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Decolonization of French India

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Ajit K. Neogy

6. The June Declaration and the Municipal Elections

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1The telegram from Quai d’Orsay referred to in the previous chapter communicating the acceptance by the French Government the proposals of Nehru quickened the process of negotiation between the two governments and eventually an agreement reached between them. Negotiations between Lévi and Tézenas on the one hand and Bajpai on the other, though tortuous, entered a hopeful stage. The Ministry of External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations carefully judged Lévi’s communication and the Aide-mémoire of 25 May. Bajpai wrote

  • 1 Bajpai To Lévi, 29 May 1948. As 44-55, Inde Française, Vol. 9 (Qd).

The Government of India note that, in deference to the wishes of the people of Chandernagore, the French Government desire that one simple Assembly, comprising the Municipal Councils of the four French Establishments should determine the date and the procedure of the referendum for the four south Establishments and that of the Municipal Assembly of Chandernagore should perform similar functions separately in respect of Chandernagore. Animated by the same sentiment as the Government of France, the Government of India concur in this agreement.1

2He further added that the Government of India agreed, as suggested by Lévi and Tézenas, to exchange notes with the French Government as soon as the French Parliament should make declaration regarding the French settlements in India on the lines agreed upon in the negotiations. Bajpai, in his meeting with them on 28 May, had convinced them

  • 2 Ibid.

the importance of an early declaration, the taking of steps as soon as possible, for holding the elections which would enable the four French settlements in the south and Chandernagore to determine the date and procedure for holding the referendum.2

  • 3 Levi à Bidault, 4 juin 1948. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 9 (Qd). Also Aff. Politiques, C 434, D1 (...)

3On 31 May, Lévi, in an Aide-mémoire to the Ministry of External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations, informed that the French Government was inclined to resolve the future status of the French settlements in India on the basis of the terms and conditions approved by the French Government on 5 May 1948 and solicited the confirmation of the Government of India. They were (i) the future status of the French settlements in India would be determined by a free and fair referendum, (ii) the results of the referendum should be considered separately and not as a whole (ii) the Municipal Assembly of Chandernagore and the municipal councils of the four south Indian settlements to be reconstituted on the basis of new elections would fix the date of elections and the modalities of referendum.3 French offer practically covered all the points raised by the Government of India and it confirmed them with the hope that this would facilitate the French Government to issue a declaration without delay on the lines generally agreed upon between the two governments. The negotiations which had started four months ago reached its fruition. But the time limit for holding the plebiscite in the four south Indian settlements remained as yet undefined. Lévi did not think the arrangement beneficial to the interests of French Union, but nevertheless it had the merit of safeguarding the French from “violent eviction and brutal secession of the settlements” and he believed that the acceptance of a liberal policy would ultimately promote French interests. He wrote that the repressive policy pursued by Delhi Government towards the state of Pudducottah (near Karaikal) and the blockade of Hyderabad would have an adverse effect on the people of the south Indian settlements and this, Lévi believed, would tilt the balance in favour of the French. This was actually a misreading of the prevailing moods and minds of the people of French India and this speaks of a poor appraisal of the situation in the French pockets. They were still suffering from some kind of elusion and petty foibles on the part of the Government of India were always interpreted as providing them with new opportunities for reaping political mileage.

  • 4 Ministre des Affaires Etrangères au Ministre de la France d’outre-mer, 3 juin 1948. As 44-55. Inde (...)

4However, keeping in mind the case of Chandernagore, where the situation was everyday getting complicated, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs impressed upon the Minister for Overseas Empire the urgency of making a declaration.4 The original draft declaration of 9 February, approved by the French Council of Ministers, was slightly revised to suit new conditions and on 8 June 1948, in the second session of the French National Assembly, Coste-Floret made the long expected declaration (see Appendix II) which, he observed, would satisfy the aspirations of the French Indian people in all possible ways. The declaration, which the Indian Government approved, laid down the general principles along which the people of French India would determine their own future. The declaration accorded the people of the French settlements in India the right to decide their fate and future status. It also added that peace and order would be maintained in the settlements and that religious and racial equality and freedom of the individual would be fully assured. The declaration intended that

  • 5 Ibid. Inde Française, Vol. 9. Balasubramanian, Président, Assemblée Representative à outre-mer (tel (...)

this consultation shall not give rise to any display of passion or hatred between any section of opinion and another before, during and after this consultation, and that it shall not be interfered with or perverted by any pressure internal or external, contrary to the spirit of a true democracy.5

5 On 9 June the Pondicherry Representative Assembly, in an extraordinary session, unanimously approved the French Parliamentary Declaration prepared on the basis of the Delhi accord. The communists were absent in that session. France had eventually to give to the people of the French Indian settlements the right of self-determination and the very acceptance of the principle that the will of the people must decide the issue was a triumph for democratic ideals. Not only this, French acceptance of New Delhi’s points of view was indicative of her realization of the altered situation in India. But the implementation of what they had realized remained a chimera for a long time. The immediate reaction of the Indian press for the declaration was mixed. The Indian Express (11 June 1948) pointed out that in the whole text of the declaration neither the word “referendum” nor the word “plebiscite” was mentioned and observed that

  • 6 Aff. Politiques, C 434, DI (A. O. M.).

Unless one is categorically told that a referendum, based on adult suffrage, will be conducted in conditions conducive to the free exercise of the vote, the present gesture is without meaning.6

  • 7 Ibid.
  • 8 Ibid.
  • 9 Aff. Politiques, C 434, DI (A. O. M.).
  • 10 Ibid.

6 The Hindu (12 June 1948) welcomed the declaration “because there is no other feasible alternative”.7 The Bombay Sentinel (10 June 1948) thought that the decision of the French Government to remit the question of the future fate and status of their five towns in India to a referendum “is an improvement on the existing nebulous and unhappy position”.8The National Standard (Bombay 10 June 1948) too welcomed the announcement of Coste-Floret as “a wise decision, for the procedure which it envisages is not only democratic, but is in accord with Delhi’s intention”.9 Dinamami (11 June 1948) welcomed the declaration, but complained that in French India elections were always violent and accompanied by rigging, terrorization etc. It harboured apprehension whether free and fair elections could take place in Pondicherry and other French settlements. However, it appealed to the people of French India to vote in favour of Indian Union for defeating any conspiracy by the Socialist Party to perpetuate French rule in India.10 But whatever it might be the people immediately concerned were not consulted.

