Nehru Kotelawala Agreement

Ceylon has taken a courageous step in concluding a rubber rice exchange agreement with China. Ceylon was to receive six tons of rice for every tonne of rubber exported to China, double the market price at the time. Recognition is to be given to Dudley Senanayake and R G Senanayake, the Prime Minister`s cousin, who served as Minister of Commerce. Despite the agreement, Dudley Senanayake did not maintain diplomatic relations with China and continued his pro-Western foreign policy. As the previous agreement was not concluded as planned, a new meeting was scheduled in New Delhi in October 1954. Meanwhile, R G Senanayake, the Minister of Trade and Trade and cousin of Sir John Kotelawala, resigned from his ministry on 10 July 1954, shortly before Budget Day. He refused the appointment of Sir Oliver Goonetilake as Governor General of Ceylon. He also considered that the removal of most Indians from electoral registers was entirely justified and that the resulting political benefits in the 1952 elections should not be jeopardized by concessions that would increase the chances of Indians obtaining citizenship under the laws introduced in 1948 and 1949. It took fourteen years to reach a satisfactory agreement between India and Ceylon on outstanding issues. When I became Prime Minister, I was determined to succeed where my predecessors had failed. The result was the so-called Nehru Kotelawala Pact. This was not a final agreement, but marked the beginning of a definitive progress in this direction. Unfortunately, the pact has not been implemented satisfactorily.

In 1948, ceylon`s new government made further concessions to the new Indian government, but no agreement could be reached, despite the broadest consultation between the two governments. The 1948 and 1949 Citizenship Act, the 1948 Citizenship Act No. 18, and the Indian and Pakistan Residents (Citizenship) Act No. 3 of 1949 — were the largest concessions the Ceylon government was prepared to make. This concession went far beyond the views of many government supporters, particularly in Kandyan provinces. “It has been proposed that sinhalese be the official language and that Tamil be the regional language.” I strongly agree with Mr Hon for Ruwanwella that the production of Tamil as a regional language will ultimately lead to some form of federal government. What are the Tamil regions of this country? Do you think they are limited to the northern and eastern provinces? All areas in which Tamils are located in the provinces of Central, Uva and Sabaragamuwa could be claimed for this purpose as Tamil or Tamil areas.

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