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Decolonization of French India

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Ajit K. Neogy

8. Retaliation and Counter-Retaliation Indo-French Relations Plummeted

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  • 1 Note sur la situation de l’Inde Française. Aff. Politiques. C 437 (A. O. M.).

11949 witnessed French Indian problems getting complicated and New Delhi-Paris-Pondicherry relations becoming more unsatisfactory. The termination of the sea-customs agreement from 1 April 1949 and its replacement by land customs sealing the borders of Pondicherry and Karaikal for the ingress and egress of commodities between French and Indian territories, restrictions imposed by the Government of India on the movements of French Indian people by way of the introduction of passport system, French India Government’s declaration of Rashid Ali Baig as persona non grata, Chandernagore’s accession into Indian Union by referendum and growing tension and violence stemming from the strong-arm policy of the Socialist Party created a situation not at all conducive for holding referendum in the four southern settlements. Before going to discuss the situation stated above, it is appropriate to take stock of the circumstances which doomed the administrative career of Baron.1

2Baron was, no doubt, an intelligent administrator and he was well acquainted with the political trend of the subcontinent. But he became the most misunderstood man in the French official hierarchy. He had some personal failings as every bureaucrat is bound to have, but unfortunately the failings were magnified and his feathers were ignored. A note prepared by the Ministry brought many charges against him. Baron was nominated acting interim Governor of French India in April 1946 by Jacques Soustelle, then the French Overseas Minister. He was, in fact, one of the few French officials who rallied round the cause of Free France. He came to India from Paris after having a stint in the entourage of de Gaulle at London. To Bonvin, his predecessor, belonged the credit of enlisting for French India the friendship and confidence of the local people in those days of chaos and confusion. It was expected, the note pointed out, that Baron would follow in the footsteps of Bonvin and devote himself to the task of promoting French interests and tactfully adjust the new-born political aspirations of the people of French India within the existing structure of the French empire. The political aspirations of the people remained unfulfilled. They were deeply influenced by the political situation of the sub-continent. A new sense of nationalism was emerging. The Paris authorities were unaware of the changes happening so swiftly in French India in the post-Bonvin years. To cope with it as well as to allay the agitating mood of the people Baron, in his first press conference, spoke of referendum through which, he said, the French Indian people would decide whether they would remain within French Union or join Indian Union. This was not taken kindly by the French authorities and he was warned not to make any statement which might create controversy and embarrass the French policy-making authorities. Marius Moutet sent specific instructions to Baron asking him to refrain from his campaign for referendum. Some accused him of behaving like an Ambassador. Since then a circle in rue Oudinot was working against him. He was aware that a conspiracy was being hatched against him in rue Oudinot and this is evident from his letter to Gustave Moutet on 21 June 1947.

  • 2 Ibid.

3The note,2 referred to above, accused Baron of having lent support to the extremist elements in Pondicherry headed by Subbiah. Baron also played an important role in the election of Subbiah to the Council of Republic. Subbiah and his followers had committed a series of misdeeds such as maiming, pillaging etc. in Pondicherry and its environs. Local educated people, feeling unsafe of lives and property, represented against Subbiah to France, but nothing happened. Baron finally atoned for his mistake by creating the Socialist Party under the leadership of Goubert. This Party was created ostensibly to counteract Subbiah and Marius Moutet patted him for this. Not only Baron’s relations with Subbiah became bitter, Baron’s policy succeeded in alienating all sections of the population. The Muslims, who formed a substantial portion of the population, never forgave him for they held him responsible for having shut the door of the Council of Government to them. The Indian Catholics boycotted him. The Indians were unhappy to see all the posts reserved for his friends. Civil servants and French settlers expressed their anxiety about the efficacy of a policy which might prove disastrous for the French in India. In economic field Pondicherry was passing through a crisis. Baron’s policy was held responsible for the industrial recession of Pondicherry. The workers of the local textile mills, encouraged by their leader whom Baron had groomed, recklessly indulged in a series of sabotage in the mills. The managers of the mills were in a state of perpetual fear and their life was endangered. The net result was that Ehny, owner of a spinning mill, had to sell his factory to an Indian. Colombani had to sell his oil-mill. Madame Gæbelé too had started talks to sell her Anglo-French Textile Mill. The Manager of the Savana Mill was having difficulties with Baron and he had approached rue Oudinot for the settlement of the issue.

4From the point of view of budget and public finance, according to the note, Baron had inaugurated a policy of waste and gradually disturbed the equilibrium of the French India budget by unnecessarily increasing the number of civil servants such as the creation of a post of General Secretary which was abolished 20 years ago and the appointment of a Private Secretary over the head of the chief of the cabinet etc. He had also neglected the wharf and it was actually in a lamentable condition. This had rendered impossible the French Indian maritime trade. Merchants ships were no longer visiting the Pondicherry port. Baron was also held responsible for the misery of the peasants who constituted the majority of the population in French India by substantially curtailing the irrigation. The government-controlled distilleries had always been an important source of income, but lack of direction and proper management had considerably diminished the income. It had no money to spend for urgently needed public works. When such was the financial condition, Baron did not hesitate to buy two luxury cars at high prices in black market.

  • 3 Note très confidentielle, 8 avril 1948. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 8 (Qd).

5The same note blamed Baron for having neglected education in Pondicherry. He did nothing to uphold the moral influence of France and her great culture which he held so deeply in his heart. The Governor was eager to transform Pondicherry into a cultural centre, but he failed to effect improvement on the remarkable works done by his predecessors in this respect. Rather he alienated the sympathy of the enthusiastic students by introducing politics in class-rooms and indiscipline and disorder in the Collège Colonial and Calve College. It was during his administration that the Collège Colonial was occupied by the students who inscribed on the benches slogans like “Quit India”. It was again during his tenure that the missionaries, who had been doing yeomen services in the dissemination of French culture and education, suffered discrimination. The sisters of St. Joseph de Cluny had been, over the decades, rendering dedicated services in running schools, orphanages, leper-houses and doing hospital services. They suddenly found themselves deprived of the financial assistance they had been getting from the French Indian Government. Government apathy had reached such a stage that they were thinking in terms of quitting French territory and starting their works elsewhere beyond the frontier. The note concluded by observing that Baron had succeeded in alienating himself and forfeited the sympathy of many by his faulty administrative policy. Moreover, addicted to morphine he was inconsistent and he lacked force of character. Neither Tézenas nor Lévi were in favour of retaining Baron any more in his present position as the head of French Indian administration. Godard, President of the French Chamber of Commerce in Pondicherry, also remarked that Baron’s retention as Commissaire de la République of the French establishments in India had done incalculable harm to the French interests in India. His policy had resulted in the forfeiture of people’s sympathy for the French and he too demanded the removal of Baron from his present position.3