7The Indo-French agreement referred to above was concretized by exchange of letters between Nehru and Lévi on 29 June 1948. (see Appendix III). Nehru wrote to the French Ambassador to the effect

  • 11 As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 9 (Qd). Aff. Politiques, C 437 (A. O. M.).

My Government note with satisfaction that the principles embodied in the declaration are in agreement with their own view that the future of the French establishments in India should be determined at the earliest opportunity in accordance with the freely expressed desires of their inhabitants.11

8He also wrote that

My Government cordially share the French Government’s desire that the referendum by which the people of French India are to be consulted should be held in an atmosphere free from passion or hatred and without the application of internal or external pressure.

9The French Ambassador wrote (see Appedix IV) to Nehru on the same day as follows

  • 12 As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 9 (Qd).

I have the honour to inform you that my government, following the exchange of views held recently with the Indian Government, has made a declaration on June 8 in the National Assembly. The date of consultation will be fixed for Chandernagor by the Municipal Assembly of the free-town; for the four other establishments by their Municipal Councils grouped in one single assembly. To this end, these Municipal Assemblies will be entirely renewed: new elections will be held the dates of which will be fixed as soon as possible...12

10He also added

The mode of this consultation will be determined in agreement with the Municipal Assembly of Chandernagore, for the four other establishments, by the assembly grouping their Municipal Councils.

11There was no doubt that the announcement of Coste-Floret in the French Parliament about the future of the French settlements in India was a good augury for the future relations between India and France, but there were many more hurdles which necessitated fresh exchange of notes and diplomatic talks. Both the government had their points. People were already tired of the protracted negotiations which preceded the Indo-French agreement. When the question of settling the details was taken up differences began to widen. People became impatient, the press critical and the internal condition of the settlements worsened.

  • 13 Aide-memoire: Ministry of External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations, 1 July 1948. As 44-55. Inde (...)

12Immediately after this the Government of India, in an Aide-mémoire13 of 1 July 1948, drew the attention of the French Embassy to “certain matters of detail” which should be settled, as early as possible, in order to ensure that the forthcoming elections were held in an atmosphere “free from passion or hatred and without the apprehension of internal or external pressure”. The Government of India Aide-mémoire suggested to the French Government, in view of the forthcoming elections, to make a public announcement guaranteeing complete freedom of press and speech in French India during the elections. It drew the attention of the French Government to décret no. 46-432, dated 13 March 1946 under which (Article 3) no association could be formed which had as its object “the injuring of national territory”. The operation of this décret, the Government of India argued, “would appear to prevent the formation of bodies who may advocate the severance of the French settlements from the French Empire. The Government of India urged the French Government to suspend the operation of the décret until the elections were over. At the same time it requested the French Government to repeal or suspend any other legislation or executive measures which might prejudice the holding of free and fair elections”. The Aide-mémoire requested

confirmation that the President of the Municipal Assembly to be elected in Chandernagor and the President of the Assembly which is to represent other four settlements will be granted the same independence from the Governor of French India as is at present given to the President of the Representative Assembly in Pondicherry.

13The Government of India also presumed that “the meetings of these newly elected assemblies will be public as is the case with the Representative Assembly”. As regards the referendum itself the Aide-mémoire of the Government of India proposed that this should be conducted under the observation of the Indian and French governments, and that these observers should be entitled to employ as many persons and station them in as many places, as they considered necessary for effectively observing the referendum. The Aide-mémoire concluded hoping to settle other “matters of detail” between the Consul General in French India and the local French authorities. These “matters of detail” constituted the real bone of contention. It was surprising that the Government of India entered into an agreement which was full of pitfalls and which were so vague in details.

  • 14 Ministre des Affaires Etrangères au Ministre de la France d’outre-mer, 22 juin 1948. As 44-55. Inde (...)

14Lévi had earlier given assurance of a free and fair elections to Nehru. The French Government was not in fact inclined to allow the Government of India to have any say on this score. Elections in French India had always been a scandal since it was introduced in the last century and organized violence, rigging, booth capturing and discriminations followed in the matter of distribution of identity cards had reduced the whole democratic system into a mockery. The Government of India was quite aware of this and the French authorities also knew that the former would never accept their unilateral control on the referendum whatever guarantee might be given. The Government of India, therefore, in its Aide-mémoire of 1 July 1948, suggested that the referendum should be jointly conducted by the French and Indian observers. Lévi was opposed to admitting Indian, particularly ‘congress’ elements as Indian observers who, he feared, might influence “our electoral arrangements” and he thought it better to call neutral observers. The French Minister of Foreign Affairs passed on this suggestion to the Overseas Minister.14 As regards the décret of 13 March 1946 which had imposed an embargo on the formation of association etc. the French reply was that the décret which was long in force in French India had not obstructed the activities of the local pro-mergerists within French India.

  • 15 Madras Mail, 5 July 1948. Aff. Politiques C 428, D2 (A. O. M.).
  • 16 Telegram. Deben Das et al a Pondichéry, 13 June 1947. Aff. Politiques C 368, D3 (A. O. M.).
  • 17 The Hindu, 30 July 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D1 (A. O. M.).
  • 18 The Hindu, 19 August 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D1 (A. O. M.).
  • 19 Note préparée par le Ministre des Affaires Etrangères. 10 août 1948. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. (...)

15In the meantime the date for the Municipal Assembly election of Chandernagore was announced to be held on 25 July. The electoral rolls had been revised. The dates for other settlements were yet to be announced, but the pro-mergerist were every where active.15 Originally the date for holding the Municipal Assembly election of Chandernagore was fixed on 16 May, but it was postponed because the voters’ lists were incomplete. The municipal election of Chandernagore was last held in 1946 and in that election, it has been stated earlier, the NDF emerged victorious. Since 1947 Deben Das and other members of the Pondicherry Representative Assembly from Chandernagore had been demanding the revision of the voters’ lists,16 but it was delayed on flimsy pretexts. The election of 25 July attained special significance. For the first time voting was to be on the basis of adult suffrage. Already the CPI had been banned and the NDF was on a low profile. The Congress Karma Parishad fought the election under the patronage of the provisional Council of Administration. As this Municipal Assembly was going to play an important role in the coming days the contesting parties (the Congress, the NDF and the Forward Bloc) pulled up all their resources to win the election and naturally it generated an unprecedented enthusiasm among the people. Nevertheless the election was peaceful. The Congress Karma Parishad swept the poll17 and Deben Das became the President18 of the Municipal Assembly of the Free City of Chandernagore. The election of Deben Das was well-taken by the French authorities and Tézenas looked upon him as a powerful personality in Chandernagore capable of promoting French interests.19

