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Decolonization of French India

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Ajit K. Neogy

10. Pondicherry in the Hands of the Thugs: Referendum Deferred

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  • 1 Consul General’s Fortnightly Report (1-15 June 1950). Ministry of External Affairs/R & II Branch. F (...)
  • 2 Pondichéry a Outre-mer (tél.). 1 nov. 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 437. Also The Hindu, 6 January 1950.
  • 3 The Hindu, 7 January 1950.
  • 4 Consul General’s Fortnightly Report (16-31 July 1950, Ministry of External affairs (R & I Branch) F (...)
  • 5 Pondichéry à Outre-mer. 14 janv. 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 451 (A. O. M.).
  • 6 Consul General’s Fortnightly Report (1-15 January 1950), Ministry of External Affairs (R & I Branch (...)
  • 7 The Hindu, 16 January 1950. Also Le Monde, 17 janv. 1950 Pondichéry a Outre-mer (tél.) 15 janv. 195 (...)

1The date for holding the referendum had already been deferred. The task of revising the electoral rolls remained disputed. Not even any agreement on the modalities of the consultation between the two governments had so far taken place. Bearing in mind that the referendum would take place sooner or later, Rajkumar endeavoured to consolidate the pro-merger groups. But the anti-merger groups under Goubert unleashed a situation culminating in the outbreak of violence unprecedented in the history of Pondicherry. Rivalry between the Socialist and the Communist parties reached its peak and the pro-mergerists were harassed and hounded. Goubert’s Socialist Party hirelings neither spared Subbiah nor the pro-mergerists. The National Liberation Front formed under the inspiration of Rashid Ali Baig was moribund. The Students’ Congress, an active organization till 1948, was not functioning for fear of reprisal.1 A gloom descended upon the pro-merger political leaders. But one reassuring thing was that Rajkumar’s efforts to form the Pondicherry Merger Committee was crowned with success. André Jagannath and Lakshmanaswami Mudaliar, who had earlier resigned from the Conseil du Gouvernement in 1948, joined the Pondicherry Merger Committee. The committee was further strengthened by the participation of pro-merger leaders like D. Jeevarathinam, S. Perumal, Victor Mariadas, D. Mariappa, A. Laheche, L. Satyamurti, Dorai Munussami, L. Selvanathan and G. Munussami. A person of the stature of Sellane Naicker was made President of the committee and Ambroise was made working President to help the former. A similar committee2 was also formed in Karaikal with Xavery as President and Léon St. Jean as Vice-President. Kamaraj Nadar, President of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee, hailed the formation of the merger committee as an important step forward and made a fervent appeal to the people of Pondicherry and Karaikal “to sink all personal and local political differences at this hour of trial and put up a united front for merger with India”.3 But the pre-referendum political scenario of Pondicherry was suddenly changed by violence let loose by the thugs of the Socialist Party. Both Goubert and Subbiah were locked in a bitter rivalry. Goubert’s official position enabled him to lynch his communist rivals. The communists were stripped of their hold on the working class population of Pondicherry by a systematic policy of persecution, terrorization and physical liquidation. The Assembly election of January 1950 was the occasion for the outbreak of new violence in Pondicherry with all its attendant evils. It was essentially a fight between Goubert and Subbiah –the latter having already been cornered by the strong-arm policy of the former. Rowdies were let loose on those who dared oppose Goubert. They staged demonstration in front of the house of Ambroise and threatened to kill him. They also raided the house of Venugopalassami, a congress worker of Pondicherry and threatened him in similar manner. The house of Thambidorai who was a French India delegate to the Preparatory Asian Regional Conference of I. L. O. at Delhi, was attacked because he had made a statement to the press condemning insecurity in French India, the attack on the labourers, dismissal of workers on political grounds and harassment and exploitation of labourers by political parties.4 Aided and abetted by the administration the “goondas” ran on a rampage, looting and burning the headquarters of the French India Communist Party which was located in the house of Subbiah. On 14 January 1950, the fire which reduced to ashes the house of Subbiah, spread rapidly to adjacent shops and houses.5 The Police Chief Bouhard was personally present there, but did nothing to stop this.6 The houses of Clemenceau and Annoussamy –leaders of the French India Communist Party– were all set on fire. More than 30 houses in French India capital were looted and burnt by goondas who received no resistance from anywhere.7 A series of incendiarism also occurred in the commune of Oulgaret. No one was arrested. The people became panicstricken. Shops, hotels and restaurants were closed down. Franc-Tireur wrote

  • 8 Franc-Tireur 19 janv. 1950. Aff Politiques, C 451 (A. O. M.).

Pondicherry has become a theatre of grave incidents which is a matter of concern for the moral prestige of France at a time when it was necessary to maintain peace and order allowing people to enjoy liberty to decide their fate. On 19 January a few hundred people coming from the neighbourhood of Pondicherry carrying banner and giving slogan “Vive Goubert”. A certain number of houses have been pillaged, destroyed and burnt. For two hours they carried on depredations under full police protection.8

  • 9 The Hindu, 24 February 1950.

2Anti-social elements were reigning supreme in Pondicherry. Political circles in Madras, The Hindu wrote, considered “such lawless acts particularly the incendiarism of Pondicherry as a measure calculated to strike terror among the pro-Indian elements”.9

  • 10 Government of India’s Aide-mémoire to French Foreign Minister 16 February 1950. As 44-55. Inde Fran (...)
  • 11 The Hindu, 24 February 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 2271 (A. O. M.).

3A dangerous situation was also prevailing in Mahe and Karaikal and the Aide-mémoire of the Government of India pointed out that those of the pro-mergerists who had been recently released after serving a term of imprisonment were being harassed. Their ration cards had been seized and supply of food delayed or stopped.10 In early January the municipal councillors of six communes of Karaikal adopted a resolution in favour of the integration with Indian Union and Senator Pakkirissamy had visited Delhi as a member of the three men delegation of which Goubert was one. Because of his declaration that he stood for merger he had to pay a price. This was not taken kindly either by Goubert’s party or by the French Indian authorities. Taking advantage of his absence in Paris undue pressure was exercised on ten municipal councillors of Karaikal to resign so that the Municipal Council could be dissolved and Pakkirissamy unseated. Moreover, a conspiracy was being hatched to declare Pakkirissamy an Indian by nationality with a view to banishing him permanently from French Indian political field and petition for the declaration of Pakkirissamy as an Indian and the elimination of his name from the electoral rolls had been filed before the Administrative Council of the electoral rolls Verification Committee.11

  • 12 Tézenas du Montcel au Gouverneur Général 16 mars 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 449 (A. O. M.).

