Emanuel Celler Papers

Papers: ca. 1924-1973. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.

The following is a list of the documents that I felt were relevant to my project. I’ve included either excerpts or paraphrased the documents or noted that I made a copy of the document itself. Anything in bold indicates it is particularly significant.

Box 48: Subject File: J.J. Singh, correspondence, August 1951-December 1956

Speech of Sirdar J.J. Singh, President, India League of America, delivered at the evening Plenary Session of the Colgate University Conference on American Foreign Policy, Hamilton, NY, on Sunday, July 22, 1951.

  • “The topic was ‘the Role of the United Nations in Asia.’ The other participant was Senator Leverett Satonstall.” [JJ’s status as an expert, speaking opposite a senator]
  • “I was in San Francisco at the time of the United Nations Conference on International Organization.  I covered this conference as a special correspondent for several Indian newspapers.  I cabled hundreds of words every day to my papers.  I was there from the day it opened until the day it closed.  I watched the trials and tribulations of the organizers and the participants, and the reactions of the general public to the activities of the conference. Those of us who were at the San Francisco conference—the birthplace of the United Nations—will never forget the exciting and stimulating time we had. (1)”

J.J. Singh to Emanuel Celler, April 18, 1952 [copy]

Emanuel Celler to J.J. Singh, January 29, 1953

  • “Dear J.J.: Whatever happened to the Gandhi Memorial and the India League? The State Department has been asking me this question. With kindest personal regards, I am, Sincerely yours, Emanuel Celler”

Business Card reads “J.J. Singh” in a stylized font, with “New York City” in the lower right-hand corner. [copy]

  • On the card, J.J. wrote: “Mannie: I thought you might like to have this. JJ” [JJ’s signature is two loopy j’s]

The following resolution was adopted by the Executive Committee of the India League of America on Tuesday, April 10, 1956:

  • The ILA is dedicated to “creating understanding and friendship between the people of India and the people of the United States”
  • However, “government to government aid has unfortunately created misunderstanding and resentment both in India and the United States,” and so the ILA recommends that the US send aid through international agencies, like the UN, to improve the relationship between the 2 countries

Box 497: Subject File: India-correspondence, 1944-1947

J.J. Singh to Emanuel Celler, April 11, 1945 [copy]

  • “Dear Mr. Celler”—more formal?

For immediate release Wednesday, March 21, 1945, “India and San Francisco Conference,” from the India League of America

  • “Direct words from India of intense resentment at the appointment of three ‘collaborationists’ to repred[s]ent India at the San Francisco Conference was received here yesterday by Sirdar J.J. Singh, president of the India League of America. Mr. Singh made public the text of a statement he received from C. Rajagopalachari (C.R.) famous India moderate leader, and former Premier of Madras called for a reconsideration of the appointments. … Commenting on C.R.’s statement and the appointments, Mr. Singh said: ‘we know that the future of the world peace depends of effective international cooperation, but the San Francisco Conference will be building on a foundation of sand if it accepts the Viceroy’s appointees as representatives of India’s 390 million people.  These three titled collaborationists have no following whatsoever anywhere in India.  They represent nobody but the Governor General who appointed them and by whose grace they will be permitted to come here.  At San Francisco they can accept no obligations for the people of India.  An Indian government with popular support, which is bound to come in the near future, may very well repudiate them. These men are persona non grata with Indians’” (1-2).

Emanuel Celler to Pearl S. Buck, February 26, 1946, Western Union

  • “gladly” accepts invitation to put name on cable to Prime Minister Atlee as well as placing the cable and names of signatories in the Congressional Record
  • The cable, signed by Buck, Louis Fischer, and J.J. Singh, urges the British to help instate an interim Indian government

*Emanuel Celler to Pearl S. Buck, J.J. Singh, Richard J. Walsh, January 18, 1945

  • “Dear Friends: In reply to your letter of January 12th, I herewith give you a message for the celebration of India Independence Day of January 26th. The World cannot exist half free and half slave.  India is now enslaved.  Its shackles must be removed.  Only then can she politically and economically breathe freely.  We in America deeply sympathize with India’s plight. But sympathy is not enough.  There must be developed here such a militant public opinion that England cannot resist. The coming of Mrs. Pandit is helpful. We welcome her as a sister.  Even so we welcome her brother. Yours very sincerely,”

Emanuel Celler to Henry Buck, New York, June 3, 1947

  • “there is the need for the consummation of a trea[t]y of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation between India and the United States. Knowing your interest in India, I thought you might use one or more of your publications to present this matter to the public.”
  • “My interest in India is unflagging and I want to present in concrete from my desire to aid India and thereby aid the United States. There is very little known about India in the United States and vice versa.  You might be the medium through which both countries would get to know each other better.”