6Baron’s enemies –both in Paris and Pondicherry– amplified some of the charges against him. The note, which was taken seriously by the French authorities and which seemed to be his death-warrant, should be judged by adding a grain of salt. French India needed an urgent solution. But it took another six years to reach a solution. Baron did not stand in the way of the solution; still he had to go. The French Government was tired of his overzealousness. They wanted to replace him by a man who would be more pliable and less emotional and independent. They failed to select a successor capable of breaking the impasse. Charges against him were many. No doubt Baron had many limitations, but he was not responsible for the total rot. He inherited some problems which were the direct offshoot of World War II situation and the most important being the rising tide of nationalism. The nationalist forces were everywhere fighting tooth and nail against the colonial masters. The attainment of independence by India propelled the political ambition of the French Indian people and they too wanted to throw off the yoke of French domination when the neighbouring sub-continent had thrown off another imperialism. Baron had to face the situation. When there was a general demand for the liquidation of the French colonial possessions in India, he tried to stall it by introducing administrative reforms. But he forgot that bits of administrative reforms were no substitute for freedom from colonial thraldom. Naturally they failed to satisfy the political aspirations of the French Indian people and nothing short of merger with Indian Union was their desired goal. Neither Quai d’Orsay nor rue Oudinot could appreciate this. They were ignorant of the phenomenal changes taking place within the French Indian settlements. Not only that. They held divergent views on important issues and took long time to reach a decision. Baron could not satisfy either of them. Moreover, Baron was more imaginative and less practical. He was off-hand in manners. He had good rapport with Indian leaders. His attachment to Indian theosophy and his intimacy with the Ashram might have cost his Pondicherry throne. Baron’s departure did not simplify the French Indian problem. The two ministries in France and more particularly the Overseas Ministry bungled the situation, and made it more complicated in the years to come.

* * *

7Misunderstanding between the two governments was taking a serious turn over another issue and it arose out of the termination of the Customs Union Agreement –a wartime Franco-Indian Convention concluded on 28 January 1941. It was the work of French Governor Bonvin and Schomberg, British Consul General in Pondicherry. The convention established a Customs Union between French Indian territories of Pondicherry and Karaikal on the one hand and British India on the other for 10 years. Under this agreement, the French India Government had to surrender the customs jurisdiction over the French Indian territories and ports to the British Indian Government. The net result was the extension of British Indian tariff to the French Indian territories. As per Article 23 of the convention the agreement could be terminated on giving of a year s notice by either party to the other party not later than the thirty first day of March in the year preceding that in which the agreement was to be terminated. The initiative of this convention came from the British after the French Governor had announced his eagerness to rally round the National Committee of London in September 1940. As a result of French India’s adhesion to the Union, the French Indian settlements lost all economic connections with metropolitan France and French India’s dependence on India increased. But nevertheless, this brought about much economic and commercial development in Pondicherry and Karaikal. It also stopped all types of fraudulent and contraband trade and plugged the easy way of accumulating fortunes. French ports ceased to be a paradise of smugglers.

  • 4 Government of India’s Aide-mémoire to Alexandre Parodi, 21 April 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O (...)
  • 5 Note sur situation dans l’Inde. 10 mai 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).

8The convention was signed to meet the situation created by the war. That situation no longer existed and the convention had largely outlived its utility and lost its relevance. The Government of India felt that the whole position should be re-examined and therefore decided to give a formal notice of termination to the Government of France in order to comply with the terms of the agreement. Accordingly, notice of termination of the convention with effect from 1 April 1949 was presented in early March 1948 by the Indian Consul General at Pondicherry to the French Governor who, however, stated his inability to accept such a notice and urged him to inform directly the Government of France. The Government of India, therefore, gave the notice of termination of the Customs Union Agreement to the French Ambassador in Delhi on 29 March 1948 with a request to inform the French Government about it. But the Government of India did not intend to put the people of French India in difficulty. Before the expiry of the notice, it expressed to the Government of France its willingness to continue the agreement if the latter wished to do so. This suggestion, however, evoked no response from France. But about a fortnight before the date of the expiry of the agreement, the authorities in French India put forward proposals, not for the continuance of the agreement of 1941, but for its considerable modification and at the last stage, the Government of India was constrained to terminate the agreement as per notice.4 New Delhi had no objection if the French Government had accepted the renewal. But the French Government thought that the acceptance of the renewal would imply its inability to feed the people of the settlements and it would have an adverse effect on the referendum.5 The French Government got one full year’s time to review the Customs Union Agreement, but it did not do it. The effects of the annulment of the customs agreement were far-reaching. Apart from causing hardships to the people, it produced irritation between the two governments.

  • 6 The Madras Mail, 28 March 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 450 (A. O. M.).

9At one time the French authorities contemplated to overcome this “economic blockade” (the French authorities used this term to focus the gravity of the situation) caused by the annulment of the customs agreement of 1941 by the Government of India of the settlements by making available to them, with the help of merchant marine, coal and rice from Indo-China and cotton from Pakistan. Later they realized how difficult it was to meet the demand. From I April 1949, with the termination of the customs agreement not only exportation and importation were stopped, there was to be a complete stoppage of the supply of electricity in the mills and factories of Pondicherry as well as closure of the markets of rice, cotton and jute etc. After Baron came C. J. Camouille as Acting Governor of French India. In his speech to the Representative Assembly he said that following the cancellation of the Customs Union Agreement Pondicherry and Karaikal would revert to the position as it was in 1941. They would have complete commercial liberty. This meant that they would become free ports with the revival of customs barrier by the Government of India. He expressed the hope that local business, with the help of French administration, would find commercial activity like a free zone.6 He assured the Assembly by stating that France was prepared to help the French possessions with 3,000 crores of francs under the Lend-Lease Scheme for providing social, medical, educational and other needs. Among new development programmes were included the installation of a Central Electrical Plant of 5 000 kilowatts power imported from France, a radio-transmission station costing Rs. 70,00,000 and the repair and re-equipment of the Pondicherry pier. These assurances were never fulfilled and what actually happened was quite different. The termination of the Customs Union Agreement came as a boon to a certain section of people and traders because it opened the gates for the free flow of foreign goods into Pondicherry. Both Pondicherry and Karaikal became smugglers’ dens and huge quantities of foreign goods such as diamonds, gold, cycles, silk, perfumes, pens, watches etc. were smuggled across the borders to India. A smugglers’ community emerged in Pondicherry and Karaikal. Commercial speculators and moneylenders operated unhindered. They all flourished under the patronage of the Indo-China Bank which gave particularly unrestricted credit against imports for a commission on boom time basis. That it was able to do by inflating its currency issue by eight times. The Government of India laid the land customs barriers on the borders of the settlements (Pondicherry and Karaikal) to foil the flow of smuggled goods into her territory.