  • 20 He was Indian according to a judgement of Karaikal tribunal.
  • 21 Manifeste du Parti Communiste de l’Inde Française, 28 juin 1948. Aff. Politiques, C435 (A. O. M.). (...)
  • 22 Baron à outre-mer (tél. Confidentiel), 28 août 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 437 (A. O. M.).
  • 23 Certain communist and NDF leaders were campaigning against the merger on the allegation that “the I (...)
  • 24 Star of India 9 July 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D3 (A. O. M.). 12 juillet 1948. Aff. Politiques, (...)
  • 25 The Hindu, 9 July 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D3 (A. O. M.).
  • 26 The Indian Express, 20 July 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D3 (A. O. M.).

16Following the Indo-French agreement and the subsequent declaration of 8 June, vast changes had taken place within the French settlements. The mini-revolution of Chandernagore in March could neither evict the French from Chandernagore nor bring about the fall of the Ville Libre administration of the town. The communists had incurred the displeasure of the Government of West Bengal for many reasons and the Chandernagore episode gave it a handle to take an effective step by way of muzzling their activities. The Chandernagore Council of Administration also adopted repressive measures against the CPI and those who opposed it. The party went underground in Chandernagore. Pondicherry administration was also getting tired of Subbiah. Various measures were taken from time to time to weaken his hold over the working class population of Pondicherry and undermine him. The French India Socialist Party had been challenging Subbiah for quite some time. This party was in fact propped up to cut him to size. Actually the repressive measures of Chandernagore Council of Administration paled into insignificance when compared with the reign of terror unleashed by the Socialist Party of Goubert primarily against the communists and secondarily against the pro-mergerists rallying round the banner of French India Congress Party and the merger committees. Subbiah’s relations with the French authorities were going down. His disqualification from Parliamentary membership and refusal of the Government of India to grant him a visa for his visit to France because of his disputed nationality20 embittered his relations with both the governments. An astute politician he realized the difficulty into which he and his party had been landed. Suddenly the party and its leadership changed its stance. The Central Committee of the French India Communist Party, in a manifesto, dubbed the Nehru Government as “fascist”, strongly criticized the failure of the Nehru Government to solve the problems of the country “in ten months”, the repressive measures it had followed in Hyderabad and Pudducottah and expressed its willingness to remain within the French Union.21 The party believed that by remaining within the French Union and fighting for peoples’ democratic right in close co-operation with the French working class, a socialistic structure could be built up. On 15 August 1948, at a meeting held in Quai de Gingy Subbiah strongly opposed the integration of the French pockets to Indian Union.22 The communists might have changed its stance possibly with a view to wooing the Pondicherry authorities. They feared that if Pondicherry authorities had banned the party in the manner Chandernagore Administration had done, their survival would be at stake. Moreover, the all-India position of the party was not comfortable either. Nehru had been denouncing the party and its programme. The French pockets might be safe haven if anything worse befell them.23 In the meantime a good number of Malabar communists had taken shelter in French Mahe where they were welcomed by the pro-French elements and this created considerable tension.24 The communists of Karaikal also expressed their willingness to remain within the French Union.25 Le Monde explained this change in the attitude of the French India Communist Party as a reaction of New Delhi’s policy of anti-communism followed in the southern states. It also attributed the shift in policy as an expression of disapproval against some reactionary members of the government.26

  • 27 Swadeshmitran, 30 July 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D3 (A. O. M.).
  • 28 The Indian Express, 4 July 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D3 (A.0. M.).
  • 29 Madras Mail, 1 Sept. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D3 (A. O. M.).
  • 30 The Hindu, 25 July, 1948. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 9 (Qd).
  • 31 The Hindu, 19 August 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D3 (A. O. M.).
  • 32 Gouverneur de Pondichéry au Ministre d’outre-mer, 2 août 1948. As 44-55. Inde Française Vol. 9 (Qd) (...)
  • 33 Baron au Ministre d’Outre-mer, 3 avril 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 437 (A. O. M.).

17The date for elections in the south Indian settlements had not yet been announced, but the people of French India were getting ready for it as they were eager to get rid of foreign rule. In Karaikal the Liberation Committee of French India and the Karaikal Congress became active. In Mahe C. E. Bharatan, Secretary of the Mahe Mahajana Sabha, demanded plebiscite and not referendum.27 It also demanded the dissolution of the existing council and the formation of a new one on the basis of nomination with equal representation for the nationalists. Not only did he demand the revision of the voters’ lists, he also pleaded for holding the plebiscite under the auspices of the French and Indian governments.28 Baron did not remain idle. To curb the activities of the pro-mergerists he issued an order restricting public meetings in Mahe and prohibiting foreign nationals to address such meetings without the permission of the Mahe Administrator.29 He also passed orders banning “all public meetings, processions, campaign of notices and tracts, propaganda by vehicle, cycle or loud-speaker” in Pondicherry with effect from 22 July 1948.30 The promulgation of these orders were contrary to the spirit of the declaration of 8 June; they amounted to interference in the normal election activities and hindered the holding of “free and fair” elections. A little later similar orders were also passed by the Administrator of Karaikal.31 The executive committee of the Karaikal Congress decided to defy the restrictions imposed on processions and public meetings. The Pondicherry authorities were thus largely responsible for creating a situation prejudicial to the pre-poll climate and inflaming the passion of the people. In the meanwhile, the English and the Tamil press started deprecating the June declaration as empty and unilateral –a manoeuvre of the French Government “to perpetuate their domination in India”. It also charged the Pondicherry Government for having financed the pro-French parties and systematically replacing the officials having sympathy for the nationalists.32 Baron had pleaded with the Overseas Ministry for a special fund of one million francs which he proposed to spend for eliciting information about “our adversaries”.33

18 The Hindu wrote

  • 34 The Hindu, 29 Sept. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

Pressure is being exercised on Government officials not to associate themselves with the merger movement and cases where they were victimized if they do so have also come to light.34

  • 35 Note préparée par le Ministre de Affaires Etrangères, 10 août 1948. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. (...)