4Chambon was fully aware of this conspiracy and Goubert was the brain behind the dissolution of the Municipal Council of Karaikal. The French Indian authorities had to overlook the Socialist Party’s acts of omissions as they depended to a great deal on the support of the latter for their continued stay in India. This coincidence of interest lent itself to a complimentary alliance between the two. The conspiracy failed, but they had succeeded in liquidating Subbiah in identical situation. The Pondicherry authorities got worried over Subbiah’s growing power and popularity as well as his mischief making power and taking advantage of his absence in Paris where he had gone to attend the Senate, they brought about his downfall with the help of the same Goubert whom they had groomed to counteract Subbiah. However, Pakkirissamy was an opportunist –a spineless man too. He did not have the grit to go against Goubert. He swallowed the affront. Tézenas did not hold him in high esteem. He, according to him, looked to the “highest bidder “who paid him best”.12

  • 13 Christian Belle au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, 23 août 1950. As 44-55, Inde Française, Vol. 1 (...)
  • 14 Christian Bell a Paris, tel. 3 août 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 2270 (A. O. M.).
  • 15 Ibid.

5The overall situation in the south Indian settlements was thus far from peaceful. Arrest, arson and incendiarism were taking place without any let or hindrance. Political vendetta was the order of day. The French Indian administration was increasingly getting afraid of the propaganda being carried on by the pro-merger groups. Meetings, processions and political activities of the pro-merger groups were banned. Rowdies were patronized and they were used for narrow purposes. At one time Christian Belle had accused New Delhi of trying to evade referendum under one or other pretexts. But actually it was France which was going slow13 in the matter of holding the referendum for fear of being trounced. Such an eventuality, it was apprehended, would shatter French prestige in East Asia and undermine the policy of the French Union. In the changed situation. Belle wrote to the French authorities that it would be better not to play the game of referendum if it found to be problematical.14 And referendum was again and again postponed by the French Indian authorities under pressure from the Municipal Congress and the Pondicherry Council of Administration. There was no hope of a fair and impartial referendum so long the existing conditions were not changing. The French authorities also deferred referendum on the pretext that economic pressures exerted by New Delhi were aimed at forcing the inhabitants of the enclaves to vote for Indian Union. They also linked the question of granting amnesty to the withdrawal of the customs policy by Indian authorities and the restoration of the customs regime as it existed before 1941. India had already informed in the Aide-mémoire of 4 February 1950 that the restoration of pre-1941 situation could not be possible simply because in those days there did not exist in India a general regulation for export, import and monetary transaction applicable to the whole of India. Moreover, the danger of contraband trade was on a lesser volume in those days. The shifting of customs posts beyond the areas of enclaves also rendered it impossible to exercise control on the smuggling business. The Government of India had already explained the reasons which induced it not to recognize the results of the referendum if held at all.15 The situation was really complex and the two governments remained firm in their respective position –one blaming the other for the mess.

  • 16 Pondichéry à Outre-mer (tel.). 6 sept. 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 449 (A. O. M.).

6Around this time, the demand for merging the enclaves with Indian Union without referendum was voiced and with the passage of time it was gathering momentum. With the exception of Goubert’s Socialist Party all other political parties in French India such as the French India Congress Party, the National Liberation Front, the Mahajana Sabha and other pro-merger groups stood for the integration of the settlements with Indian Union. Nehru had, in fact, made a blunder by agreeing to decide the fate of the French Indian settlements by recourse to a referendum. He had never realized that referendum in French would be a farce. To these was also added the newly founded Republican Party by Lambert Saravane, still a deputy of the French National Assembly from French India.16 Saravane’s political conviction had undergone a remarkable change. He was no longer an advocate of independent French India. He too was favouring a pure and simple integration of the settlements and in fact scuttled the whole idea of referendum.

  • 17 Consul General’s Fortnightly Report (16-31 May 1950). Ministry of External Relations/R & I Branch/F (...)
  • 18 Ibid. Camouille was the Secretary-General of French Indian administration. He was also Acting Gover (...)

7Saravane’s honeymoon with Subbiah had ended. French India Socialist Party was untouchable to him. He was a lonely man in his brand of politics without any popular base so to speak. There was no doubt that Saravane founded the party with an eye on the next elections to French Parliament which were due in 1951. He had a small group of friends and admirers in the Ashram, but outside Pondicherry his party had no existence. He was said to have extended patronage to a goonda organization of his own with which to strike Goubert and his strongholds.17 He also claimed to have the support of Camouille who was willing to curb the power of Goubert.18 The declared policy of his party was to restore democratic conditions in the settlements – “to make the French settlements safe for democracy” and end corruption in French Indian political life. The party demanded immediate transfer of power to Indian Union without referendum. Its membership was thrown open to all “who support democracy”. But whatever it was, Saravane was able to make a dent among the working class population of Pondicherry. Although the programme and activities of the Socialist Party were not acceptable to many, they dared not go against it for fear of reprisal. Saravane received a good response from them. This was bound to provoke the ire of Goubert who with great difficulty had destroyed Subbiah’s unchallenged supremacy over the working class population of Pondicherry. Now began the period of hostility between Saravane and Goubert. Goubert’s lieutenants followed the policy of liquidating their new rivals; they neither spared Saravane nor his adherents.

  • 19 The Hindu, 6 January 1950.
  • 20 By law no 50-406 of 3 April 1950 the French National Assembly authorized the French Government to o (...)

8Already in early January the Overseas Territory Commission of France had adopted a resolution proposed by Lambert Saravane urging the French Government to draw up a statute for the four settlements and submit the statute to the inhabitants in a referendum.19 Saravane said that the statute of the four towns (settlements) should take into account both “French traditions” and “needs”, particularly economic and social, “which oblige these establishments to share very closely the life of the great Indian community”. These resolution said that the four settlements should constitute the affirmation of link between France and Indian Union. At the same time, it passed a resolution sponsored by the French Government for the immediate holding of the referendum.20 This two apparently contradictory resolutions suggested that France was in two minds with regard to her overseas possessions in India.

  • 21 Daniel Lévi au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, 7 fév. 1950. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 12 (Qd (...)