  • 7 Note pour Chef du Cabinet par Directeur des Affaires Politiques, 4 fév, 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 43 (...)
  • 8 Pondichéry à outre-mer (tél.). 8 avril 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).
  • 9 Lévi à Directeur des Affaires Politiques (tél.). 11 avril 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).
  • 10 Aide-memoire from the Ministry of External Affaires (Govt, of India) To Robert Schuman, French Fore (...)
  • 11 The Madras Mail, 11 April 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).
  • 12 Swadeshamitran, 19 May 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).

10Delavignette remarked that the Government of India adopted this measure with a view to putting pressure on the people to cast their votes in favour of merging with Indian Union.7 The French Governor lodged a protest to the Indian Consul General at Pondicherry pointing out that the action of New Delhi was contrary to the June Agreement and a gross violation of the Barcelona Agreement (1921).8 Lévi reacted strongly against the measures adopted by New Delhi. Indian action had created a hostile atmosphere. People in the enclaves were suffering. They were denied the supply of vegetables, meat, fish, rice and medicines. He was in favour of taking retaliation. If the Indians could not be expelled from French Indian settlements, he thought it desirable to demand the recall of the Indian Consul General.9 This was followed by the introduction of Identity Cards for regulating the movements of the people. This was necessary, the Government of India’s Aide-mémoire stated, in the interests of India’s internal security and against the undesirable political elements which had found refuge in Pondicherry and Karaikal.10 The permit system was not a violation of the Barcelona Convention and the Government of India was fully within their rights in maintaining a check on the movement of persons from one settlement to another as well as between the enclaves of the settlements. In a press note issued by the Madras Government it was stated that certificates of identity would be issued to bonafide Indian travellers to the settlements of Pondicherry and Karaikal. The press note added that the District Magistrates of South Arcot and Tanjore would issue the certificates to persons residing elsewhere within the province and the states of Mysore, Hyderabad and Cochin-Travancore. A fee of Re. 1 would be charged for each certificate which would be valid for 3 months without payment of fees. The Identity Cards would contain a photograph of the holder and sufficient particulars to identify him would serve all the purposes of a passport for the holder when travelling between India and French establishments of Pondicherry and Karaikal. French Indians would not be permitted to enter India unless they would provide themselves with travel documents validated for entry into India by Indian Consul General of Pondicherry.11 This brought about a radical transformation in the existing relations between French Pondicherry (including Karaikal) on the hand and Indian authorities on the other. Camouille expressed grave concern for this. The measures adopted by the Government of India had paralysed the total life of the people of Pondicherry and Karaikal. A general interdiction was applied on all merchandises, vehicles and passage of troops entering Pondicherry and Karaikal. Train services were suspended. Movements of the people stopped. People realized that Pondicherry along with its communes and Karaikal had become a “foreign territory”. Those who severely felt the pinch of the termination of the customs convention were the weavers and a large number of them left their hearth and home for Indian territories and those staying were reduced to poverty. In Pondicherry and Karaikal restaurants were closed, so were the toddy shops and the local liquor bars. Trade and commerce came to a halt. Everybody had the feeling that life was going to be frightful in Pondicherry and Karaikal if the present state of things continued for 2 or 3 months.12

  • 13 Ministre d’Outre-mer au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, 13 avril 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. (...)
  • 14 Ministre des Affaires Etrangères au Ministre de la France d’outre-mer, 15 avril 1949. Aff. Politiqu (...)

11In view of the above Lévi feared that this would have a dangerous repercussion on Indo-French relations. Indian action, he added, had created a situation which contravened the spirit of the letters exchanged between him and Nehru on 29 June 1948. Neither India nor France had in fact scrupulously followed the spirit of the June Agreement. There are some elements of truth in the French charges. Indian action had two-fold objectives, namely, (i) to terminate the Sea-Customs Agreement and (ii) to coerce the French Indian population into voting for merger with Indian Union in the ensuing referendum. Both the Acting French Governor and the Inspector of Colonies were in favour of taking strong action against New Delhi, such as the adjournment of the referendum until the restoration of normal condition, expulsion of Indian residents from French Union (they had in view the expulsion of Indians from Madagascar) and recourse to international authorities.13 Lévi’s reaction to these suggestions were different. He reported to Quai d’Orsay pointing out that expulsion of Indians from Madagascar would be counterproductive. The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs reviewed the whole situation arising out of the steps taken by India and expressed doubts about the merit of the measures suggested above. In its opinion New Delhi could take a more serious action than France could afford to take. India could stop French aerial and maritime traffic with Jndo-China. Nehru’s known sympathy for the people tor Indo-China fighting for their emancipation” might induce him to raise the Indo-China question before international forum much to the embarrassment of France. Nehru had already demonstrated his solidarity with the people of Indonesia in a conference of the Asian countries held at New Delhi on January 1949. The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not approve Lévi’s suggestion of expelling Indians from the French Union for it did not think it worthwhile to take such a risk on the eve of the departure of Bao-Dai for Saigon. Nor was the French Foreign Ministry willing to refer to international authorities the question of “economic blockade”. In the UN anti-colonial powers were solidly united against the colonial policy of the European powers and France should, therefore, avoid any step whatsoever which might induce India to take the question of the French Indian enclaves before the Assembly of Lake Success. And so far as the International Court of Justice was concerned it knew that no solution would be available from that body before the lapse of several months. Again Quai d’Orsay was not certain as to what extent French charge of New Delhi having broken the Barcelona Convention would be effective. The adjournment of the referendum, as suggested above, would have an extremely unfavourable effect on the people of India and such a step might be interpreted in a manner not at all comfortable to France. Quai d’Orsay, therefore, brushed aside the suggestion for retaliation against New Delhi. Such a policy would rebound on France herself. It was only by means of diplomacy, it believed, that New Delhi might be induced to reverse its attitude towards the French possessions in India.14

  • 15 Government of India’s Aide-mémoire of 21 April 1949 to Alexandre Parodi. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. (...)

12In reply to French Government’s Aide-mémoire of 16 April 1949 accusing India of having instituted an economic blockade of the French settlements with a view to harassing the French Indian people and thereby compelling them to vote for merger, the Government of India repudiated the charges and sent to Alexandre Parodi, General Secretary, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, an Aide-mémoire 15 which explained the circumstances under which the Customs Union Agreement had been cancelled. French intransigence of not accepting Government of India’s offer to continue the agreement (if the French Government had wished it so) had precipitated the crisis, the Aide-mémoire added. Actually neither the Acting Governor (Camouille) nor the Inspector of Colonies were inclined to renew the Customs Union Agreement.