19These activities, overt and covert, were carried on in violation of the spirit of the June declaration. Apart from these, Baron, during his stay in Paris in August, met Tézenas and Brunikel, Assistant Director of Political Affairs, Ministry for Overseas Empire, and discussed diverse questions relating to French India. Baron told them his apprehension of the outbreak of troubles at the time of election and he solicited the presence of a French war-ship at Pondicherry between 8 and 15 September (long before the date for elections was announced) which, he believed, would go “to strengthen our position among the people of the settlements”.35

  • 36 Jeunesse, 1 Sept 1948, Vol. I No. 9.
  • 37 Madras Mail, 6 Oct. 1948, Aff. Politiques, C 428, D3 (A. O. M.).
  • 38 The Indian Express, 17 August 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D3 (A. O. M.).
  • 39 The Hindu, 27 Sept. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).
  • 40 The Hindu, 28 Sept. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

20However, after keeping the people guessing for a long time the Pondicherry authorities announced on 18 September that the municipal elections in the four south Indian settlements would take place on 10 October. The Government of India was not consulted for fixing the date nor was it informed about it. People were avidly waiting for the announcement of the date. As days passed by the tempo was mounting and propaganda fever increasing. The nationalist elements of Pondicherry, Karaikal and Mahe had to fight against forces hostile to their policy and programme. The communists and the French India socialists, though at loggerheads, were trying to manipulate the elections in order to maintain the existing condition. They resorted to violence and intimidation and all sorts of unethical means and methods were adopted to coerce and cripple the pro-mergerists. Hired goondas roamed unhindered in the streets of Pondicherry to brow-beat the people. Meetings were broken. Administrative machinery was used to harass those who opposed the socialists and political vendetta assumed its worse form when the communists fatally wounded Nandagopal, one of the arch enemies and Vice-President of the Workers’ Federation of Pondicherry.36 Already Baron had passed orders imposing prohibitions on public meetings and banning processions. He did not stop at that. The Pondicherry Government launched a prosecution against S. Srikanta Ramanujan, President of the Action Committee of Karaikal National Congress under an obsolete Press Liberty Act of 1881 on the alleged ground that Srikanta had written a scurrilous article attacking the Karaikal police in the Dinasari of Madras for its atrocious behaviour during the disturbance at a meeting addressed by Subbarayan, Kamaraj and others.37 Similarly the Mahe Magistrate, Aroul, prosecuted and fined I. K. Kumaran for organizing a public meeting on 9 August in which Indian Union leaders participated.38 In Pondicherry more than 100 students who had demonstrated against Lévi on 25 September took out a procession shouting slogans for merger with Indian Union in defiance of the prohibitory orders of Baron.39 Merchants protested by closing their shops. Next day, Paramel, President of Students’ Congress and Munussamy, editor of Jeunesse, were prosecuted and removed to the Central Jail of Pondicherry. Others were removed from the military barracks and released at Payalam, Kannikoil and Ariancoupam –5 to 10 miles away from Pondicherry.40 As a mark of protest against the action of the Pondicherry Government, the school and college students observed a hartal on 27 September; the Collège Colonial observed it partially. Situation in Mahe was no better.

  • 41 The Hindu, and The Indian Express, 31 August 1948. Aff Politiques, C 436. (A. O. M.).
  • 42 Le Monde, 2 oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

21There was thus widespread dissatisfaction in Pondicherry, Karaikal and Mahe about the manner and the circumstances in which the elections were going to take place on 10 October and demand for cancellation or postponement of the elections were gathering momentum. There was a lurking fear that the elections would be accompanied by violence. The Government of India, in its Aide-mémoire of 1 July 1948, had suggested the presence of some observers of the two governments at the time of referendum, but their presence had not been particularly demanded during the municipal elections. Nehru had also said in Parliament (30 August) that there would be no observers on behalf of the Government of India in the municipal elections in the French Indian settlements. But he told the French Ambassador that referendum should be conducted under the supervision of the observers of both the governments and that observers should be entitled to employ as many persons and station them in as many places as they might consider necessary. The French Government replied that the question of control of the referendum was under examination and would be the subject of further communication.41 But there was an increasing demand for it among the pro-mergerists in the background of the pre-poll violence happening in the French enclaves and Jugol Kishore, the Congress General Secretary, said at a press conference that the Congress would request the French Government to accept the proposal for the presence of some observers at the time of municipal election”.42

  • 43 Subbiah au Ministre de la France d’outre-mer, 24 sept. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C436 (A. O. M.).

22But the most surprising phenomenon was Subbiah’s endeavours for the postponement of the elections although for altogether different reasons. In his letter to the Minister for Overseas Empire Subbiah reaffirmed his support for the French Union and pledged to work for the retention of the French Indian enclaves within the French Union. But the French India Communist Party, he wrote, had to work under many constraints. First, Goubert was bent on destroying the Party and secondly, an effective campaign in favour of French Union could not be conducted under prohibitions imposed on public meetings. Moreover, in his opinion, Goubert-Muthupillai combine, representing conflicting interests, was incapable of delivering the goods and the French India Communist Party alone could do the job. This would need sustained campaign and he, therefore, appealed to the Minister for Overseas Empire to postpone the elections till November 1948.43

  • 44 The Hindu, 27 Sept. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

23 However, Ambassador Lévi visited Pondicherry and Karaikal at a time when the situation was very tense. At a press conference in Pondicherry he said, in reply to a query about the unsatisfactory arrangements of the forthcoming elections, that he was unaware of such complaints. When asked whether the French Government would agree to having Indian observers during the municipal elections as well as during the referendum, Lévi observed that no definite agreement had yet been made regarding the observers during the municipal elections and the referendum, and he rather vauntingly remarked "whether observers come from the Indian Union or the sun or the moon, we should set an example to the whole world by conducting elections and the referendum with absolute fairness and in the best democratic manner”. In reply to another question as to why the French did not withdraw from India as the British had done and cede the French pockets to the Indian Union as the loges had been ceded, the Ambassador jokingly said because no "Quit India” slogan had come from French India and the people wanted the French to stay.44

  • 45 Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).
  • 46 Aide-memoire, 29 sept. 1948. Aff. Politiques C 436 (A. O. M.).
  • 47 Ibid.
  • 48 The Hindu, 27 Sept. 1948. Aff. Politiques C 436 (A. O. M.).

