Louis Fischer (1896-1970)


  • Foreign relations journalist (reported from Soviet Union for 14 years) who worked to promote Indian independence cause in the U.S.
  • Met extensively with Gandhi and later published a biography, The Life of Mahatma Gandhi (1950), which the Oscar-winning movie is based on

Primary Sources

The Great Challenge. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1946.

  • Includes account of Fischer’s, May 1942 trip to India and his meetings with Nehru and Gandhi
  • “No one imagines that independence will solve all of the problems of India. It will create problems. Freedom merely opens the door to the solution of the problems” (135).

The Life of Mahatma Gandhi. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1950.

  • Ch. 38 “My Week with Gandhi”
  • Gandhi gave Fischer a letter to deliver to Roosevelt. Gandhi later asked if Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms: “include the freedom to be free?” (376)

Drew Pearson (1897-1969)

Drew Pearson, 1954, Courtesy of the Library of Congress

  • wrote the popular syndicated political column, “Washington Merry-Go-Round,” for the Washington Post from the 1930s until 1969
  • on July 25, 1944, published a leaked letter written by William Phillips, criticizing the British stance on Indian Independence
  • held a weekly radio program from 1938-1955

Pearson, Washington Post, July 25, 1944




Reference Source

American National Biography, profile


Oliver Pilat, Drew Pearson: An Unauthorized Biography. New York: Harper’s Magazine Press, 1973.

Primary Sources

Papers, Lyndon B. Johnson Library, University of Texas, Austin.

Diaries, 1949-1959. Ed. Tyler Abell New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1974.

“Confessions of an S.O.B.,” Saturday Evening Post, November 3, 1956, pg. 23-25, 87-91, 94. (4 Part Series)

  • “The luck really began when I was able to publish, during the latter part of the war, the secret report written to Roosevelt by his special ambassador to India, William Phillips, recommending independence or dominion status for India.  Phillips reasoned that if India were given some inspiration to fight, she could raise enough troops to crack the Japanese from from Burma and the south, thereby saving many American lives. Thanks to a State Department official who wanted to see American lives saved, I was able to obtain and publish that report, together with some intercepted British cables, declaring that Ambassador Phillips, never again would be permitted in India. I think my publication hastened dominion status for India, but in any case it made the British see red” (88, 90).