  • 16 Aide-mémoire du Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, 14 mai 1949. Aff. Politiques. C 439 (A. O. M.).
  • 17 P. P. Pillai to Robert Schuman, 24 mai 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).
  • 18 Copy of a Note. From the French Embassy in New Delhi to the Ministry of External Affairs (New Delhi (...)
  • 19 Note. 2 June 1949. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 10 (Qd). P. A. Menon, Joint Secretary, Ministry o (...)

13The French Government, in its Aide-mémoire of 14 May 1949, pointed out how the economic life of the people of Pondicherry and Karaikal as well as the life of the adjoining communes had been paralysed consequent on the measures taken by the Government of India and undermined the good neighbourly relations so far existing between the French Indian authorities and the Indian Union.16 To this Nehru sent a personal letter to Schuman on 24 May (1949) assuring him to resolve "the difficulties and misunderstanding as may have arisen between our two governments”17 in the traditional spirit of friendship and understanding that had been existing between the two countries and the Indian Chargé d’Affaires handed over to him an Aide-mémoire containing the views of New Delhi on the situation prevailing in the French enclaves. The Aide-mémoire emphatically denied any intention on the part of the Government of India “to resort to any measures which would result in exercising pressure either on the Government of France or the people of the French establishments in India”.18 The administrative measures taken, the Aide-mémoire added, were the inevitable consequences of the termination of the Customs Union Agreement on 1 April 1949 which, since 1941, had linked the French establishments to India. Export and import regulations of the Government of India, which were of general application, came into operation and any inconvenience caused to the inhabitants of the French settlements by their normal applications was unavoidable. The Government of India assured that instructions had been issued to the local authorities not to cause any avoidable hardship to the people of the settlements.19 Further, in order to avoid serious inconvenience or distress to the French settlements the Government of India had renewed their offer to continue the customs agreement. But it was rejected by the French Government. If it had been accepted, the consequences which had arisen from the termination of the agreement would have automatically been eliminated. The inconvenience caused to the French establishments by the termination of the Customs Union Agreement was apparently not visualized by the French authorities when they rejected the offer of the Government of India.

  • 20 Levi au Directeur des Affaires Politiques (tél.). 11 avril 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).

14Lévi’s telegram to the Director of Political Affairs confirmed the helpless condition of the communes of Pondicherry. He particularly referred to the pitiable condition of the weavers. Supply of vaccines and medicines, he added, were interrupted on account of the strict enforcement of the ‘blockade’ under the instructions of the Rashid Ali Baig. Merchants were dissatisfied because of the systematic refusal of giving necessary licences by the Consul General. He also stated that because of India’s action the chances of a favourable referendum for France were diminishing. The people truly realized that their survival depended on India. A hostile India might strangulate French India economically. If the people were exasperated with the Indian Government, they were equally disgusted with the French administration in India which was bereft of efficiency. In Pondicherry, three Governors were appointed in six months of whom two were temporary. Chandernagore had three Administrators in course of a year and so was with Karaikal.20 Holders of important posts on ad hoc basis could hardly activate an administration challenged by the nationalists.

  • 21 Raoul Bertrand a Quai d’Orsay (tél.). 23 mai 1949. Aff Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).
  • 22 Lévi a Paris (tél.), Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).
  • 23 Schuman a l’Ambassade de France (tél.), 21 mai 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).

15Both the Pondicherry Government and the French Embassy at New Delhi were getting perturbed on the developments within the French enclaves. Each day the situation of Pondicherry and Karaikal including the adjoining communes was degenerating and the normal life of the people was passing through uncertainties without any sign of abatement. Rather the permit system was tightened. Movement of transport was interrupted and supply of daily necessities in Pondicherry and Karaikal and more particularly of the adjoining communes was cut off. The French Indian authorities held Rashid Ali Baig responsible for this state of things. To them he was the veritable organizer of the “economic blockade” of the settlements and he was very much maligned. He had already become a controversial person in the eyes of the French Indian authorities. This time he became a persona non grata. Raoul Bertrand, Adviser to the French Embassy at New Delhi, urged the French Foreign Ministry to demand his recall.21 The Inspector of Colonies also demanded his recall and suggested the despatch of 150 gardes mobiles to Pondicherry. France actually adopted a stiff attitude towards Rashid Ali only after having received Lévi’s telegram. He informed the French Ministry of External Affairs that his activities seemed highly damaging to French interests in India. His contacts with Sardar Patel, his comment on an article published in Life22 on 28 March (1949) on Indo-China where he had expressed his preference for a nationalist, even a communist, government to a colonial administration and his rigid enforcement of the customs barriers since 23 April interdicting all road transport from 9 in the night till 6 in the morning were proofs of his anti-French activities. In his opinion the expulsion of Indian security personnel from Pondicherry and the recall of Rashid Ali were the minimum necessities for ensuring French success in the referendum. It was in this context Schuman instructed the French Embassy to notify the Government of India for the recall of the Indian Consul General because his attitude was “incompatible” to the position he was holding and his presence in Pondicherry, Schuman thought, would constitute an obstacle to the settlement of the present difficulties.23 Accordingly, on 23 May (1949) the French Government requested the Government of India to recall its Consul General

  • 24 Lévi a Schuman, 23 mai 1949. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 10 (Qd).

who had been acting as a kind of Indian Civil Controller personally organizing the blockade of those territories, with a view to compelling them to become attached to India, and openly carrying on a campaign for this purpose.24

  • 25 Ministre des Affaires Etrangères a l’Ambassade de France (Delhi), (tél.) 27 mai 1949. As 44-55. Ind (...)
  • 26 Ibid.
  • 27 Ibid.
  • 28 Ministre des Affaires Etrangères à l’Ambassade de France (Delhi). 28 mai 1949. As 44-55, Inde Franç (...)
  • 29 Bertrand au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, tel. (Très Urgent). 28 mai 1949. As 44-55. Inde Franç (...)
  • 30 Ibid.