24The Ministry of External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations recounted all the disquieting developments in its Aide-mémoire of 29 September 194845 and urged the French Ambassador to remove the impediments standing in the way of holding free and fair elections. It pointed out numerous reports of interference and intimidation exercised by certain elements in French India in the election activities of the French India Congress Party as well as the Merger Committees and pleaded for its postponement. It brought to the attention of the French Ambassador an incident in Karaikal where a meeting organized by the Karaikal Congress Committee with the permission of the local authorities had been broken up and the Indian flag was torn and trampled upon. The Ministry of External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations had earlier intimated to the French Ambassador about its objection to décret no. 46-432 of 13 March 1946. It was given to understand that the décret had been repealed. But that it was far from truth was evident from the arrest of over 100 students on 25 September referred to earlier. The Aide-mémoire said that uninterrupted election campaign could not be carried on under the shadow of prohibitory orders. It also drew attention of the French Ambassador to certain anomalies in the laws regulating the conduct of elections to Municipal Assemblies in the French enclaves.46 As per French Indian election rules neither a candidate nor his agents could remain within the booths at the time of voting. The local Mayor had wide power of deleting names of voters from electoral rolls. The ballot papers were destroyed immediately after the election. The Aide-mémoire urged the French Ambassador to allow the candidates or their duly nominated agents to remain within the polling booths during the voting period to scrutinize the ballot papers in the presence of the candidates or their agents. It particularly took objection to the regrouping of wards in Karaikal and elsewhere for the forthcoming elections. Hitherto the practice had been for each municipal ward to return a member. But in the new system the wards were grouped into two sectors of nine each. And voter would have to vote from a list of nine candidates. Moreover, this grouping of wards was done in an arbitrary manner so as to help the anti-merger parties.47 In Karaikal under the proposed scheme of grouping, 99 % of the Muslims were placed in a sector which was to elect 8 members. Considering the anti-Indian Union propaganda done among them, it was apparently the hope of the authorities that their support would help win all the 8 seats. Actually these constituted serious breaches of the undertaking that there would be no interference and internal pressure. The Ministry of External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations expressed apprehension as these changes were “calculated to give advantage to one party or parties at the expense of others”. This, as well as other matters, it believed, considerably eroded public confidence in the freeness and fairness of the coming elections. The reaction of public opinion to the grouping of wards in Karaikal and elsewhere found reflection in a letter written by one C. S. Natarajan Ayer of Cuddalore in The Hindu.48 The letter revealed the sinister motive working behind the move. Ayer wrote

there is a genuine apprehension in the minds of all responsible minded people of French India that the Governor and his adherents are manoeuvring for a position of advantage for the non-mergers. I am reliably informed that the Governor with the support of anti-mergerists had decided to group several multiple constituencies into one and make each group large and unwieldy. This will really thwart propaganda among the electorates. Even in the matter of assigning the number of seats for each group there is a discrimination against those who work for merger. The Governor of French India ought not to be allowed to take sides and use one political party against the other and to play off the Communists and the Socialists against the Congress party.

  • 49 The Hindusthan Times, 1 Oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).
  • 50 Subbiah au Commissaire de la République, 24 sept. 1948. Aff Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).
  • 51 Aide-memoire, 29 sept. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).
  • 52 Raul Bertrand, Chargé d’Affaires aux Indes à Robert Schuman, 1 oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A (...)
  • 53 The Statesman, 1 Oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

25The writer of the letter urged the Indian Government and its leadership to be vigilant and to take measures for maintaining fairness and impartiality in the holding of the referendum, otherwise “the voice of the people who wish for a merger will never be heard”. Similarly, Jeevarathinam of Pondicherry Town Congress criticized the Pondicherry Government for suddenly changing the system of holding election by system of grouping the wards instead of election by ward and insisted on stopping the election until a fresh agreement was signed.49 There was thus a wide-spread apprehension that the elections, if held in the circumstances stated above, would not be free and fair and real public opinion would not reflect. The situation in Pondicherry was alarming, not conducive for holding elections. Rivalry between the groups of Subbiah and Goubert reached an acute stage. Subbiah bitterly complained to the French Governor of the strong-arm policy of the Socialist Party. Goubert’s men unleashed a reign of terror.50 These elections were an organic part of the whole scheme for deciding the future of the French settlements in India. They were not ordinary elections but elections preparatory to referendum. The newly elected municipalities would decide the date and the modalities of the referendum. The ultimate destiny of the French India depended on them. In case of the anti-merger parties gaining a majority, there would be no legal bar to their deciding to postpone the plebiscite for 5 or 10 years. Under the circumstances the Ministry of External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations requested the French Ambassador “to postpone the elections by a few weeks so that all matters at issue may be satisfactorily settled before the holding of elections .51 Not only a congenial atmosphere was necessary for holding a free and fair poll, it was also believed that the presence of the observers during the municipal elections would engender confidence in the minds of the people and help secure a fair verdict. This much-discussed question of observers was verbally raised by Bajpai before the despatch of the Aide-mémoire referred to above. To this Raoul Bertrand, Charge d’Affaires in New Delhi, remarked that neutral observers would be preferable for ensuring “free and fair elections”.52 The question of deputing observers to supervise the municipal elections did not figure in the negotiations preceding the Indo-French agreement and Bertrand’s reply was an echo of what Lévi had said earlier and repeated by him at Madras on 28 September (1948) where he said “We are now considering whether there would be Indian, French or neutral observers”.53

  • 54 Tel. a Paris, 6 oct. 1948. Aff Politiques, C 436, (A. O. M.).

26In the face of a strong demand from the Government of India on the one hand and the French India Congress Party and the Liberation Committees on the other for the postponement of the elections, the Pondicherry Government had to succumb to it. The postponement of the elections sine die was announced on 1 October 1948 on the extraordinary ground that there was an anti-French “press campaign” (which aimed at making people believe that the elections were not sincere expression of the will of the people) and “external pressure” of all kinds brought by the Indian Government on French India, particularly at Mahe which had vitiated the calm atmosphere necessary for elections. The telegram which Saravane and some ministers of Pondicherry Administration had sent to Paris simply stated that the municipal elections had been postponed in order to avoid local troubles and grave difficulties prejudicial to French interests and maintenance of good relations with India.54 The French India Government also announced that

  • 55 The Madras Mail, 3 Oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques C 428, D3, (A. O. M.).

the Municipal elections shall take place when the external pressures shall cease and the necessary atmosphere of complete security and total liberty of conscience come back.55

  • 56 The Indian Express, 6 July 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D3 Madras Mail, 2 May 1948. Aff. Politique (...)

