Cripps Mission

Cripps Mission

The Cripps Mission was an attempt in late March 1942 by the British government to secure full Indian cooperation and support for their efforts in World War II. 
  • The mission was headed by Sir Stafford Cripps, a senior left-wing politician and government minister in the War Cabinet of Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
  • Cripps was sent to negotiate an agreement with the nationalist leaders, speaking for the majority Indians, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, speaking for the minority Muslim population.
  • Cripps worked to keep India loyal to the British war effort in exchange for a promise of full self-government after the war.
  • Cripps promised to give dominion status after the war as well as elections to be held after the war. 
  • Cripps discussed the proposals with the Indian leaders and published them.
  • Both the major parties, the Congress and the League rejected his proposals and the mission proved a failure.
  • Cripps had designed the proposals himself, but they were too radical for both Churchill and the Indians; no middle way was found.
  • Congress moved towards the Quit India movement whereby it refused to cooperate in the war effort, while the British imprisoned practically the entire Congress leadership for the duration of the war.
  • Jinnah was pleased to see that the right to opt out of a future Union was included.
  • Indians were given promise of liberty to frame their own constitution.
Contents of Draft Declaration prepared by Sir Cripps:- 
  • According to the preamble of the Draft Declaration, the object was ‘the creation of a new Indian Union which shall constitute a Dominion associated with the United Kingdom and other Dominions by a common allegiance to the Crown but equal to them in every respect, in no way subordinate in any aspects of its domestic and external affairs’.
  • The Declaration also stated that any province not willing to accept the constitution would be given ‘the same full status as the Indian Union’, designed to appeased the Muslim League’s call for Pakistan.
  • The Indian National Congress, however, was not satisfied with the fact that its demand for immediate complete independence had been rejected.
  • Furthermore, Congress did not accept the provision that ‘His Majesty’s Government must inevitably bear the responsibility for and retain the control and direction of the Defense of India as part of their world war effort’.


  • The Indian National Congress Working Committee rejected the Declaration on 7 April 1942.
  • On 9 April, Cripps made one last effort to persuade the Indian leaders to accept the Declaration, but once again Congress declined.
  • United States President Roosevelt tried to persuade Cripps to renew his efforts, but Cripps had already left India.
  • The failure of the Cripps Mission is generally attributed to a variety of factors, especially  the constraints within which Cripps had to operate.
  • Some analysts see the Mission merely as an appeasement of Chinese and American concerns with British imperialism.
  • Gandhi seized upon the failure of the Mission and called for voluntary British withdrawal from India. It resulted in the ‘Quit India’ Movement.

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