Dr. Anup Singh to Emanuel Celler, Washington, July 11, 1947

  • “Many thanks for your kind sentiments about my new appointment in the Embassy of India.  I shall be very happy to drop in to see you one of these days.  I am counting upon the cooperation of good friends of India like yourself in my new responsibility.”

Emanuel Celler to Jawaharlal Nehru, New Delhi, July 14, 1947, telegram [copy]

Emanuel Celler to Honorable William L. Clayton, Under Secretary of the State, Washington, 1947?

  • K.A.D. Naoroji= “president of Tata, Inc, 90 Broad Street, New York, is the direct representative of the famous group of Tata industries in India.”

Box 498: Subject File: India League of America

Excerpts from speeches made on the occasion of the Farewell-Public Meeting of the India League of America, held on Wednesday, February 11, 1959, at the Community Church of New York, 40 East 35th Street, New York [copy]

Excerpts from remarks made, on messages received, on the occasion of a Farewell Dinner by the India League of America in honor of Sirdar J.J. Singh, President of the India League, on Monday. February 23, 1959 at Ceylon India Inn, 148 West 49th Street, New York [copy]

Messages received for Farewell-Public Meeting [copy]

  • Includes messages from Emanuel Celler, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, former Postmaster General of the United States James. A Farley, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator J.W. Fulbright, Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Representative James G. Fulton, U.N. Representative in India and Pakistan Dr. Frank P. Graham, Minister Emeritus of The Community Church Dr. John Haynes Holmes, Publisher of Time, Life, Fortune Henry R. Luce, Senator Karl E. Mundt, Assistant Secretary of State William M. Rountree

Congressional Record, Appendix, February 9 [copy]

Invitation to ILA Farewell Meeting [copy]

J.J. Singh to Emanuel Celler, Washington, January 26, 1959 [copy]

J.J. Singh to Emanuel Celler, Washington, May 24, 1951 [copy]

Box 500: Subject File: India-J.J. Singh, 1946-69

“India-America Relations” by J.J. Singh [copy]

Messages of Greetings on the 70th birthday of J.J. Singh

  • 22 pages of magazine-quality and size that tncludes messages from President Zakir Husain, Pearl S. Buck, Asstt. Sec, U.N. Ralph J. Bunche, President of India International Centre Dr. C.D. Deshmukh, Chief Minister of the Punjab State S. Gurnam Singh, journalist Shiva Rao, Minister for Food & Agriculture Jagjivan Ram, John A. Roosevelt, Chairman, Cowles Communications Inc. and Publisher “LOOK” Magazine, Mike Cowles, John D. Rockefeller III, Social Leader of America Norman Thomans, Senator Karl E. Mundt, Kashmir Leader Mirza Afzal BEG, Congressman Emanuel Celler, Dr. Anup Singh, many Indian leaders, Editor-in-chief of the Hindustan Times S. Mulgaokar, U.S. Ambassador to India Chester Bowles, former U.S. Ambassador to India John Kenneth Galbraith, U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Vice President Hubert H. Humphery, Sec. General of the United Nations U. Thant

Jawaharlal Nehru to J.J. Singh, February 18, 1959 [copy]

  • about end of the ILA

Indira Gandhi to J.J. Singh, February 19, 1959 [copy]

J.J. Singh to Emanuel Celler, April 10, 1946 [copy]

  • about Immigration Bill

Vol. 6, No. 3, June 1945

“British Move to Solve India Deadlock” (full first three pages)

  • Reports on release of political prisoners (including Nehru), the Wavell Plan, the Simla Conference, and India’s reaction to the British actions.

“The League and the Wavell Offer”

  • Cites Richard J. Walsh, the Chairman of the Executive Committee, and J.J. Singh’s reactions to the Wavell plan. Both welcome the Nehru’s release, but categorize the new plan as regressive and analogous to the failed 1942 Cripps plan.


Vol. 6, No. 1, April 1945

“Franklin D. Roosevelt”

India Today, Vol. 6, No. 1, April 1945

Full page on “India and San Francisco Conference,” denouncing the appointment Sir Ramaswami Mudaliar, Sir Firoz Khan Noon and Sir V.T. Krisnamachari as the Indian delegates to the conference.

  • The India League sent the Secretary of State a resolution expressing this sentiment, stating: “we share in the protests already voiced in India against the choice of three delegates from India who in no sense represent the people of the country but are merely appointed by the foreign power which rules them.”

Full page on “Indian Newspaper Correspondents and San Francisco,” reporting on how the British Government rescinded their original ban on the attendance of Indian correspondents due to “the pressure of public opinion both in this country and in India.”

