London, Sept.20 : Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill wanted to eliminate "bad man" Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of India's freedom struggle.
Second World War archives reveal a conversation that Churchill had with South African leader Field Marshal Jan Christian Smuts, which showed the former blaming the latter for Britain's troubles in India.
On one occasion, Churchill told Smuts: "You are responsible for all our troubles in India - you had Gandhi for years and did not do away with him."
According to The Telegraph, Smuts replied: "When I put him in prison - three times - all Gandhi did was to make me a pair of bedroom slippers."
When Mahatma Gandhi went on hunger strike during the war, Churchill told his Cabinet: "Gandhi should not be released on the account of a mere threat of fasting. We should be rid of a bad man and an enemy of the Empire if he died."
Churchill was informed by a ministerial colleague Grigg that Gandhi was getting glucose in his orange juice, and another cabinet minister said 'he had oil rubbed into him which was nutritious', allowing Churchill to claim that 'it is apparently not a fast merely a change of diet.'
According to the Churchill Archives at Cambridge, which are now being used as a reference for a new book on correspondence and conversations that took place during the height of the Second World War, Churchill usually wanted to adopt the most extreme option.
For example, in response to the Lidice massacre in Chelmno, Czechoslovakia - in which the Nazis had killed hundreds of villagers in retribution for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, Churchill 'suggested wiping out German villages (three for one) by air attack', proposing that one hundred bombers would be required to drop incendiaries from low levels in bright moonlight on three unprotected German villages, with the reason announced afterwards.
On that occasion the Cabinet blocked him, and the prime minister concluded: 'I submit (unwillingly) to the view of the Cabinet against.'
Churchill also had his views on Soviet leader Stalin, whom he described as jocular The detailed conversations are in a brown file. The file contains scores of yellow pages written in a crabby calligraphy, employing a shorthand code and hieroglyphic-like marks throughout.
The stain of rusty paper clips and general mustiness of the documents implied that historians had worked through these obscure papers of a minor civil servant since they were deposited at the archive after Churchill diarist Reginald Burgis's death in 1971.