16The French Government also requested New Delhi to recall the Indian Security Officers who had been assisting him in this task. One can imagine the flutter the letter of recall had produced in New Delhi. This was an unexpected letter because France had taken this extreme step in spite of a friendly and conciliatory letter being written by Nehru (24 May) to Schuman and the Indian Chargé d’Affaires handed over to the French Government an Aide-mémoire clarifying India’s position in the situation arising out of the termination of the Customs Union Agreement. Apprehending the repercussions the letter of the French Ambassador at New Delhi might cast in the Indo-French relations Ashley Clarke, Adviser to the British Embassy in Paris, who met the French Director of Asia, informed him about the reactions New Delhi might have on the tone of the letter of recall of Rashid Ali. The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs interpreted this move of Ashley Clarke as a possible sequel to the approach of New Delhi to the British representative there who in his turn relayed to him the reaction of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.25 Explaining the French position Baeyens informed Ashley Clarke that the decision to ask for Rashid Ali’s recall was taken on 22 May (Sunday) while the message of the Indian Prime Minister had reached Quai d’Orsay on 25 May. Ashley Clarke indicated that New Delhi might take a strong action against France such as the denunciation of the exchange of letters on 29 June 1948 and the demand of the recall of Lévi. India had not so far appointed an Ambassador in Paris and she might not hesitate to take such a strong measure. Ashley Clarke communicated to Baeyens that British representative in New Delhi had expressed the anxiety that the situation might take a serious turn in the event of New Delhi adopting such a strong step.26 At a time when they were contemplating to take, in accordance with the Atlantic Charter, common action in south-east Asia to face the communist bogey, a Indo-French tension might be particularly inopportune.27 On 27 May P. P. Pillai, Indian Chargé d’Affaires in Paris, met Schuman and acquainted him how deeply India was hurt by the tone of the letter demanding Rashid Ali’s recall despite the friendly letter of Nehru. This embarrassed the French Minister. It was no doubt a premature step taken in a huff. But he admitted that Nehru’s letter had added a new dimension and France was willing to postpone the demand for recall of the Indian Consul General hoping that a satisfactory settlement could be found out of the present impasse.28 He also told Pillai that Chambon had been instructed “to continue the pourparler between the two governments under the conditions proposed by the Government of New Delhi” and that Chambon on his arrival in Pondicherry would get in touch with the senior officers of the Government of India. But in his meeting with Schuman, Pillai did not mention at all about the possibility of taking any strong action as indicated by Ashley Clarke.29 This move of Clarke was interpreted by Bertrand as a clever manoeuvre on the part of Great Britain which was averse to French presence in India after their departure. Great Britain was following, according to him, the same policy which they had been following in the Middle East with regard to France. By keeping India within the Commonwealth, Great Britain wanted her to play the same role against Soviet thrust in Asia which France was to play in Europe.30 Raoul Bertrand was in favour of taking a strong step against New Delhi and fully endorsed the policy of recalling the Indian Consul General from Pondicherry. In his various correspondence with the French authorities he criticized Girija Bajpai and he also expressed the view that Girija Bajpai’s” personal rancour” towards Lévi might lead to his recall from New Delhi. Another important Indian functionary who had incurred the displeasure of Bertrand and Lévi was P. A. Menon. Epithets like “Agent of Sardar Patel” and “main instigator of the blockade” were used against him.

  • 31 Aide-mémoire du Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, 28 mai 1949. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 10 (Q (...)

17 Meanwhile, the Indian Government, in order to mitigate the hardships of the people, relaxed the rigidity of the economic measures by way of supplying salt to the French settlements and exempting the people from the obligation of fixing photographs in the Identity Cards. This was in response to the French Aide-mémoire of 28 May 1949 in which was given a vivid account of the difficulties the people of the enclaves were facing, particularly in the matter of getting photographs. The communes were isolated units of territory and did not have the facilities to take photographs.31

  • 32 As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 10 (Qd).
  • 33 Ibid.

18A new situation soon developed which led to further exchange of letters between the two governments thereby preparing the ground for misunderstanding between them and this arose out of the selection of international observers. The Government of India had been demanding the presence of mutual observers for supervising the referendum. It had been stated earlier that after dilly-dallying for a long time over the matter, the French Government finally agreed to the deputation of international observers at the time of the referendum. India, on the other hand, had been demanding neutral observers. In the meantime, taking advantage of the new situation flowing from the economic measures taken by New Delhi, the French Government unilaterally widened the scope of work of the international observers by asking them to study the consequences of the economic pressures exerted by India and to report if referendum could be held. The French Government approached the President of the International Court of Justice to nominate six observers and six assistants. The President, being a Frenchman, had asked Jose Guerrero, Vice-President of the International Court of Justice, to handle the case and he “in his personal capacity” had named two observers who would soon reach Pondicherry to study the situation there. The Government of India’s Aide-mémoire of 30 April (1949) remarked that the General-Secretary of the United Nations was in a better position to nominate observers rather than the International Court of Justice as the referendum was more a political than judicial process.32 Moreover, it was repeatedly impressed on the French Ambassador that the observers should be appointed with the approval of both the governments. The Aide-mémoire strongly repudiated as baseless the allegation that they were resorting to external pressure inconsistent with the agreement of June 1948. It categorically stated that if the intention of the observers was to judge this issue, the Government of India could not be a party to it.33 When the Indian Chargé d’Affaires met Schuman on 27 May the question of neutral observers was also discussed and Schuman told him that he would give favourable consideration to the request of the Government of India regarding the selection of neutral observers and that he would seek the approval of the French Government for the selection of observers by mutual agreement from a prepared list.

  • 34 Copy of Reuter’s message. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 10 (Qd).

19All on a sudden, the Indian Chargé d’Affaires came to know from a Reuter’s telegram34 from Lake Success that the Vice-President of the International Court of Justice had, in a letter, informed Trygvie Lie, UN General Secretary, his decision to send to Pondicherry within a few days two observers –Holger Anderson, former member of the Danish Parliament and Rudulfo Buron Castro, Counsellor of the El-Salvador legation in Madrid to determine whether it would be possible to hold referendum in the French possessions labouring under internal and external pressures. If the conditions were found favourable, the International Court of Justice would send out six observers with an equal number of assistants to supervise the referendum to ensure complete impartiality.

  • 35 P. P. Pillai (Indian Chargé d’Affaires at Paris) to Robert Schuman, 3 June 1949. As 44-55. Inde Fra (...)

20The Reuter’s message surprised the Indian Chargé d’Affaires and New Delhi reacted strongly. The Indian Chargé d’Affaires wrote35 to the French Ministry of Foreign Affaires that

the announcement of the appointment of observers and the assignment of two of them of functions which, in our view, have no connection with the referendum, has come as a great surprise to my government.

21The letter added

  • 36 Ibid.

If this Reuter’s message is substantially correct, the only possible inference is that the French Government have not only decided to proceed unilaterally on the matter of the appointment of observers, but also proposed to utilize some of them to hold an inquest upon the action taken by the Government of India as a sequel to the termination of the Customs Union Agreement –action which had been the subject of differences between our respective governments, but which my government have undertaken to investigate through a senior officer of the Ministry of External Affairs with a view to exploring the possibility of giving such a relief as administrative exigencies permit.36

  • 37 Le Monde, 4 juin 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).

22 Le Monde 37 also wrote in the same vein. It quoted a spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs as saying that his government was opposed to the deputation of international observers (sent by the ICJ) charged with the task of supervising the operation of referendum in French India. India had not been consulted by the Vice-President of International Court of Justice on this matter and it was not bound to accept the decisions of the observers. But the spokesmen, however, said, that it was ready to accept the presence of neutral observers to supervise the process of referendum provided they were sent by the United Nations. Meanwhile, the Government of India had sent to Pondicherry P. A. Menon, Secretary of External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations to examine on the spot the inconveniences caused to the people because of the termination of the Customs Union Agreement.