9Saravane on his way back from Paris met Nehru and officers of the External Affairs Ministry at New Delhi. In his talk with them, he stressed on the idea of avoiding a referendum to decide the future of the French Indian settlements. At Madras he said many of the members of the French National Assembly wanted the French Government to make a gesture of handing over the sovereignty over the settlements to Indian Union Government. This, they believed, would strengthen the bonds of friendship between India and France.21 “As for myself’, he said, “I am working in this direction in the National Assembly”. He told R. K. Tandon that

  • 22 Consul General’s Fortnightly Report (1-15 June 1950). Ministry of External Affairs, File No. 35/R  (...)

Whenever he has taken up the cause of merger in the French National Assembly and elsewhere in Paris, frantic telegram had been received from the Ministers, Mayors and other Indian Officials and leaders –all inspired by Goubert– avowing loyalty to the French Union and protesting any scheme to surrender. This has, he states, confused the politicians in France who, not knowing the real condition, feel that it would be unfair to hand over French India to Indian Union against the wishes of the local people.22

  • 23 Times of India, 8 February 1950. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 12 (Qd).

10Léon St. Jean, Vice-President of the French India Congress, had spoken earlier in the same vein. He said that if the French Government agreed upon a formula evolved by mutual negotiations, the French Indian people would be too good to accept it. He strongly pointed out that no referendum would be possible in the conditions prevailing in the four southern settlements.23

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  • 24 Daniel Lévi a Robert Schuman, 10 fév. 1950. As 44-55. Inde Française Vol 12 (Qd).
  • 25 Ministre des Affaires Etrangères au Ministre de la France d’outre-mer, 17 March 1950. As 44-55. Ind (...)
  • 26 Daniel Lévi à Robert Schuman, 24 mai 1950. As 44-55. Inde Française Vol 12 (Qd).

11 The Indian Parliament expressed its concern on the progress of talks between the two governments in connection with the south Indian settlements. Nehru said that certain differences had arisen between the two governments regarding the modalities of referendum and the preparation of electoral rolls. The Government of India was anxious that these differences should be resolved so as to ensure complete freedom of vote to the electors and impartiality in the conduct of elections.24 The Government of India was in fact dissatisfied with the method and manner in which the French authorities were making arbitrary preparations for the referendum. In spite of differences of opinion Sardar Malik had discussed with Parodi about the date of the installation of an administrator in Chandernagore. The latter told Sardar Malik that the French Government was examining the electoral lists in a spirit of conciliation expecting that the Indian Government would do the same in so far as the customs system was concerned. The General Secretary (Parodi) again referred to the instructions given by the French Government to its functionaries in French India for not taking any part in the electoral campaign.25 It was during their talk that Malik suggested Parodi that the referendum should be postponed till September in order to avoid the heat of the summer. France was also thinking along the same line. The European observers would found the summer of south India intolerable. France could not after all take risk of their health and life. Apart from this no real progress was achieved and the exchange of views between the two governments were, to all intents and purposes, suspended for many months. Keskar said in Parliament that although referendum would be supervised by neutral observers, no formal agreement had so far taken place between the two governments. The revision of electoral lists was not yet finalized and the question of amnesty was hanging fire. Towards the close of May (1950) Nehru said in a press conference that the talks between the two governments had made no headway.26

  • 27 Christian Belle à Paris (Ministre des Affaires Etrangères) tél. 30 mai 1950 and 5 juin 1950. As 44- (...)

12While talks at the diplomatic level remained suspended, objective conditions in the French Indian settlements were not at all congenial for holding the referendum. Rajkumar observed that the situation prevailing there was charged with intimidation and terrorization. People were living under the shadow of threat and no free and fair referendum could be possible.27 Since the formation of the merger committees in Pondicherry and Karaikal, Rajkumar was active. He was visiting Pondicherry and Karaikal with a view to consolidating the pro-merger groups much to chagrin of the Pondicherry authorities. The merger committees looked to New Delhi for security and protection before any movement for integration of the settlements could be launched. New Delhi had started giving second thought to the efficacy of holding referendum. Still Rajkumar demanded that referendum should be held under the joint auspices of the governments of India and France. This, in his opinion, was necessary for inspiring confidence and a sense of security among the people. Already in the middle of June the Working Committee of the National Liberation Front had adopted a resolution protesting against the declaration made by Ménard and Lévi to the effect that referendum was purely an affair of France. This prompted the Working Committee of the National Liberation Front to doubt the fairness of the referendum to be held under the administration of Ménard and hence the demand for the presence of Indian police force at the time of referendum. To this Ménard observed that the presence of neutral observers appointed by the International Court of Justice would guarantee the impartial conduct of the referendum. Rajkumar reminded the role of the two observers during the referendum in Chandernagore.

  • 28 Christian Belle au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères (tél.) 1 janv. 1950. As 44-55. Inde Française, (...)
  • 29 As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 43 (Qd). Also rapport sur “La question de l’Inde Française pendant 1 (...)
  • 30 Rapport sur “La question de l’Inde Française pendant 1950”. Aff. Politiques, C 2270, D5 (A. O. M.).
  • 31 Ibid. Also Le Monde, 4 juillet 1950. Le Figaro and L’Aurore, 13 juillet 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 22 (...)

13On the question of holding referendum the two ministries in France and the Pondicherry authorities differed. Ménard, according to Bell, thought that the present was the best time for holding the referendum in the settlements because Goubert was “rallying around our cause”.28 Moreover, India was deeply involved in Kashmir problem; he was confident of maximum success for France. But he thought that the optimum condition for French success might disappear in case of delay. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was also in favour of expediting the referendum. But the Overseas Ministry had reservations. In a meeting held at Quai d’Orsay on 8 June (1950) no decision could be taken on referendum and it was decided to call Ménard to Paris. Ambassador Lévi was already there. At an interministerial meeting held on 8 July, Delavignette retraced his steps while Ménard and Lévi contradicted each other.29 Before he set out for France Ménard was too enthusiastic to holding the referendum and blamed India for evading it.30 The interministerial meeting ended undecided on the question of referendum. It is difficult to explain why the Overseas Ministry and Ménard shied away from referendum. French official report admitted that the excesses committed by Goubert’s party between 19 June and 3 July (1950) had created a panic in Pondicherry and that the people were getting alienated. Saravane, whose house was also attacked by the hooligans, strongly reacted against it and succeeded in rousing an adverse public opinion.31 This might have induced Ménard to change his opinion.

