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American Views: Jinnah As Negotiator

By Betty Miller Unterberger

According to Miller Unterberger1, American press in 1940 declared Jinnah such an important

leader of Indian Muslims that no solution for Indian problem would be effective without his

consent.2 Jinnah is considered as sole boss of the Muslim League, brilliant, colorful, shrewd,

incorruptible and absolute committed to the Muslim cause. He is described as something of

paradox because of his unorthodox Muslim behavior and his elegant Western styled dress.

Nevertheless he is considered as the chief obstacle to Indian independence and powerful enough

to thwart the war effort if his demands for Pakistan were not considered sympathetically. 3

Americans were convinced that nine out of ten politically conscious Muslims were with Jinnah.

American intelligence officers in India reported that substantial part of the Indian army was

consisted of Muslim soldiers and they were deeply loyal to Jinnah and opposed to Gandhi’s quit

India movement.

This paper is mainly about the personality traits of Muhammad Ali Jinnah reported by American

press and other key authors. Here our concern is to find those characteristics of Jinnah’s

personality presented by Americans that are related to his role as a negotiator.

The paper suggests that commitment to his cause is key factor for Jinnah in negotiations with

both British and Hindus. Jinnah was uncompromised on his commitment to Muslim cause after

1940. He was always ready to negotiate but without compromising on his two principle stances.

Diplomatic History, Vol. 5, No. 4 (FALL 1981), pp. 313-336
P. 324.
One was that Muslim League is sole representative organization of Indian Muslims led by Jinnah

and Congress is the representative of only Hindus not of all Indian including Muslims. Jinnah

pointed that a unified, democratic government is impossibility in India.4 Another stance was that

no constitutional formula is workable for Indian situation except the division of India into two

states; one for Muslims and other for Hindus.

When the Congress’s resolutions for civil disobedience published, Jinnah immediately gave

orders for Muslims to take no part in any disturbance and not one Muslim in India entered the

quarrel or raised his hand.5 This proved that he had his own wisdom, he would adopt only

peaceful means for his purpose and also he was capable to control his followers. When the

congress leaders were in jail, Jinnah solidified his political control throughout the Muslim areas,

roaming throughout India preaching imperative need for India to be divided.

Paton Davies, second secretary of the Chinese embassy attached to the staff of General Joseph

who was then commanding American forces in China, Burma and India, described him as a good

organizer, an astute and opportunistic politician, and admirably qualified to fill the role of leader

needed in the circumstances in which the Muslims found themselves. All these qualities of

Jinnah were being utilized in constitutional ways through negotiations to achieve his goal.

Davies presented paradoxical views about Jinnah personality. For example on one hand he

agreed that Jinnah had been exploited by the British in their divide and rule policy while on other

hand he described Jinnah as incorruptible. Similarly, on one side he believed that Pakistan

resolution had been initially devised for bargaining purpose while on other hand he declared that

Jinnah is committed for the cause of Pakistan. Even if Jinnah was using Pakistan proposal as

bargaining tool, he was using it with such a calculation and anticipation that if negotiations fails

on this bargaining tool then he don’t have to come back and find another stance to move ahead

but contrary he would adopt this bargaining tool as a sole purpose. This proved him as a good

tactician in negotiations. Basically, Jinnah is described as an enigma who is consumed by

exaggerated ambition, and a person who bid far to end, politically as a victim of his over-

reaching ambitions.6

American believed that due to his legal training, he was incapable of using unconstitutional

means; corollary, negotiations and peaceful constitutional strategies were left for him. All the

reports utilized by Unterberger recognized those qualities in Jinnah that a good negotiator has. It

is stated that he was a man with tremendous capacity to attract young men, to weigh up issues

and bid for time. He was described as a shrewd and calculating politician who had proved his

political acumen on numerous occasions. Although recognized as ambitious, he was described as

absolutely honest and incorruptible, a man who had achieved his position through unique ability

and single-mindedness.7

On the birth of the state of Pakistan, American newspapers and periodicals, as well as key

American officials, agreed that Jinnah proved himself a great statesman not only of Asia but also

of the world. Edgar Snow noted, “even if one only appraised Jinnah as a barrister, it would be to

acknowledge that he had won the most monumental judgment in the history of bar.”8