  • 38 Manchester Guardian, 4 June 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).
  • 39 The Ceylon Daily News, 13 June 1949. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 11 (Qd).
  • 40 Ibid.

23The letter which the Vice-President of the International Court of Justice had written to Trygvie Lie landed France in a rather awkward position and his comments on the action of the Vice-President seemed embarrassing to France. Trygvie Lie remarked, as reported in the Manchester Guardian38 that the observers chosen by the Vice-President for supervising the referendum “neither represent the United Nations nor the International Court of Justice”. The Vice-President, according to him, had acted “in his own personal capacity”. World Court observers thus lost its international locus standi. The Government of India criticized French action as arbitrary and unilateral. India had warned the French authorities that if any referendum were held under the conditions they reserved the right to repudiate it. The French Government s action had been unanimously criticized, observed The Ceylon Daily Mail.39 Comments ranged from accusations charging the French with having moved the question to the international forum by using the latch-key to the backdoor” to restrained remarks by friendly circles which described the French efforts as a “diplomatic gaffe”.40 The Indian press demanded that New Delhi should scrap the agreement of June 1948.

  • 41 Bertrand au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, 4 juin 1949. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 10 (Qd).

24Sandwiched between the situation arising out of the hastily written letter of expulsion of Rashid Ali on the one hand and the unilateral manner in which the International Court of Justice was approached for selection of international observers on the other, the French position became considerably shaky and realizing that this might lead to chain reaction, France decided to call off unconditionally the expulsion order of the Indian Consul General.41 This undoubtedly brought relief to Paris and New Delhi and one aspect of the crisis was resolved. But in French India crisis followed crisis and for the time being the question of selection of international observers remained the fount of dispute. Immediately after this the Government of India, following the recommendations of P. A. Menon, announced relaxation of the economic measures taken earlier. They were

  1. Goods carried between the enclaves be exempted from import and export regulations and customs duties,
  2. no identity cards be required for persons moving between the enclaves,
  3. goods in transit between Pondicherry and Karaikal by rail be exempted from import and export regulations customs duties if conveyed under customs seal,
  4. all goods of Pondicherry or Karaikal for which contracts had been signed before 1 April, when Customs Convention of 1941 terminated, be exempted from the new customs regulations42

25These measures substantially relaxed the so-called “blockade” measures in force since 1 April 1949.

* * *

  • 43 Levi au Ministre des Affaires Etrangeres (tel.). 11 janv. 1949. Aff. Politiques, C442 (A. O. M.).
  • 44 Note. Etablissements français dans l’Inde, 2 juin 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439
  • 45 Le Monde, 11 janv. 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 442 (A. O. M.).
  • 46 Ministre des Affaires Etrangères au Ministre de la France d’outre-mer, 29 janv. 1948. Aff. Politiqu (...)
  • 47 Le Monde, 1 fév. 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 442 (A. O. M.).
  • 48 The Indian Express, feb. 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 442 (A. O. M.).
  • 49 The Hindu, 25 Feb. 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 442 (A. O. M.).

26Early in July 1949 P. A. Menon, whom Lévi called “the champion of the integration of the French settlements with Indian Union”43 visited Pondicherry in private capacity and stayed in his wife’s house. He met the Consul General as well as Goubert and other pro-merger leaders.44 Menon s visit and his meeting with the political leaders were interpreted by the French as a move on the part of New Delhi to denounce the June Agreement (1948) signed between the two governments. Le Monde wrote45 that the purpose of Menon’s meeting with the French Indian political leaders at Pondicherry was to secure the consent of the Socialist Party on four points: (i) Pure and simple integration of Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam, (ii) cancellation of the Indo-French agreement, (iii) resumption of tripartite negotiations between the representatives of India, France and French India –the latter to be represented by Goubert and (iv) the representatives of India and French India would reach an agreement on the proposition of the transformation of Pondicherry and Karaikal as autonomous units within Indian Union under the administration of a High Commissioner appointed by New Delhi. What transpired between Menon and Goubert no one knew and this gave rise to a lot of speculations in Pondicherry and France. The Jaipur resolution and the recently held conference on Indonesia at New Delhi had given unmistakable proof of New Delhi’s firm stand on French colonial possessions in Asia and this created some flutter in political circles in Pondicherry and France as well. This led the French authorities to speculate that India would put pressure on France for renouncing the June Agreement and starting a fresh set of negotiation. A Reuter correspondent from Paris attributed this change in attitude of New Delhi to the pressure group of Pondicherry led by Lambert Saravane who had been ardently advocating the adhesion of Pondicherry and Karaikal to Indian Union as autonomous units rather than status quo.46 Le Monde wrote that France would not accept any revision whatsoever of the agreement concluded in June 1948.47 At the beginning of February 1949 Nehru had also declared in Parliament that the whole question of referendum should be reconsidered. The Indian Express too reported that the June Agreement provided for a referendum in the French settlements in consultation with the municipal councils. But the scandalous manner in which elections were held had made the whole procedure risky.48 Nehru was quite aware of this and his declaration in Parliament might have a disconcerting effect on the French. Pro-merger elements were active. A delegation led by R. L. Purushottama Reddiar, President of the French India National Congress, met49 Sardar Patel at New Delhi and presented to him a memorandum stating that condition in French India had gone down from bad to worse since the last municipal elections and that they were in a desperate condition. The delegation also pointed out that

  • 50 Ibid.

Large quantities of arms had been recently imported into Pondicherry by the French Indian Government and were stored in Pondicherry, Karaikal and Mahe and this had been done to teaching the people.50

27They further said that if referendum became unavoidable certain safeguards should be taken to ensure free and unfettered voting. It was in this background that the postponed municipal elections in Mahe took place on 27 February 1949. The Mahajana Sabha was not allowed to participate in the elections and the French India Communist Party abstained. A pro-French faction was returned to power in Mahe. This was followed by a meeting of the Congress of Municipalities of the four south Indian settlements which fixed the date of referendum and modalities of referendum as well. This congress fixed 11 December 1949 as the date for holding the referendum in the four south Indian settlements. It also decided to send a delegation of three members to New Delhi and Paris with a view to ascertaining the attitude of the two governments towards the settlements. An extraordinary session of the municipal assembly of Chandemagore also met on 2-3 April 1949 to fix the date for referendum.

28Karaikal’s pro-merger leaders were radical and forward-looking in many respects. They had been facing repression of the French administration but nevertheless they remained unshaken. Léon St. Jean’s resolution for merger with Indian Union was defeated last year in the Pondicherry Representative Assembly by a clever manipulation engineered by the French India Communist Party. But this failed to dampen the ardour of the people. Early in 1949 Léon St. Jean formed a new party called the Pondicherry Merger Congress for the purpose of liberating the enclaves from French domination and exhorted the various political parties to intensify their anti-French activities in a more determined manner.