14Internal situation in Pondicherry and Karaikal was also changing. R. K. Tandon who succeeded S. K. Banerjee as Consul General of India (on 10 June 1950) was a tough and energetic man and the customs restrictions were rigidly enforced. People in the surrounding communes began to feel the pinch. Rajkumar’s propaganda tour, Saravane’s demand for direct transfer of sovereignty of the settlements to the Government of India without referendum, his infiltration among the workers and the retaliatory measures taken by his men along the borders, the formation of merger congress etc. were causing headache to the ruling authorities of Pondicherry. They were feeling shaky and were unsure of the outcome of referendum. This also explained the dichotomy from which the two French ministries were suffering. The Paris authorities and its Pondicherry counterparts accused the Government of India of evading the referendum under one pretext or other but in reality it was just the reverse. It was decided at the French ministerial level meeting to stick to referendum and at the same time to delay its holding. The purpose was to demonstrate to international opinion that France was following a conciliatory policy and adhering to, in letters, the June Agreement of 1948 while India was going the other way.

  • 32 Consul General’s Fortnightly Report (16-30 June 1950). Ministry of External Affaires. File No.35/R  (...)
  • 33 Le Monde, 4 juillet 1950. Le Figaro and L’Aurore, 13 juillet 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 2270, D 5 (A. (...)
  • 34 The Hindu, 17 August 1950.
  • 35 Consul General’s Fortnightly Report (1-15 Oct. 1950). Ministry of External Affairs. File No. 35/R  (...)
  • 36 The Hindu, 17 August 1950.
  • 37 Christian Belle A Robert Schuman, 5 juillet 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 2270, D5 (A. O. M.).
  • 38 The Indian Express, 6 Sept. 1950. Aff. Politiques, C449 (A. O. M.). Also Belle à Schuman, 9 Sept. 1 (...)
  • 39 Christian Belle a Paris (tel.). 18 août 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 449 (A. O. M.). Also Belle a Schum (...)
  • 40 Ménard a Merlo, Chef du 6ème Bureau. Ministre de la France d’outre-mer, 6 sept.1950. Aff. Politique (...)

15The year 1950 began with violence and incendiarism. No effective step was taken to arrest the trend. Rowdyism under the patronage of the ruling party went on unchecked in the settlements. It was rather taking an organized character. Coercion and intimidation continued. Despite warning the followers of Goubert were extorting money from the people. There was no let up in the communist lynching policy of the Socialist Party. Chandrasekhararetty, a member of the Representative Assembly and a leader of Blucher’s Progressive Democratic Party (anti-Goubert Party), was threatened by the ruffians to be killed unless he dissociated himself from the party. He and other leaders of Blucher’s party had to resign. It also directed its gun against the newly founded Republican Party of Saravane. Between 15 and 19 June (1950) fifty houses and huts were set on fire in villages around Pondicherry. Most of these houses belonged to the supporters of Saravane. Some of them were, of course, owned by the socialist workers. Saravane blamed the Socialist Party workers for these acts of incendiarism.32 In July some mill workers of the Socialist Party attacked his house and gave anti-Saravane slogans.33 The Ministry asked Ménard to go back to Pondicherry immediately. Goondaism reached its climax when an attempt was made on the life of Saravane on the night of 15 August. A bomb was thrown on his car (he and his wife were the only occupants of the car) when he was returning home from the Indian Consulate where he had gone to attend a function in connection with the Indian Independence Day Celebration.34Dinamani,35 a Tamil daily, which had been giving full publicity of the state of affairs in French India was banned in Pondicherry. C. E. Bharatan said at Paralayam, in course of a press conference, that hooliganism was rampant in French India. When the press talk was going on news reached that Govindaswamy, a pro-mergerist belonging to the fishermen community of Thirumalrayanpattinam commune of Karaikal, had been assaulted. He also said that goondaism was also going on in other communes of the Karaikal settlement. Pro-merger people were being persecuted by the Mayor of Neravi in Karaikal who were threatening to eject them from their houses on temple land. Kudi-Arasu, a pro-merger weekly of Karaikal, had already been banned (January 1950). Political rivalry in French India was allowed to degenerate into terrorism and poor and illiterate people were exploited by the ruling party to serve their narrow interests.36 Such incidents were bound to undermine public morale and disturb law and order. The Pondicherry authorities were really getting tired of the rowdy behaviour of Goubert’s party.37 Its aim was to create panic among the pro-merger elements and curb the new movement taking shape under Saravane. “Naked rowdyism” prevailed in French India and this was, in fact, directed towards the suppression of all pro-Indian elements in view of the coming referendum. The alarming situation in Pondicherry and Karaikal worried Keskar and he made it clear that so long terrorism would continue in French India, New Delhi would not accept referendum or would never be bound by its verdict.38 Keskar’s visit was interpreted in a malicious manner and a senior diplomat like Belle did not take it kindly.39 His visit of Pondicherry and Karaikal was described by Ménard as “propaganda tour”.40

  • 41 Pondichéry a Outre-mer (tel.) 18 sept. 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 2270. D5 (A. O. M.).
  • 42 The Hindu, 22 Sept. 1950.

16It was in this context that the Nasik Congress adopted a resolution against the colonial possessions of foreign powers in India. It, in fact, reaffirmed the Jaipur resolution on foreign possessions41 in India and declared that it was essential that these territories should be incorporated into the Republic of India. The Nasik Congress spared no words to denounce colonialism in Africa and Asia. And on French India it was resolved that referendum could not be held there because of its repeated postponements by the French authorities and the conditions existing there were such that unless they were completely changed, there would not be fair or impartial referendum.42 Nehru said at Gandhinagar

  • 43 Ibid.

If there can be no fair and impartial referendum, we are certainly not going to have an unfair and partial referendum so far as we are concerned.43

  • 44 Christian Belle au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, 10 oct. 1950. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 1 (...)

17Saravane, on his return from Paris, told at Madras on 6 October (1950) that he had submitted to the French Parliament a plan for the transfer of the French settlements to the Indian Union without referendum. In his opinion the integration of the settlements with India should not be looked upon as a cession of French territories to Indian Union but only a natural return of territories which actually belonged to Mother India.44 Such a gesture on the part of France would build up friendship and good understanding between the two countries. Saravane’s suggestions, if acted upon, would have simplified the obstacle created by Article 27 of the French constitution and avoided all constitutional controversies. Saravane apprehended that referendum would let loose a wave of propaganda both against France and India; it would spark off violence and lawlessness embittering the relations between the two countries. But unfortunately the statesmen of France thought it otherwise. Schuman stood for holding referendum. The French Radical Party thought likewise and the powerful Communist Party, though it advocated freedom for Indo-China, was somewhat naive on this issue so far India was concerned. France was actually saddled with problems of bigger dimension. Her colonial possessions in Asia and Africa were rendering her position precarious. She confronted an increasingly grave situation in her Asian possessions in Indo-China and the Vietnam forces had thrown a mighty challenge to her. French Indian footholds were considered useful to her for maintaining her precarious hold in Indo-China. In her north African colonies there was no peace.

