In early 1942, the war situation compelled the British to open talks with the Indian leaders. The British forces had suffered heavy defeats at the hands of the Japanese army in many countries of south-east Asia. The Japanese also conducted air raids on some parts of India. At this time Sir Stafford Cripps, a British minister, came to India to hold talks with Indian leaders. This is known as the Cripps mission. The talks, however, failed. The British were not willing to agree to the formation of a truly national government. They also tried to promote the interests of the princes. While they agreed to the demand for a constituent assembly, they insisted that the Indian states in the assembly would be represented by the nominees of the princes, and that the people of the states would have no representation on it.
Proposals of Cripps Mission
• An Indian Union with a dominion status; would be set up; it would be free to decide its relations with the Commonwealth and free to participate in the United Nations and other international bodies.
• After the end of the war, a constituent assembly would be convened to frame a new constitution. Members of this assembly would be partly elected by the provincial assemblies through proportional representation and partly nominated by the princes.
• The British Government would accept the new constitution only on the following conditions :(a) any province not willing to join the Union could have a separate constitution and form a separate Union, and (b) the new constitution- making body and the British Government would negotiate a treaty to effect the transfer of power and to safeguard racial and religious minorities.
• The post of governor-general’s would remain intact and defence of India would remain in British hands.
Hence, Mission was sent to seek the full support of Indian to the British in Second World War. So, Stafford Cripps returned home leaving behind a frustrated and embittered Indian people, who, though still sympathising with the victims of Fascist aggression, felt that the existing situation in the country had become intolerable and that the time had come for a final assault on imperialism.