29Chandemagore had already passed a resolution (15 August 1948) for “natural union” with India without referendum. Lévi reacted to this by pointing out that from constitutional point of view such an evasion of popular consultation obligatory under Article 27 of the French constitution could not be possible. France endorsed his views. But in 1949 Cochin-China, which was an integral part of the French Republic, was incorporated into Vietnam without the people being consulted. However, the Municipal Assembly of Chandemagore which had met on 2 April 1949 decided to hold the referendum on 19 June and two international observers –Holger Anderson of Denmark and Rudulfo Buron Castro of El-Salvador– reached there a few days before referendum. Gaudart, Counsellor, French Union and Tézenas visited Chandemagore and tried to persuade the Municipal Assembly to defer the date till December, but they failed. The Municipal Assembly was in no mood to brook further delay and stuck to its decision of holding the referendum on 19 June. Chandernagore’s reaction to the selection of international observers was equally strong. Arun Chandra Datta declared that the selection of international observers was done in an arbitrary manner without the approval of the Municipal Assembly which, according to him, was a clear and regrettable departure from the terms of the solemn declaration of France. A private deal between France and the Vice-President of the International Court of Justice could not be binding on the Municipal Assembly of Chandernagore, he said. He opposed the referendum and proclaimed that “a white paper was enough to dismantle an empire”. However, the two international observers stayed in Chandemagore as guests of Georges Tailleur till the end of the referendum. As regards the modalities it was decided that vote should take place by means of “bulletins” –Yes or No– of different colours.

  • 51 Pondichery & outre-mer (tel.). 30 mars 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 451, D6 (A. O. M.).
  • 52 Pondichéry a outre-mer (tel.). 17 juin 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 440, (A. O. M.).
  • 53 Rajkumar, op. cit., p. 62.
  • 54 The Statesman, 19 June 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 440 (A. O. M.).

30Earlier it has been pointed out the growing aversion among the public and political leaders towards holding referendum in the French settlements in order to decide their fate. Harihor Sett, Deben Das and Arun Datta were all in favour of merger without referendum. Lambert Saravane believed that the future of the French settlements in India could be settled by “an amicable settlement” without the formality of a referendum. But the French Government decided to hold it. Tailleur was a fine, young gentleman, but after all he was an officer of the French Government and he had to follow official instructions. He had taken reins of the administration at a critical moment –a moment when Chandernagore was going to make history by severing all connections with the French Union. But situation in Chandernagore was not all peaceful. Some outside elements had already sneaked into the town and indulged themselves in fomenting troubles. A handful of refractory elements whom the French official account describes as “local communists” was making the situation hot. They created fresh trouble in the Gondalpara Jute Mill area. Workers were prevented from joining their duties. Scuffling and jostling ensued and a panic gripped the workers and the local residents. The Administrator intervened; he himself was wounded and a jeep burnt. This situation was, however, brought under control.51 As the date for referendum was approaching, Chandernagore witnessed a new kind of excitement. If the last municipal elections were any indication, neither the supporters of French Union nor the NDF had any prospect. Chandernagore was destined to merge with India. The pro-mergerists were coalesced into a Joint Council of Action for Referendum. The French India Communist Party led by Subbiah had changed its stand and demanded merger of the French settlements with India. But anti-mergerists of Chandernagore, anticipating that the results of the referendum would go against them, planned to provoke disturbances with sinister motive. Tailleur wrote to the Pondicherry authorities about the inadequacy of police force and acquainted them that order could not be maintained without police force from the Government of West Bengal. Pondicherry instructed him to seek police help from West Bengal Government and to stop the referendum if the situation did not improve.52 Pondicherry telegraphically informed the French Overseas Ministry about the disturbing situation in Chandernagore being master-minded by the anti-mergerists. Deben Das, worried over the situation, requested the Administrator to call in police and military force from the Government of West Bengal, if necessary. The Administrator could have done it, but he did not do it. He informed Deben Das that the referendum might be vitiated in the event of police force from West Bengal Government being called in. He was in favour of postponement if the worse happened. Moreover, certain French agents, according to Rajkumar who had already arrived Chandernagore on behalf of the AICC, were moving around the town freely offering bribes of various sorts to unscrupulous elements and unprincipled individuals and buying their votes in favour of France.-53 A whispering campaign was also going on to the effect that there would be disturbances in the town on the day of polling. A polling booth was set ablaze on the night of 17 June by some miscreants under whose guidance no one knew. On the evening of 18 June was brought out a procession by some pro-French elements and various exciting slogans were shouted. A tense situation was deliberately created and it was feared that voting might be disturbed, the motive being to create a panic and ward off the voters, particularly the women voters from casting their votes. At this critical moment the Joint Council of Action for Referendum took up the challenge and posted volunteers in all polling centres to guard them at night. This proved to be a very effective measure and the night passed off peacefully. Apart from this, the Joint Council of Action issued, on the day of referendum, an appeal to the people of Chandernagore “to give a death blow to French imperialism in the ensuing referendum by making maximum polling in favour of Indian Union...”.54

3119 June 1949 was a memorable day in Chandernagore. That day actually rang down the curtailment of the French colonial domination over the tiny settlement. Voting began from 7.30 a.m. and the Presiding Officer of the booth gave the voter a blue envelope and two ballot papers –one white and the other pink, on which was printed in ‘Bengali’ and French the question “Do you approve of keeping Chandernagore within French Union?” The white paper bore the answer “Yes” and the pink “No”. In other word, “No” indicated the desire of the voter to merge Chandernagore into Indian Union. The ballot papers were called “bulletins” in French. The polling ended peacefully. Out of 12,194 voters, 7608 voters actually cast their votes. 7473 voters voted for merger with India and 114 voted for keeping Chandernagore within French Union. The results were a foregone conclusion. Chandernagore had long been demanding integration with India. Since the beginning of the century members of the Conseil Supérieur from Chandernagore had been complaining against the policy of deprivation meted out to her by Pondicherry, but it was like crying in the wilderness. Its demand for financial and administrative autonomy, long ignored, was accepted when France found no other way out –when they were unable to face the challenge of the people. Free-city status was a camouflage accorded to Chandernagore for preserving its interests. But the Congress Karmi Parishad which dominated Municipal Assembly saw through its motives and gave a new fillip to the demand for merger by taking a resolution for automatic merger with India. As French constitution demanded referendum obligatory, Chandernagore agreed to hold it, but it refused to yield to pressures exerted from time to time to defer the date of referendum till December 1949 when referendum was to hold in the south Indian settlements. However, on 19 June 1949 Chandernagore finally threw off the yoke of colonial imperialism. This brought nearly 261 years French rule in Chandernagore to an end.