  • 45 Rapport sur “La question de l’Inde Française pendant 1950”. Aff. Politiques, C 2270, D 6 (A. O. M.)

18The Pondicherry Council of Administration protested against Saravane’s plan. But the two ministries in France could not reach upon any consensus. On 17 October 1950, at a meeting of the Directors of the Cabinet and Political Affairs to the Ministry of Overseas Empire, it was considered, while maintaining the principle of referendum, to examine the constitution of a Fédération des Villes Autonomes within the framework of French Union. Ménard was again summoned to Paris to express his views on the prevailing situation. In a meeting at Quai d’Orsay (19 October) Lévi revived his pet theory of co-sovereignty or co-suzerainty which he had been hawking so long. Delteil, Deputy Director of Political Affairs, on the other hand, had prepared the new project of Fédération des Villes Autonomes within the framework of French Union. Ménard reached Paris on 12 November and on 13 November a meeting of Cabinet du Ministre had taken place with a view to rehearsing the forthcoming meeting to be held at Quai d’Orsay. Ménard was in favour of giving French Indian settlements a special status –a status somewhere between the existing status and the status of an associated state. According to him the small towns like Mahe and Yanam would not be able to survive themselves under the scheme of Fédération des Villes Autonomes. Whatever the views of Lévi and Ménard, in the interministerial meeting held at Quai d’Orsay on 20 November the theory of autonomy was presented and defended by Mitterand and it received support from Schuman who stuck to his point of view of the necessity of maintaining contact with India for the preparation of referendum.45

  • 46 Note au sujet des Etablissements de l’Inde, 16 janv. 1951. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 13 (Qd).

19Immediately after this the Pondicherry Council of Government unanimously reiterated its desire to obtain for the south Indian settlements an autonomous status within the French Union. Such a status the Pondicherry delegation had earlier asked for when it visited Paris. In the new context the Pondicherry Councillors urged the Commissaire de la République to inform the Ministry about the desire and settle problem on the basis of the new status demanded. When this was brought to the attention of Mitterand, he observed that sooner or later Goubert and his francophile followers in the settlements would proclaim their autonomy and announce their fusion with Indian Union. The French Government would found itself helpless in such an eventuality. He, therefore, favoured the autonomous status being granted to the settlements. This, in his opinion, would enable them to freely formulate their views and indicate their wishes to the French Government. Later events confirmed Mitterand’s prophesy.46

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  • 47 His full name is Salvatore Giuliano. Born at Montelepore (Palermo, Sicily 1920) he took part in the (...)
  • 48 Georges Tailleur, Délégué du Président du Conseil de Gouvernement au Commissaire de la République, (...)
  • 49 Tailleur au Commissaire de la République (Pondichéry), 5 sept. 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 468 (A. O. (...)

20Chandernagore again came into limelight. All was not going well there despite the establishment of a popular administration presided over by Deben Das. Law and order of Chandernagore under the Council of Administration had almost collapsed. Charges of corruption were there. A local gang headed by a Giuliano47 unleashed a reign of terror.48 Normal life of the town was disturbed. Businessmen were subject to extortion. A panic gripped the people. Rowdyism became the order of the day. The Council Administration remained a passive spectator. Innocent people suffered. The legally constituted “Law Court” of the town was superseded by the “High Court” of the “Giuliano” held at Champatala which reviewed cases judged by the regular court. The District Magistrate, the custodian of law and order of the district, was insulted and molested when he stopped at Chandernagore on his way to Bhadreswar where the gang had let loose a large scale violence. Even the Governor of West Bengal (Kailashnath Katju), Chambon, the Acting Governor of French India and Goubert who knew Chandernagore well had to rush to Bhadreswar to restore peace and ascertain the damages caused. Bimal Sen, the newly appointed Police Commissioner, had arrested the Giuliano on several charges, but he had to release him on the intervention of a powerful person of the Council of Administration and two influential ministers of the Government of West Bengal.49 The Giuliano was no other person than Ram Chatterjee who had thrived under Council Administration. However, the situation was so tense that Gurkha Police had to be deployed for the restoration of normalcy. The Government of India was aware of the unhappy developments in the Villes Libres where a French Administrator was still acting as a Delegate of the French Governor of Pondicherry. The French Administrator was no more than a consultative head; he had limited administrative responsibility for what was happening, but he could not deny his moral responsibility. The police force was not under his control. He had repeatedly been harassed by the communists of the town and his security posed a problem. Under such a situation the French authorities realized the futility of the presence of the Administrator in Chandernagore. His safety could no longer be ignored. He would be relieved of his responsibility, whatever it might be, when a de facto transfer of power could take place. This led the French Government to put pressure on the Government of India for the installation of an Indian Administrator at Chandernagore. No doubt the Government of India took a long time to effect this change over.

  • 50 Extract from The Nation (3 April 1950). Michel Detri à Daniel Lévi, 6 avril 1950. As 44-55. Inde, V (...)
  • 51 Michel Detri a Daniel Lévi, 8 mars 1950. As 44-55. Inde, Vol. 5 (Qd). Aff. Politiques, C 2268, D2 ( (...)
  • 52 Aff. Politiques, C 2268, D 4 (A. O. M.).
  • 53 Note pour le Conseil des Ministres, 21 mars 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 2268, D2 (A. O. M.).
  • 54 Ibid.
  • 55 Michel Detri a Daniel Lévi, 25 avril 1950. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 5 (Qd).
  • 56 Georges Tailleur au Commissaire de la République (Pondichéry), 4 mai 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 468, (...)

