12.8.42

Appalling policy handout this morning about affairs in India. The riots are of no significance – situation is well in hand – after all the number of deaths is not large etc., etc. As to the participation of students in the riots, this is explained along “boys will be boys” lines. “We all know that students everywhere are only too glad to join in any kind of rag”, etc., . Almost everyone utterly disgusted. Some of the Indians when they hear this kind of stuff turn quite pale, a strange sight.

Most of the press taking a tough line, the Rothermere press disgustingly so. If these repressive measures in India are seemingly successful for the time being, the effects in this country will be very bad. All seems set for a big come-back of the reactionaries, and it almost begins to appear as though leaving Russia in the lurch were part of the manoeuvre. [This afternoon shown in strict confidence by David Owen Amery’s statement [on] postwar policy towards Burma, based on Dorman-Smith’s [1] report. It envisages a return to “direct rule” for a period of 5-7 years, Burma’s reconstruction to be financed by Britain and the big British firms to be re-established on much the same terms as before. Please God no documents of this kind gets into enemy hands. I did however get from Owen and from the confidential document one useful piece of information – that, so far as it is known, the scorched earth policy was really carried out with extreme thoroughness.]

[1] Sir Reginald Hugh Dorman-Smith (1899-1977) was Governor of Burma in 1941 and during the British withdrawal in 1942. 

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