive Council would be Indian in all portfolios except the defense mebers and the viceroy himself. Wavell also proposed that:  
  • There should be an equal number of Hindus and Muslims on the Executive Council
  • The main concession to the Congress party was that the portfolios of the foreign affairs, finance and interior would be held by Indians for the first time 

Call of Simla Conference

To discuss the formation of the Executive Council and the future handover, the viceroy called a conference in Simla. All the political parties were invited to Simla in June 1945. 
  • There were total 21 participants
  • Muslim League delegation included Quaid, Liaquat Ali Khan and Khawaja Nazimuddin
  • The Congress Party was ld by Gandhi, Abul Kalam Azad and Khizar Hayat Tiwana were deliberately  included in the delegation to demonstrate that not all Muslims were members of the Muslim League.

Meetings of Lord Wavell and reservations of parties

Lord Archibald Wavell

Lord Archibald Wavell

On the opening of Simla Conference on June 24 1945, the main parties accepted the basic idea of the Executive Council but with some reservations. Wavell met with Azad, Jinnah and Gandhi separately on 24 June.

Congresss reservation

As Wavell had stated that an equal number of Hindus and Muslims were to be represented in the Council, the Congress Party argued that they had a right to nominate Muslims and that these Muslims should be included in the total number of Muslims.

Quaids point of view

The Quaid was adamant that only the Muslim League had the right to nominate names for the Muslims quota. When Wavell said that he could not accept this demand of the League, Jinnah pointed out that the Muslim League had won every single by-election in the last two years and there was no real doubt that it represented the overwhelming majority of Muslims. Jinnah also claimed that if there was to be simple parity only between the Hindus and Muslims would be constantly outvoted as the Sikhs and scheduled castes on the Council would side with the Congress.


Simla conference failed

Simla conference failed

When the conference officially reopened on 25 June, there had been no progress and it became obvious that although all the parties accepted the principle of the Executive Council, the hurdle was going to be the method of selection. On that crucial point, Lord Wavell had to officially admit defeat on 14 July. He finally realized the level of intransigence the two parties were prepared to show. [1] Simla  

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