21Meanwhile, Hindu-Muslim riots broke out all over West Bengal in February-March 1950; it also rocked Chandernagore and this ultimately quickened the process of de facto transfer. Assassination, incendiarism and pillaging went on merrily for a few days. Quite a number of people were butchered. Michel Detri, French Consul at Calcutta, informed Lévi that the rowdy elements of Chandernagore headed by the “Giuliano” took full advantage of the situation. Chandernagore Council of Administration with its limited police force failed to check the riots and the Government of West Bengal, itself busy with riots elsewhere, could not do anything to stop this. These riots were even reported in the Manchester Guardian50 (30 March 1950) and Deben Das, President of the Council of Administration of the Free City of Chandernagore, was placed in an embarrassing position. Tailleur faced the situation. Michel Detri expressed displeasure for the failure of Deben Das to prevent riots and maintain peace.51 On 11 March 1950, Deben Das had written to Delavignette for quick integration of Chandernagore with Indian Union. This was, in his opinion, necessary for checking riots and protecting the minority community with the police help of Government of West Bengal. But such a help depended on the de facto transfer of sovereignty of Chandernagore to the Government of West Bengal. There was a demand for the suppression of the Council of Administration of Chandernagore. Actually people were getting tired of the manner and method of functioning of the Council of Administration against which there were several charges of administrative irregularities. Collection of money in the name of the “Welfare Fund” became a scandal and the Pondicherry authorities had to confiscate the fund and attach the same to Caisse des Depôts et Consignations at Chandernagore.52 De facto transfer was thought to be a better replacement. There was also pressure from Paris upon New Delhi to finalize the Chandernagore affair. The French Administrator of Chandernagore, who wielded no real power, was being blamed for the breakdown of law and order. The French Ministry was determined to withdraw its functionaries from Chandernagore and wind up the Trésor.53 It was in this grave situation that New Delhi resolved to effect a de facto transfer of power by way of installing an Indian Administrator in Chandernagore who would be given power of appeal to the Indian Government for military help for the restoration of law and order.54 In accordance with the Indo-French agreement made at Writers Building (Calcutta) on 18 April 1950, it was decided that de facto transfer of Chandernagore would take place on 2 May 1950. An Administrator (B. K. Banerjee) was sent there.55 A treaty for the transfer of sovereignty (Treaty of cession) was formally signed at Paris on 2 February 1951. The exchange of the instrument of ratification occurred on 9 June 1952. No formal ceremony was observed for the de facto transfer of power, but, to quote the French Administrator, this “peaceful rupture” effected a break with the past which the people fondly recollected.56 An Indian Administrator finally replaced the French Administrator of Chandernagore.

* * *

  • 57 16 January, 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 2270, D 5 (A. O. M.).
  • 58 Belle à Pondichéry, 13 juillet 1950. Aff. Politique. Inde F 21, (A. O. M.).

22The Mahe trial case played no less an important role in driving a wedge in the relations between the two governments. In May 1950, the Mahe tribunal tried altogether 68 persons –15 in person and 53 in absentia. The latter was condemned to 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 1 000 francs each; 10 others to 5 years’ imprisonment for participation in the October revolt. The citizenship of those accused was suspended and their properties confiscated by the French Indian authorities. The judgement created quite a stir among those fighting for merger. New Delhi strongly reacted against the manner in which the rebels of Mahe were treated.57 Belle thought that if the French had not acted like this New Delhi could have interpreted the French softness differently.58 However, in August 1950 the Government of India lodged a strong protest to France for the harsh sentences pronounced by the Mahe tribunal. It was possibly in the face of this protest that the French Foreign Ministry announced its intention on 15 December (1950) to grant an amnesty by presenting a bill in the forthcoming session of the French National Assembly. Time and again, the Government of India asked the French Foreign Ministry about the bill, but unfortunately the bill was never presented before the National Assembly. An appeal was also made to the French Court of Causation, the highest legal court of appeal, but the court rejected the appeal because the counsel for defence failed to pursue the appeal.

  • 59 Note du Gouvernement de la France, 3 août 1950. Government of India’s note to the French Foreign Mi (...)
  • 60 Note by the Indian Embassy, 23 April 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 46 (Qd).

23Apart from the October revolt which was, according to the French Indian authorities, inspired by the Indian Government,59 Mahe supplied other causes of friction. The road cum bridge case, the railway station incident and strict introduction of economic restrictions a year later resulted in the exchange of correspondence which, far from resolving issues at dispute, further embittered the relations between the two governments. By April 1954, all the convicted persons had almost served out their sentences in full and had been released at the expiry of their respective terms of imprisonment.60

  • 61 J. G. Guerrero a Trygvie Lie, 5 mai 1949. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 47 (Qd). Also P. P. Pillai (...)

24By the June Agreement of 1948 both the Governments agreed to hold referendum for deciding the fate of the south Indian settlements. The Government of India had already drawn the attention of the French Government about the unhappy situation within the settlements. On 21 April 1950, Nehru and Kesker jointly denounced terrorism and announced it impossible to hold free and fair consultation. The French Government, on the other hand, held India responsible for causing economic difficulties to the people of the settlements by denouncing the customs agreement. Lévi and Camouille emphasized the urgent need of sending two neutral observers to study the situation of Pondicherry and Karaikal arising out of the series of measures taken by New Delhi. Guerrero, on being requested by the French Government, nominated (26 April 1949) Holger Anderson (former member of the Danish Parliament) and Rudolf Buron Castro, counsellor of the El Salvador Legislature in Madrid.61 New Delhi was taken aback by the suddenness of the decision regarding the despatch of neutral observers. A Reuter’s telegram from Lake Success (New York) also mentioned that International Court of Justice was sending two neutral observers to Pondicherry and Karaikal to investigate the French charges that the French possessions in India were being subjected to economic pressures by the Indian Government. Their main task would be to examine whether it would be possible to hold plebiscite in the French possessions labouring under internal and external pressures.

  • 62 P. P. Pillai to Robert Schuman, 3 June 1949. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 10 (Qd).

25Though surprised over the unilateral decision taken in a “private capacity” by Guerrero, India did not remain passive to it. P. A. Menon, a spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs (Government of India) immediately wrote (3 June 1949) to Schuman and mentioned to him about the Reuter message. Menon also referred to him about the selection of observers by mutual agreement from a prepared list. New Delhi had earlier requested the Paris authorities for a definition of their functions. In its Aide-mémoire (10 May 1949), India maintained that before the neutral observers were nominated, full details about them should be furnished so that New Delhi might decide whether or not they were acceptable. In a note of 13 May (1949) addressed to Parodi, New Delhi pointed out that Lévi had informed the Government of India that referendum was a matter of internal administration for France. It remarked that this attitude was contrary to the undertakings given at the time when the declaration for the future of the French settlements was made. Even if it was considered that referendum was an internal affair, its results were of such importance to the Government of India that it could not possibly remain unconcerned with the various measures taken to carry on the referendum. The neutral observers case thus constituted a sore point. In its Aide-mémoire of 19 May (1949), the French Government had only informed the choice made by Guerrero in relation to the referendum at Chandernagore to be held on 19 June (1949). “In the circumstances”, Menon stated, “the announcement of the appointment of observers and the assignment to two of them of functions which [...] have no connection with the referendum, has come as a great surprise to my Government.62 He also added

If Reuter’s message is substantially correct, the only possible inference is that the French Government have not only decided to proceed unilaterally in the matter of the appointment of observers, but also propose 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 has 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 relief as administrative exigencies permit. Your Excellency will also recall that you have asked me on 27th May to communicate to my Prime Minister, that M. Chambon has been instructed “to continue the pourparler between the two governments under the conditions proposed by the Government of New Delhi”.