27It was expected that the French India authorities would settle with the Government of India the controversial issues which were standing in the way of holding free and fair elections. But suddenly on 8 October, to the surprise of all, the Pondicherry Government announced that the postponed elections would be held on 24 October. The decision to hold the elections was not unanimous and this gave rise to serious crisis in the Pondicherry Council of Administration whose consequences were far-reaching. The Council of Ministers (as it was popularly called) was not pulling together for quite some time and there were signs of dissatisfaction with the functioning of the government. Voices of dissent and disenchantment were heard. As early as May (1948), the Representative Assembly had passed a motion of Lambert Saravane to the effect that the Police and the Judicial Departments should be entrusted to ministers and another motion of Goubert, Minister-in-charge of General Administration, urged that the Departmental Chiefs should submit all the papers of the department to the minister concerned and not on behalf of the ministers. Goubert pointed out that though he was minister for 6 months, no paper had been sent to him, and they were all disposed of by Thomas, General Secretary, without his knowledge.56 Actually French Indian Administration continued to function in a centralized manner and while the ministers were being deprived of real power, the General Secretary was usurping to himself more power. Counouma, member in charge of the Finance Department, complained that the French India Government had very often taken serious decisions involving public funds on its own initiative and without condescending to consult the government advisers. Gnana Vennimeni, President of the Standing Finance Committee, lamented that the government had not shown respect to the Assembly’s decision as regards expenses and accused it of wasting, in an unheard of manner, public funds.

  • 57 The Hindu, 11 Oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

28The decision to hold the elections on 24 October was taken at a meeting of the Council of Administration held on 7 October in undue haste. It was not an unanimous decision. The Council of Administration was equally divided on the matter of fixing the date. Three of the six members –André, Counouma and Lakshmaswami Reddiar– were opposed to holding the elections under the present circumstances and without arriving at an understanding with the Government of India.57 The other group consisting of Goubert, Deivasigamini Gramani and Sivasoubramania Pillai of Karaikal insisted on holding the elections during the last week of the month, that is, on 24 October. Baron exercised his casting vote in favour of Goubert’s group. He took recourse to an unprecedented step and Lambert Saravane accused him of having violated “all democratic norms”. Baron’s decision was also premature as discussions between Delhi and Paris had not yet been concluded. In addition to playing politics and helping the anti-merger group, Baron precipitated the process of breaking the homogeneity of the Council of Administration. Counouma’s group reiterated their unflinching stand for complete freedom from French domination over French Indian administration when French India alone could freely decide its future political status.

  • 58 Pondichéry a outre-mer, 7 oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques C 436 (A. O. M.).
  • 59 The Indian Express, 7 Oct. 1948.

29While communicating its decision to the Overseas Minister (7 October) Baron informed that the decision to hold elections on 24 October had been taken with the full consent of the French Ambassador in Delhi and in accordance with the wishes of the majority of the francophiles.58 Postponement of the date of elections for a further period, he observed, would upset the pro-French elements and give scope for a dangerous anti-French propaganda. He also expressed the view that adjournment for a longer period would provide the Madras Congress with great opportunity for exercising pressure on the internal condition of French India. Baron did not hide his ire for Lambert Saravane for the role played by him in the postponement of the elections. Saravane demanded that France should give up their sovereignty on the settlements in India completely. He opined that the ensuing municipal elections in the French Indian pockets were very important as they were going to be the starting point of a process for determining the wishes of the people as regards the future status of the territories.59

  • 60 Ambassade de France (New Delhi) à Paris, 14 oct. 1948 Aff Politiques C 436 (A. O. M.).
  • 61 The Indian Express, 24 Oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).
  • 62 I. K. Kumaran au Gouverneur, 5 oct. 1948. Aff. Politique (A. O. M.).

30The Government of India was taken by surprise on the Pondicherry Government’s announcement to hold the municipal elections on 24 October in the south Indian settlements. The elections were postponed on account of unsatisfactory condition prevailing there. There was no visible proof to suggest that the situation had improved in a week and that the elections could be held freely and fairly. The situation in Pondicherry was sensitive. From Karaikal Venkatassalabady, President of the Karaikal Congress, informed the Overseas Minister of the impossibility of working freely for election in an atmosphere of fear.60 The confiscation of the right of holding meetings and organizing processions as well as the manipulation of constituencies had already caused resentment there. Nagarajan of Karaikal Congress requested Rajkumar to come over there as the situation had progressively deteriorated.61 Situation in Mahe had reached an explosive stage. The Mahajana Party of Mahe had adopted resolutions (2 October) demanding the restoration of civil liberties of the people which had been suppressed, the grant of amnesty to all accused of political offences and the re-employment of those who had been suspended from office for harbouring pro-merger sentiments.62

  • 63 The Hindu, 15 Oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques C 436 (A. O. M.).
  • 64 Ministre des Affaires Etrangères à l’Ambassade de France (New Delhi), 16 oct. 1948. As 44-55. Inde (...)

31Meanwhile the French Government sent Laugenie to Pondicherry as special political envoy to study local situation on the eve of the municipal elections and report to the French Government about the election proceedings. Laugenie arrived in Pondicherry in the early part of October.63 Around the same time Nehru visited Paris and requested the French Foreign Minister to delay the municipal elections for the restoration of normal condition. The French Foreign Minister declined observing that to do so at that stage would be to prolong the climate of agitation in French India.64

  • 65 Indian News Chronicle, 9 Oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).
  • 66 19 oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).
  • 67 Entretien avec Pillai, Chargé d’Affaires de l’Inde (Paris) 20 oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. (...)
  • 68 Indian Chargé d’Affaires (Paris) to French Foreign Minister 22 oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A (...)

