William Phillips’ Sojourn in the Subcontinent
The Quit India Movement pursued by the INC confronted the British Raj at a time when India was important to the Allies, engaged in a crucial war against the Japanese in China and the Axis forces in North Africa. The American forces depended vitally upon Indian road transport and railways from Karachi through Assam to Burma and China. Chiang Kai-shek was alarmed by the Congress revolt as it threatened the flow of supplies and any severe disruption in communications in the wake of political unrest might hamper his defence arrangements. As a fellow Asiatic nationalist, he felt strongly about the immediate resolution of the South Asian crisis and wrote very emphatic letters to FDR to that effect. During his tour of India, both Chiang Kai-shek and his wife had been deeply moved by the South Asian fervour for independence. The US government maintained a keen interest in India for political-military reasons. FDR and Secretary Hull were under constant pressure from various influential American quarters to intervene on behalf of the Indian nationalists. The US government tried to stay out of controversy so as not to invite British suspicion. Privately, FDR sympathised with the Indians but he did not assert his feelings, whereas Eleanor Roosevelt felt very strongly about South Asian independence.
KeywordsBritish Government Indian Leader American Intervention American Interest American Opinion
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