26He further wrote that

any decision regarding the appointment or function of the observers as outlined in Reuter’s message cannot but be regarded by my Government as being at variance with the assurance of friendly co-operation that Your Excellency was good enough to give me.

27While the French Government had the right to select and send any one they chose, with such functions as they might wish to entrust them, the Government of India, which had no share in the selection of the observers or the definition of their functions also reserved the right to repudiate them, he said.

  • 63 Neutral Observers Report, 6 August 1949. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 47 (Qd).

28The French Government supplied to the Indian Government the necessary information about the two neutral observers and the duties assigned to them in India. They reached India on July 1949. Having supervised the referendum at Chandernagore, they visited Pondicherry and Karaikal with a view to ascertaining the situation there. In both the places they met a cross section of people and made certain general observations such as rectification of the electoral lists, reduction of number of booths and also recommended the appointment of sufficient number of observers to help the neutral observers.63

  • 64 As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 22 (Qd).

29 The list of neutral observers having been completed and forwarded to New Delhi, the Government of India accepted 8 of them under certain conditions stated earlier. Later Keskar who had a stop over at Paris (November 1950) on his way back from Lake Success had talks with Mitterand (new French Overseas Minister) and Schuman at Quai d’Orsay where the two ministers had proposed to him to send a batch of neutral observers to go through the whole gamut of Indian allegations regarding the actual conditions prevailing there and suggest measures for ensuring a free and fair referendum.64 But Keskar shrugged off the proposal. Meanwhile, the French Government had decided to hold the referendum before the summer of 1950. New Delhi was dissatisfied from the beginning with the manner and method in which the French authorities were making arrangements for the referendum.

  • 65 Government of India’s Aide-mémoire to the French Government, 3 February 1950. As 44-55. Inde França (...)
  • 66 Aide-mémoire du Gouvernement de la France au Gouvernement de l’Inde, 3 fév.l950. As 44-55. Inde Fra (...)
  • 67 Belle a Paris (tél.) 3 août 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 2270, D5 (A. O. M.).
  • 68 As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 59 (Qd).

30It has been discussed earlier how the Pondicherry authorities had started revising the electoral rolls in the absence of neutral observers and how the Government of India had reacted against it. In its Aide-mémoire of 16 February (1950) to the French Foreign Ministry the Indian Government had demanded that the revision of electoral rolls should restart after the arrival of the neutral observers. It stressed that simply checking the electoral lists by the observers would be clearly “insufficient”. The Indian Aide-mémoire also pointed out that pro-Indian elements had been prevented from registering their names owing to the presence of goonda elements in front of the town hall and again demanded that amnesty for political refugees must precede any recommencement of electoral lists.65 The French Government’s instructions to French officials to remain aloof from election propaganda was also considered “insufficient”. New Delhi, in fact, demanded the imposition of a general prohibition on all French officials from participating in the electoral campaigns. Apart from this the Indian Aide-mémoire brought to the attention of the French Foreign Ministry the measures of repression again adopted by Mahe police for arresting the prisoners who had been released, harassing them and damaging and pillaging their houses with the help of bandits thereby setting up a dangerous situation. The French Government refuted66 the various charges brought against it by the Indian Aide-mémoire. These charges and counter-charges, instead of easing, tended only to complicate the relations between the two governments. The French Government found itself unable to subscribe to the latest demands formulated by India. This meant a virtual surrender to India.67 The corps of neutral observers who had been waiting at Paris dispersed at the end of March 1950 and with this the Indo-French negotiations on the modalities of referendum had come to a dead lock.68 At the time of their departure, the neutral observers suggested to the French Foreign Department that the two governments should reach an agreement on the modalities of referendum and they thought it useless to send any members of the commission to French India unless such an agreement reached upon.

Notes

1 Consul General’s Fortnightly Report (1-15 June 1950). Ministry of External Affairs/R & II Branch. File No. 35/R & 1/50 (National Archives of India, New Delhi).

2 Pondichéry a Outre-mer (tél.). 1 nov. 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 437. Also The Hindu, 6 January 1950.

3 The Hindu, 7 January 1950.

4 Consul General’s Fortnightly Report (16-31 July 1950, Ministry of External affairs (R & I Branch) File No. 35/RBI/50 (National Archives of India, New Delhi).

5 Pondichéry à Outre-mer. 14 janv. 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 451 (A. O. M.).

6 Consul General’s Fortnightly Report (1-15 January 1950), Ministry of External Affairs (R & I Branch). File No. 35/R & 1/50 (National Archives of India, New Delhi).

7 The Hindu, 16 January 1950. Also Le Monde, 17 janv. 1950 Pondichéry a Outre-mer (tél.) 15 janv. 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 451 (A. O. M.).

8 Franc-Tireur 19 janv. 1950. Aff Politiques, C 451 (A. O. M.).

9 The Hindu, 24 February 1950.

10 Government of India’s Aide-mémoire to French Foreign Minister 16 February 1950. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 12 (Qd).

11 The Hindu, 24 February 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 2271 (A. O. M.).

12 Tézenas du Montcel au Gouverneur Général 16 mars 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 449 (A. O. M.).

13 Christian Belle au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, 23 août 1950. As 44-55, Inde Française, Vol. 13 (Q).

14 Christian Bell a Paris, tel. 3 août 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 2270 (A. O. M.).

15 Ibid.

16 Pondichéry à Outre-mer (tel.). 6 sept. 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 449 (A. O. M.).

17 Consul General’s Fortnightly Report (16-31 May 1950). Ministry of External Relations/R & I Branch/File No. 35/R & 1/50 (NAI, New Delhi).