32As yet the French Government had not taken any decision on the Government of India’s proposal for holding the municipal elections under the supervision of Indian and French observers. But the Indian press urged the Indian Government to push the issue.65 Nehru, during his talk with the French Foreign Minister, had specifically proposed the appointment of observers for the municipal elections as well as for the referendum and the Indian Embassy at Paris put forward to Quai d’Orsay Nehru’s proposal in an Aide-mémoire.66 But Baeyens, Director of Asian Affairs in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, personally informed the Chargé d’Affaires of India that the request for the appointment of observers to the municipal elections of 24 October could not be conceded because it was made at a very late stage.67 Further the appointment of observers to municipal elections would be, according to him, unconstitutional and French Parliament and French public opinion might react against it. In reply the Chargé d’Affaires wrote back to Quai d’Orsay pointing out that the request for the appointment of observers was made by the Prime Minister of India on 16 October immediately after the French Minister for Foreign Affairs told him that the elections could not be put off beyond 24 October. The Indian Government had all along expected, he observed, that the elections could take place in normal condition and that there would be a sufficient interval of time between the date of announcement of the elections and the date of holding the elections themselves.68 The French Indian Government announced on 18 September that the elections would be held on 24 October. There was not even one month’s time. This was challenged by some political parties on the ground that the notice did not conform to law. As soon as the Government of India came to know about the extremely short interval, and since there was a general feeling in India that these elections could not be held in a free atmosphere, it demanded the postponement of the elections. The postponement accorded was only for a fortnight and since this was not considered long enough for the re-establishment of normal condition and since the Government of France expressed its inability to postpone the elections any further, the Government of India put forward the proposal for the appointment of observers, the Chargé d’Affaires remarked. “This was the earliest possible date on which such a request could have been put forward”, he added. He further said

  • 69 Indian Chargé d’Affaires (Paris) to French Foreign Minister, 22 oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 ( (...)

Such refusal will seriously jeopardize confidence in the outcome of the elections, and consequently the outcome of the referendum itself, and this defeats the purpose of the accord between the two governments.69

  • 70 Pondichéry a outre-mer (tél.), 16 oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).
  • 71 The Indian Express, 17 Oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D3

33Prior to the holding of the municipal elections, events began to move too fast in Pondicherry. Saravane, who was spearheading the Counouma group, was getting disenchanted with the performance of the Council of Administration and his difference with Baron began to widen more and more. He described the arrangement made by the Pondicherry administration for the forthcoming elections as highly “biased” and intended to lend support to those who were working for the continuance of French rule. His visit to Madras to convince the congress leaders about the correctness of his position did not succeed. He also tried to encourage defection in the ranks of Goubert’s Socialist Party.70 Meanwhile Baron had floated a new anti-merger party known as Progressive Democratic Party and tried to garner support for it. It was essentially a party of pro-French elements consisting of businessmen, retired military personnel and Government officials. The French India Communist Party was in a disarray. But the Communist Party of India called upon the people of French India to vote for joining Indian Union in the ensuing elections and to oppose any move to the retention of “French Imperialism” in Indian soil. In a statement the Party, in order to justify the stand wrongly taken by the French India Communist Party, said that the leaders of the French India Communist Party, embittered by the betrayal of the Indian leaders and the repression in the Indian Union, had persuaded themselves into the belief that the French Union was much progressive and thereby fallen into a reactionary trap.71 In Pondicherry and in the adjoining communes Subbiah’s followers became the target of assault by the musclemen of Goubert in collaboration with Bouhard, the Police Commissioner. In Mahe, their position was much more precarious and they were hounded like anything by the nationalist forces.

  • 72 The Hindu, 23 Oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C436. Pondichéry à outre-mer (tel.) 21 oct. 1948. Aff. Po (...)
  • 73 Saravane au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères (tél.), 23 oct 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.)

34Meanwhile, the election fever, accompanied by violence, threat and intimidation, had reached its peak. A feeling of subdued fear had overtaken the people of Pondicherry. In Karaikal too the pro-merger elements had been facing increasing pressure from the hoodlums of Goubert backed by the administration. It was at that juncture the three ministers of Counouma group, who had developed serious differences with Baron on the fixation of the date of election, resigned on 21 October because they considered “team work has become impossible” and the Governor’s voice was becoming “decisive” in every case.72 Saravane informed the French Minister of Foreign Affairs stating that “narrow partisan attitude of the Governor has forced the three councillors to resign” and requested him to take all necessary measures for engendering confidence and pacifying the situation.73

  • 74 Baron had already hinted about it during his visit to Paris in last August. Paris a l’Ambassade de (...)

35The resignation of the Counouma group from the Council of Administration dealt a terrible blow to the administrative experiments the French Government had been making in French India since a year ago to placate the people. It embarrassed Baron and considerably undermined the credibility of the French in India. The dissociation of the Counouma group from the Pondicherry Council of Administration vindicated the fact that any hotchpotch system of government as was set up in French India could not be a better substitute for the democratic aspirations of the people. It also clearly established that that the Ashram group represented by Counouma and others were not Baron’s men. The Ashram group had a clear stand towards the French position in India and they did not hesitate to quit the Council of Administration when they found it impossible to adjust with an administration which was following a policy damaging to the interests of the Government of India. The overall situation was thus far from satisfactory and this was confirmed from Lévi’s suggestion to the French Government to despatch a French cruiser along the Pondicherry coast at the time of the municipal elections. Both Baron and Lévi apprehended that the situation might take a violent turn during the elections and the external elements from Madras might intimidate the voters. Actually unable to ensure a peaceful election Lévi persuaded the Paris authorities to despatch a French man-of-war at Trincomale whose presence in the Pondicherry coast between 23 and 26 October would have the effect of coercing the voters and preserving peace.74 This was an unprecedented step and Lévi had taken recourse to it knowing fully well the reaction of the Government of India and the public as well would have for it. The cruiser Duguay Trouin was on its way to Pondicherry from Trincomale when the captain of the cruiser received instruction to move in the direction of Mahe where the French were in peril. The presence of Duguay Trouin was actually solicited to frighten the people of Pondicherry and Karaikal. It was against the “democratic norms” so pompously announced on 8 June last. It revealed the real character of the Socialist Government in France which had already earned public obloquy for having sent army to Indo-China. The French themselves were thus guilty of having exerted “external pressure” by means of gunboat diplomacy.

Notes

1 Bajpai To Lévi, 29 May 1948. As 44-55, Inde Française, Vol. 9 (Qd).

2 Ibid.

3 Levi à Bidault, 4 juin 1948. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 9 (Qd). Also Aff. Politiques, C 434, D1 (A. O. M.).