32Nehru received the news of the verdict of the referendum with an unbounded joy. While sending his greetings to the people of Chandernagore on this historic occasion, Nehru said

We welcome Chandernagor and its people to the Indian Union and to the Indian Republic to be as partners in the disciplined liberty of a great country and in its great tasks that confronts us.

33 He further added

  • 55 Rajkumar, op. cit., pp. 66-88.

The Government and the people of France, for whom the Government and the people of India entertains feelings of sincere friendship, should see in the results of the referendum in Chandernagor proof of the sentiment of the people of their settlements in India for reunion with their motherland and of India’s desire that this process of change, inevitable by reasons of history, geography culture and the spirit of times, should be voluntary and peaceful and should strengthen the existing bonds of friendship between India and France.55

  • 56 Ministre de la France d’outre-mer au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, 27 juillet 1949. Aff. Politi (...)

34The results of the referendum also struck a heavy blow to the much propagated and carefully nursed concept of French Union. The verdict of the referendum was clear and categorical; the concept of French Union was rejected by the people of Chandernagore. It was difficult for the French Overseas Ministry to swallow the bitter pill. It still maintained that if all the voters had exercised their franchise, the results might have been different.56 A little sense of simple arithmetic would have refrained them from making such an absurd statement.

  • 57 Circular No. 201 –IP a/s Chandernagore Referendum. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 11 (Qd).
  • 58 Rajkumar, op. cit., p. 69.

35But Chandernagore was not immediately transferred to Indian Union. Many technicalities stood in the way of doing so. De Jure transfer, according to an “official spokesmen of France”, should take place in two months’ time.57 But France delayed the transfer. However, de facto transfer of Chandernagore took place on 2 May 1950 and an Indian Administrator was appointed by the Government of India to take charge of the town. Pending de jure transfer it was decided to continue the French law, but the French authorities, possibly upset by the turn of events, procrastinated to extend to the Government of India the necessary co-operation. This impelled the Government of India to extend some essential Indian laws under the Foreign Jurisdiction Act. On 2 February 1951, the Indian Ambassador in Paris and a representative of the French Government signed a treaty for the cession of Chandernagore. This treaty of transfer actually constituted the penultimate stage of the transfer of the town to Indian Union.58 The treaty needed ratification by the French Parliament and it was done afterwards.

Notes

1 Note sur la situation de l’Inde Française. Aff. Politiques. C 437 (A. O. M.).

2 Ibid.

3 Note très confidentielle, 8 avril 1948. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 8 (Qd).

4 Government of India’s Aide-mémoire to Alexandre Parodi, 21 April 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).

5 Note sur situation dans l’Inde. 10 mai 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).

6 The Madras Mail, 28 March 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 450 (A. O. M.).

7 Note pour Chef du Cabinet par Directeur des Affaires Politiques, 4 fév, 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).

8 Pondichéry à outre-mer (tél.). 8 avril 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).

9 Lévi à Directeur des Affaires Politiques (tél.). 11 avril 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).

10 Aide-memoire from the Ministry of External Affaires (Govt, of India) To Robert Schuman, French Foreign Minister, 30 April 1949. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 10 (Qd).

11 The Madras Mail, 11 April 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).

12 Swadeshamitran, 19 May 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).

13 Ministre d’Outre-mer au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, 13 avril 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).

14 Ministre des Affaires Etrangères au Ministre de la France d’outre-mer, 15 avril 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).

15 Government of India’s Aide-mémoire of 21 April 1949 to Alexandre Parodi. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).

16 Aide-mémoire du Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, 14 mai 1949. Aff. Politiques. C 439 (A. O. M.).

17 P. P. Pillai to Robert Schuman, 24 mai 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).

18 Copy of a Note. From the French Embassy in New Delhi to the Ministry of External Affairs (New Delhi), 23 March 1949. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 10 (Qd).

19 Note. 2 June 1949. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 10 (Qd). P. A. Menon, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs was sent to Pondicherry.

20 Levi au Directeur des Affaires Politiques (tél.). 11 avril 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).

21 Raoul Bertrand a Quai d’Orsay (tél.). 23 mai 1949. Aff Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).

22 Lévi a Paris (tél.), Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).

23 Schuman a l’Ambassade de France (tél.), 21 mai 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).

24 Lévi a Schuman, 23 mai 1949. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 10 (Qd).

25 Ministre des Affaires Etrangères a l’Ambassade de France (Delhi), (tél.) 27 mai 1949. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 10. (Qd).

26 Ibid.

27 Ibid.

28 Ministre des Affaires Etrangères à l’Ambassade de France (Delhi). 28 mai 1949. As 44-55, Inde Française, Vol. 10 (Qd).

29 Bertrand au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, tel. (Très Urgent). 28 mai 1949. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 10 (Qd).

30 Ibid.

31 Aide-mémoire du Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, 28 mai 1949. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 10 (Qd).

32 As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 10 (Qd).

33 Ibid.

34 Copy of Reuter’s message. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 10 (Qd).

35 P. P. Pillai (Indian Chargé d’Affaires at Paris) to Robert Schuman, 3 June 1949. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 10 (Qd).

36 Ibid.

37 Le Monde, 4 juin 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).

38 Manchester Guardian, 4 June 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439 (A. O. M.).

39 The Ceylon Daily News, 13 June 1949. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 11 (Qd).

40 Ibid.

41 Bertrand au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, 4 juin 1949. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 10 (Qd).

42 Lévi à Schuman, 21 June 1949. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 10 (Qd).

43 Levi au Ministre des Affaires Etrangeres (tel.). 11 janv. 1949. Aff. Politiques, C442 (A. O. M.).

44 Note. Etablissements français dans l’Inde, 2 juin 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 439

45 Le Monde, 11 janv. 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 442 (A. O. M.).

46 Ministre des Affaires Etrangères au Ministre de la France d’outre-mer, 29 janv. 1948. Aff. Politiques, C 442 (A. O. M.).

47 Le Monde, 1 fév. 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 442 (A. O. M.).

48 The Indian Express, feb. 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 442 (A. O. M.).

49 The Hindu, 25 Feb. 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 442 (A. O. M.).

50 Ibid.

51 Pondichery & outre-mer (tel.). 30 mars 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 451, D6 (A. O. M.).

52 Pondichéry a outre-mer (tel.). 17 juin 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 440, (A. O. M.).

53 Rajkumar, op. cit., p. 62.

54 The Statesman, 19 June 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 440 (A. O. M.).

55 Rajkumar, op. cit., pp. 66-88.

56 Ministre de la France d’outre-mer au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, 27 juillet 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 440 (A. O. M.).

57 Circular No. 201 –IP a/s Chandernagore Referendum. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 11 (Qd).

58 Rajkumar, op. cit., p. 69.

© Institut Français de Pondichéry, 1997

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