Catalogue description Commonwealth Relations Office and successors: High Commission and Consular Archives, India: Registered Files

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Details of DO 133
Reference: DO 133
Title: Commonwealth Relations Office and successors: High Commission and Consular Archives, India: Registered Files

This series contains records of the high commission in New Delhi, with some files reflecting the work of the deputy high commissioners in Bombay, Calcutta and Madras.

Date: 1946-1971
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Commonwealth Office, High Commission for India, 1966-1968

Commonwealth Relations Office, High Commission for India, 1947-1966

Foreign and Commonwealth Office, High Commission for India, 1968-

Physical description: 232 file(s)
Access conditions: Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:

From 1981 Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Accruals: No further accruals expected
Administrative / biographical background:

The High Commission in India was set up in 1947 with headquarters in New Delhi, to deal with Anglo-Indian relations after Independence. In its early years its principle functions were to watch and report on all aspects of Indian development and policy, both internal and external, and to represent all UK interests in India. Formal consular functions at first were specifically excluded, as being the province of Indian officials until such time as the Indian Government introduced separate citizenship and passport arrangements.

During the period of India's transition to Independence, the high commissioner and the viceroy (succeeded by the governor-general) acted in close liaison, the high commissioner being responsible for representing the British government in any negotiations and joint action with the Indian government.

The functions of the three deputy high commissioners in the outposts of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were defined as:

  • (i) to represent the UK generally in their districts
  • (ii) to keep the high commissioner informed of events and conditions in their districts
  • (iii) to coordinate UK official activities in their districts
  • (iv) in conjunction with the trade commissioners, to protect UK business and commercial interests
  • (v) to maintain contact with and provide quasi consular services for the British community in their districts

The quasi consular functions were broadly the same as those performed by British consuls all over the world, except that they were not to include the performance and registration of marriages, notarial acts, health reporting, or certain matters connected with shipping.

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