4 Ministre des Affaires Etrangères au Ministre de la France d’outre-mer, 3 juin 1948. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 9 (Qd).

5 Ibid. Inde Française, Vol. 9. Balasubramanian, Président, Assemblée Representative à outre-mer (tel.). 10 juin 1948. Aff. Politiques, Vol. 434, D1 (A. O. M.).

6 Aff. Politiques, C 434, DI (A. O. M.).

7 Ibid.

8 Ibid.

9 Aff. Politiques, C 434, DI (A. O. M.).

10 Ibid.

11 As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 9 (Qd). Aff. Politiques, C 437 (A. O. M.).

12 As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 9 (Qd).

13 Aide-memoire: Ministry of External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations, 1 July 1948. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 9. (Qd).

14 Ministre des Affaires Etrangères au Ministre de la France d’outre-mer, 22 juin 1948. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 9 (Qd).

15 Madras Mail, 5 July 1948. Aff. Politiques C 428, D2 (A. O. M.).

16 Telegram. Deben Das et al a Pondichéry, 13 June 1947. Aff. Politiques C 368, D3 (A. O. M.).

17 The Hindu, 30 July 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D1 (A. O. M.).

18 The Hindu, 19 August 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D1 (A. O. M.).

19 Note préparée par le Ministre des Affaires Etrangères. 10 août 1948. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 9. (Qd).

20 He was Indian according to a judgement of Karaikal tribunal.

21 Manifeste du Parti Communiste de l’Inde Française, 28 juin 1948. Aff. Politiques, C435 (A. O. M.). Madras Mail, 4 July 1948 and The Indian Express, 5 July 1948. Aff. Politiques, C428, D2 (A. O. M.).

22 Baron à outre-mer (tél. Confidentiel), 28 août 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 437 (A. O. M.).

23 Certain communist and NDF leaders were campaigning against the merger on the allegation that “the Indian Government of today is following a repressive policy”. Two emissaries of the NDF had gone to Pondicherry to meet Baron and discuss with him the question of retaining Chandernagore within the French Union.

24 Star of India 9 July 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D3 (A. O. M.). 12 juillet 1948. Aff. Politiques, C428, D3 (A. O. M.).

25 The Hindu, 9 July 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D3 (A. O. M.).

26 The Indian Express, 20 July 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D3 (A. O. M.).

27 Swadeshmitran, 30 July 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D3 (A. O. M.).

28 The Indian Express, 4 July 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D3 (A.0. M.).

29 Madras Mail, 1 Sept. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D3 (A. O. M.).

30 The Hindu, 25 July, 1948. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 9 (Qd).

31 The Hindu, 19 August 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D3 (A. O. M.).

32 Gouverneur de Pondichéry au Ministre d’outre-mer, 2 août 1948. As 44-55. Inde Française Vol. 9 (Qd). Pasha was removed.

33 Baron au Ministre d’Outre-mer, 3 avril 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 437 (A. O. M.).

34 The Hindu, 29 Sept. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

35 Note préparée par le Ministre de Affaires Etrangères, 10 août 1948. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 9 (Qd).

36 Jeunesse, 1 Sept 1948, Vol. I No. 9.

37 Madras Mail, 6 Oct. 1948, Aff. Politiques, C 428, D3 (A. O. M.).

38 The Indian Express, 17 August 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D3 (A. O. M.).

39 The Hindu, 27 Sept. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

40 The Hindu, 28 Sept. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

41 The Hindu, and The Indian Express, 31 August 1948. Aff Politiques, C 436. (A. O. M.).

42 Le Monde, 2 oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

43 Subbiah au Ministre de la France d’outre-mer, 24 sept. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C436 (A. O. M.).

44 The Hindu, 27 Sept. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

45 Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

46 Aide-memoire, 29 sept. 1948. Aff. Politiques C 436 (A. O. M.).

47 Ibid.

48 The Hindu, 27 Sept. 1948. Aff. Politiques C 436 (A. O. M.).

49 The Hindusthan Times, 1 Oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

50 Subbiah au Commissaire de la République, 24 sept. 1948. Aff Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

51 Aide-memoire, 29 sept. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

52 Raul Bertrand, Chargé d’Affaires aux Indes à Robert Schuman, 1 oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

53 The Statesman, 1 Oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

54 Tel. a Paris, 6 oct. 1948. Aff Politiques, C 436, (A. O. M.).

55 The Madras Mail, 3 Oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques C 428, D3, (A. O. M.).

56 The Indian Express, 6 July 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D3 Madras Mail, 2 May 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 434. (A. O. M.).

57 The Hindu, 11 Oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

58 Pondichéry a outre-mer, 7 oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques C 436 (A. O. M.).

59 The Indian Express, 7 Oct. 1948.

60 Ambassade de France (New Delhi) à Paris, 14 oct. 1948 Aff Politiques C 436 (A. O. M.).

61 The Indian Express, 24 Oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

62 I. K. Kumaran au Gouverneur, 5 oct. 1948. Aff. Politique (A. O. M.).

63 The Hindu, 15 Oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques C 436 (A. O. M.).

64 Ministre des Affaires Etrangères à l’Ambassade de France (New Delhi), 16 oct. 1948. As 44-55. Inde Française. Vol. 9 (Qd).

65 Indian News Chronicle, 9 Oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

66 19 oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

67 Entretien avec Pillai, Chargé d’Affaires de l’Inde (Paris) 20 oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

68 Indian Chargé d’Affaires (Paris) to French Foreign Minister 22 oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

69 Indian Chargé d’Affaires (Paris) to French Foreign Minister, 22 oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

70 Pondichéry a outre-mer (tél.), 16 oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

71 The Indian Express, 17 Oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 428, D3

72 The Hindu, 23 Oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C436. Pondichéry à outre-mer (tel.) 21 oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436.

73 Saravane au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères (tél.), 23 oct 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

74 Baron had already hinted about it during his visit to Paris in last August. Paris a l’Ambassade de France (New Delhi) tél. (Secret) 16 oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436. Pondichéry a outre-mer, tél 19 oct. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.). Also Ministre d’outre-mer au Secrétaire d’Etat aux Forces Armées, Marine-Cabinet Militaire (Paris). Secret, 21 oct. 1948 Aff. Politiques, C 436 (A. O. M.).

© Institut Français de Pondichéry, 1997

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