18 Ibid. Camouille was the Secretary-General of French Indian administration. He was also Acting Governor for sometime.

19 The Hindu, 6 January 1950.

20 By law no 50-406 of 3 April 1950 the French National Assembly authorized the French Government to organize referendum in the four settlements of India. As 44- 55. Inde Française, Vol. 43 (Qd).

21 Daniel Lévi au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, 7 fév. 1950. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 12 (Qd). Also Times of India, 17 February 1950. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 12 (Qd).

22 Consul General’s Fortnightly Report (1-15 June 1950). Ministry of External Affairs, File No. 35/R & I/50. (National Archives of India, New Delhi).

23 Times of India, 8 February 1950. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 12 (Qd).

24 Daniel Lévi a Robert Schuman, 10 fév. 1950. As 44-55. Inde Française Vol 12 (Qd).

25 Ministre des Affaires Etrangères au Ministre de la France d’outre-mer, 17 March 1950. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 12 (Qd).

26 Daniel Lévi à Robert Schuman, 24 mai 1950. As 44-55. Inde Française Vol 12 (Qd).

27 Christian Belle à Paris (Ministre des Affaires Etrangères) tél. 30 mai 1950 and 5 juin 1950. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 12 (Qd).

28 Christian Belle au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères (tél.) 1 janv. 1950. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 43 (Qd).

29 As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 43 (Qd). Also rapport sur “La question de l’Inde Française pendant 1950”. Aff. Politiques, C 2270, D5 (A. O. M.).

30 Rapport sur “La question de l’Inde Française pendant 1950”. Aff. Politiques, C 2270, D5 (A. O. M.).

31 Ibid. Also Le Monde, 4 juillet 1950. Le Figaro and L’Aurore, 13 juillet 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 2270, D 5 (A. O. M.).

32 Consul General’s Fortnightly Report (16-30 June 1950). Ministry of External Affaires. File No.35/R & I Branch/50. (National Archives of India, New Delhi).

33 Le Monde, 4 juillet 1950. Le Figaro and L’Aurore, 13 juillet 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 2270, D 5 (A. O. M.).

34 The Hindu, 17 August 1950.

35 Consul General’s Fortnightly Report (1-15 Oct. 1950). Ministry of External Affairs. File No. 35/R & I Branch/50. (National Archives of India, New Delhi).

36 The Hindu, 17 August 1950.

37 Christian Belle A Robert Schuman, 5 juillet 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 2270, D5 (A. O. M.).

38 The Indian Express, 6 Sept. 1950. Aff. Politiques, C449 (A. O. M.). Also Belle à Schuman, 9 Sept. 1950. As 44-55. Inde, Vol. 63 (Qd).

39 Christian Belle a Paris (tel.). 18 août 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 449 (A. O. M.). Also Belle a Schuman, 9 sept. 1950. As 44-55. Inde, Vol. 63 (Qd).

40 Ménard a Merlo, Chef du 6ème Bureau. Ministre de la France d’outre-mer, 6 sept.1950. Aff. Politiques, C 449 (A. O. M.).

41 Pondichéry a Outre-mer (tel.) 18 sept. 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 2270. D5 (A. O. M.).

42 The Hindu, 22 Sept. 1950.

43 Ibid.

44 Christian Belle au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, 10 oct. 1950. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 13 (Qd).

45 Rapport sur “La question de l’Inde Française pendant 1950”. Aff. Politiques, C 2270, D 6 (A. O. M.).

46 Note au sujet des Etablissements de l’Inde, 16 janv. 1951. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 13 (Qd).

47 His full name is Salvatore Giuliano. Born at Montelepore (Palermo, Sicily 1920) he took part in the independence movement of Sicily during and after World War II. At that time he became the head of a group and terrorized the province of Palermo, committing the slaughter of Portella della Ginestra (1 July 1947) when he and his gang gunned down several people who had gathered in a workers’ demonstration. Perhaps some politicians were his accomplices. He was betrayed by his followers and was killed by police at Castelvetrans (Trapani, Western Sicily) in 1950. These informations were supplied by Dr. Flavio Poli, my Italian friend, who had taught in Santiniketan years ago.

48 Georges Tailleur, Délégué du Président du Conseil de Gouvernement au Commissaire de la République, Pondichéry, 5 sept. 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 468 (A. O. M.).

49 Tailleur au Commissaire de la République (Pondichéry), 5 sept. 1949. Aff. Politiques, C 468 (A. O. M.).

50 Extract from The Nation (3 April 1950). Michel Detri à Daniel Lévi, 6 avril 1950. As 44-55. Inde, Vol. 5 (Qd).

51 Michel Detri a Daniel Lévi, 8 mars 1950. As 44-55. Inde, Vol. 5 (Qd). Aff. Politiques, C 2268, D2 (A. O. M.).

52 Aff. Politiques, C 2268, D 4 (A. O. M.).

53 Note pour le Conseil des Ministres, 21 mars 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 2268, D2 (A. O. M.).

54 Ibid.

55 Michel Detri a Daniel Lévi, 25 avril 1950. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 5 (Qd).

56 Georges Tailleur au Commissaire de la République (Pondichéry), 4 mai 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 468, D 2 (A. O. M.).

57 16 January, 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 2270, D 5 (A. O. M.).

58 Belle à Pondichéry, 13 juillet 1950. Aff. Politique. Inde F 21, (A. O. M.).

59 Note du Gouvernement de la France, 3 août 1950. Government of India’s note to the French Foreign Ministry, 15 December 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D6 (A. O. M.).

60 Note by the Indian Embassy, 23 April 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 46 (Qd).

61 J. G. Guerrero a Trygvie Lie, 5 mai 1949. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 47 (Qd). Also P. P. Pillai to Robert Schuman, 3 June 1949. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 10 (Qd).

62 P. P. Pillai to Robert Schuman, 3 June 1949. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 10 (Qd).

63 Neutral Observers Report, 6 August 1949. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 47 (Qd).

64 As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 22 (Qd).

65 Government of India’s Aide-mémoire to the French Government, 3 February 1950. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 42 (Qd). Also Christian Belle a Robert Schuman, 9 sept. 1950. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 63 (Qd).

66 Aide-mémoire du Gouvernement de la France au Gouvernement de l’Inde, 3 fév.l950. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 42 (Qd).

67 Belle a Paris (tél.) 3 août 1950. Aff. Politiques, C 2270, D5 (A. O. M.).

68 As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 59 (Qd).

© Institut Français de Pondichéry, 1997

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