American P.334
process of favouring Jinnah was quietly being

pursued by the Britsh;Jinnahwas too shrewd not to see through

the game and instead sulk over a trifng incident whch he

knew woud have produced no fruitful result. 90

He did not like Jinnah's obstructive politcs

and regretted that "no one seems to have the character to

oppose h". 92

They recorded the gist of their talks in

letters; these showed te uncompromising stand of Jinnah on

the most vitq queston of the division of India. He would not

concede an inch to Gand on tis score. 92

He was not concerned that the soluton he offered

would put more than one-third of the Muslims residing in

"Hidustan" in the lurch; neither did he reflect on the disastrous

economic consequences of partition for the Muslims of the

subcontinent. He merely wished to avenge the woeful neglect

that he had suffered in public life. Sice the advent of Gandhi

he struggled hard to avenge hs humiaton and succeeded in


a p osition which equalled that o f Gandhi. 96

he informed Wavell that "the League

could not participate in an Executive Council in which nonLeague Muslims were included". At
the conference he

challenged the national character of the Congress and declared

that it represented only the Hindus. 100

107-8, dialogue with cabinet

Jinnah, the

acclaimed gentleman, allowed such uncivilised and provocative

outbursts which seemed to be the precursor of the change in

his attitude -. - from the constitutionalist to the rabble-rouser. 109

British were guilty of "a t1agrant breach of faith" and

further that "there was no such country as India", adding "I

am not an Indian at al".1. 110

ButJinnah was not in a mood for any compromise. 110

He said he

would have · to · consult his colleagues and his Counci before

announcing the decision of the League; He bid for tme which

the Mission was not prepared to gve him. They bluntly told

ts to his lieutenant Liaquat A K�n and pointed out that

they had to decide on the course of action without further

delay. 113

Neither was sincere in wanting to

implement it in toto. 115

he refused to compromise on his

two demands: (1) that there should be parity between the

representatives of the Congress and the League; and (2) that·

he should have the sole right to nominate the Muslim members.

On bot these points te Mission did not yield. 115

it was
obvious that on that basis alone Jinnah and his League had

given their acceptance; they were able to convince their

followers that the grouping of provnces in te north-west and

north-east would provide · to the Muslms enough scope for

eventually trans forming these into Pakistan. 116

he des cribed Direct Action as "mass illegal

movement". He asked his followers to take out teir pistols

and remember that "today we have s aid goodbye to

· constitutional methods".16. 120

But, as subsequent

events proved, Jinnah was not bothered; he asked for his pound

of flesh and was determined to take it whatever the cost. 121

Jinnah was not prepared to join the interim government

unless two of his conditions_ were fulfilled: one, parity with

the Congress at the Centre and two, the League to have the

sole right to nominate Muslim members. He could not allow

his Leaguers to sit with the "Muslim quislings" ; Wavell

expressed his inability to accept his demands. Meanwhile Attlee

instructed the Viceroy not to lose any more time and install

the interim government, if necessary wthout the participation

o f the League representatives. 123


it dawned on him that staying out of power would hurt the

League . · He s ent word to Wavell that the League would

reconsider its decision not to j oin the government. 123

Jinnah was

encouraged by a secret meeting he had with Churchill who

promised that he would not allow the Muslims to be put under

· Hindu raj .126

The basis of Jinnah�s

argument for Pakistan was that India's Moslem

mnority should not be ruled by its Hindu majority. 133

Though Jinnah was at frst rather upset at getting what

he called, "a moth-eaten Pakistan", he was later overjoyed at

the fact that he had founded a state where his will was to

prevail. Neither the truncated form nor its two wngs, separated

by hundreds of mles of Hindu territory, seemed to bother

him much. 147

Some of the League leaders of the Hindu-majority

provices saw hm on the eve of hs departure to l(arachi which

was to be the capital of the Dominon of Pakistan. Anxiously

they asked him what was in store for them. He said tey would

have t look after themselves. They protested that they needed

better protection . and should not be left to the mercy of the

Hindus. After all, they pointed out, it was because of them ·

that Pakistan had been won. Looking sternly at them, Jinnah

said, "You are mistaken; the whole world knows that it is ICREATION OF PAKISTAN 1 49


who single-handedly has brought Pakistan into existence. I am

its sole creator. No one else can take credit for it. 148-49
List of Sources

1. The Man Who Divided India - By: Rafiq Zakariya

2. The Great Divide: Britain, India, Pakistan – By: H. V. Hodson

3. American Views of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and the Pakistan Liberation Movement – By: Betty
Miller Unterberger

4. The Quaid’s Role in the Making of Pakistan – By: Sharif al Mujahid

5. Jinnah Pleads the Case for Pakistan Before the Cabinet Mission, 16-23 May 1946 – By: Riaz