Mr. Subhas Chandra Bose
President of the Congress Working Committee
2 August 1938
Dear Subhas Chandra Bose,
The Council (of the League) is fully convinced that the Muslim League is the only authoritative and representative political organization of the Mussalmans of India. This position was accepted when the Congress-League Pact was arrived at in 1916 at Lucknow and ever since, till 1935 when Jinnah-Rajendra Prasad conversations took place, it has not been questioned. The All-India Muslim League, therefore, does not require any admission or recognition from the Congress nor did the resolution of the Executive Council passed at Bombay. But in view of the fact that the position-in fact the very existence-of the League had been questioned by the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the President of the Congress, in one of his statements wherein he asserted that there were only two parties in the country, viz. the British Government and the Congress, it was considered necessary by the Executive Council to inform the Congress of the basis on which the negotiations between the two organizations could proceed.
Besides, the very fact that Congress approached the Muslim League to enter into negotiations for a settlement of the Hindu-Muslim question presupposed the authoritative and representative character of the League and as such its right to come to an agreement on behalf of the Mussalmans of India.
The Council are aware of the fact that there is a Congress coalition Government in the North-West Frontier Province and also that there are some Muslims in the Congress organization in other Provinces. But the Council is of the opinion that these Muslims in the Congress do not and cannot represent the Mussalmans of India, for the simple reason that their number is very insignificant and that as members of the Congress they have disabled themselves from representing or speaking on behalf of the Muslim community. Were it not so, the whole claim of the Congress alleged in your letter regarding its national character would fall to the ground.
As regards ‘the other Muslim organizations’ to which reference has been made in your letter, but whom you have not even named, the Council considers that it would have been more proper if no reference had been made to them. If they collectively or individually had been in a position to speak on behalf of the Mussalmans of India, the negotiations with the Muslim League for a settlement of the Hindu-Muslim question would not have been initiated by the Presidents of the Congress and Mr. Gandhi. However, so far as the Muslim League is concerned it is not aware that any Muslim political organization has ever made a claim that it can speak or negotiate on behalf of the Muslims of India. It is, therefore, very much to be regretted that you should have referred to ‘other Muslim organizations’ in this connection.
The Council is equally anxious to bring about a settlement of ‘the much vexed Hindu-Muslim question’ and thus hasten the realization of the common goal, but it is painful to find that subtle arguments are being introduced to cloud the issue and retard the progress of the negotiations.
In view of the facts stated above the Council still hopes that the representative character of the Muslim League will not be questioned and that the Congress will proceed to appoint a committee on that basis.
With reference to the second resolution the Council wishes to point out that it considered undesirable the inclusion of Mussalmans in the Committee that might be appointed by the Congress because it would meet to solve and settle the Hindu-Muslim question and so in the very nature of the issue involved they would not command the confidence of either Hindus or the Mussalmans and their position indeed would be most embarrassing. The Council, therefore, request you to consider the question in the light of the above observations.
With reference to the third resolution it was the memorandum of the Congress referred to in your letter dated the 15th of March 1938 in which mention of other Minorities was made and the Muslim League expressed its willingness to consult them, if and when it was necessary in consonance with its declared policy.
M. A. Jinnah