  • On April 16, J.J. Singh sent a telegram to the Secretary of State, which read: “As an American organization, believing in freedom of the press, we are greatly disturbed to learn…that the Indian Government has required the three Indian newspaper correspondents who were selected by the All India Newspaper Editors’ Conference, to abandon their plans of going to San Francisco.”

Vol. 2, No. 9, December Holiday Number, 1941

“India League Telegram to President Roosevelt” (first article)

India Today, Vol. 2, No. 9, December 1941

“Atlantic Charter and India”

  • Excerpts the reactions of the India Council of State, the Premier of Punjab Sir Sikander Hyat Khan, Supreme Court Justic Dr. M.R. Jayakar and President of the Hindu Mahasabha V.D. Savarkar–“moderates outside of the Indian National Congress”–to Churchill’s interpretation of Article 3 of the Atlantic Charter
  • All emphasize its negative effect on Indian support of Britain in the war

“India League’s Activities in 1941”

  • Held 22 meetings which included: “3 general meetings; 12 executive committee meetings; 4 banquets; 2 memorial meetings and one special emergency meeting”
  • On December 21, elected officers: J.J. Singh (President), Abraham Choudry (Vice-President), Dr. Anup Singh (Secetary and Director of Research Bureau), Hemendra K. Rakhit (Treasurer), U.S. Bannerje, N.R. Checker, Nirza Jaffer (members of Exec. Committee)

America’s Contributions to India’s Freedom

Muzumdar, Haridas. America’s Contributions to India’s Freedom. Allahabad, India: Vanguard Press, 1962.

  • The recollections of Dr. Haridas T. Muzumdar, a close associate of Gandhi and an Indian-American who worked to gain American support for India’s freedom.
  • “Hossain, Anup and I looked upon ourselves as crusaders for India’s freedom first and as professional lecturers or writers second” (28).

India League of America

  • “While Syud Hossain, Anup Singh, Shridharani and I had been doing significant work on behalf of India in our individual capacities, it seemed to me in the mid-thirties that an organized effort to promote India’s cause might be in order” (42)= founding of the India League of America with Mr. N. R. Checker as president and Muzumdar as secretary.
  • “The team of J.J. and Anup Singh, with Mr. Hemendra K. Rakhit, made the India League a beehive of activities” (43)
  • “Through his business contacts and with businesslike methods, Mr. J.J. Singh brought new blood into the organization. American citizens were invited to become members and were elected to serve on the Executive Board.  This lent prestige to the organization and made it more effective” (43).
  • After Anup Singh left the League to help found the National Committee for India’s Independence in Washington, DC, William D. Allen replaced him as editor of India Today: “I [Muzumdar] know of no American who has made greater sacrifices…for India’s cause that William D. Allen” (44).

The National Committee for India’s Independence

  • Members of India Lobby felt a need to have an organization based in Washington, DC and so founded the National Committee at the end of 1943 with Dr. Syud Hossain as president, Muzumdar as V.P., K. Shridharani as the second V.P., and Anup Singh as secretary (44).
  • *Membership restricted to Indians (Hess, 122)
  • “The Voice of India, the monthly published by the National Committee under Dr. Anup Singh’s competent editorship, immediately made India’s freedom on the the issues of the war” (45)

U.N. San Francisco Conference

  • “The most significant job of public relations on behalf of India was performed by the charming Madam Vijayalakshmi Pandit….She pretty nearly played the role of the unofficial representative of India to the U.N.” (46)

Sirdar Jagjit “J.J.” Singh (1897-1976)

Courtesy of the New York Times

  • owner of “India Arts and Crafts,” import shop at 14 East 56th Street, New York
  • U.S. resident since 1926
  • president of Indian League of America, 1941(membership totaled 26 (Venkataramani, 9))-1959;


Shaplen, Robert. “Profiles: One-Man Lobby,” New Yorker Magazine, March 24, 1950, 35-55.

Primary Sources

Papers located in the Jawaharlal Nehru University Library, New Delhi

Mazumdar, Haridas. America’s Contributions to India’s Freedom. New York: Dell, 1960.

30 articles or letters to the editors of major national American newspapers

  • Ex. J.J. Singh, “India Remains Wary,” New York Times, May 7, 1944.

Reflections of Malti Singh (part 1, part 2)

Singh, Malti.  “J.J. Singh: India’s Man in the United States; An Indian American’s campaign to `influence the influencers’.” India Abroad,  August 1, 1997; “J.J. Singh: India’s Man in the United States; Campaign focuses on famine relief as freedom dawns.” India Abroad,  August 8, 1997.

  • Malti Saksena, daughter of High Commissioner for India to Canada and former ConsulGeneral in New York, married Singh in October 1951. (“Troth announced of Malti Saksena, NYT, September 20, 1951)