Bandaranaike – Chelvanayakam Pact, July

Part A
Representatives of the Federal Party had a series of discussions with the Prime Minister in an
effort to resolve the differences of opinion that had been growing and creating tension.

At the early stages of these conversations it became evident that it was not possible for the
Prime Minister to accede to some of the demands of the Federal Party.

The Prime Minister stated that, from the point of view of the Government, he was not in a
position to discuss the setting up of a Federal Constitution, or regional autonomy or any step
which would abrogate the Official Language Act.

The question then arose whether it was possible to explore the possibility of an adjustment
without the Federal Party abandoning or surrendering any of its fundamental principles or

At this stage the Prime Minister suggested an examination of the government’s Draft
Regional Council Bill to see whether provisions can be made under it to meet, reasonably,
some of the matters in this regard which the Federal Party had in view.

The agreements so reached are embodied in a separate document.

Regarding the language the Federal Party reiterated its stand for parity but in view of the
position of the Prime Minister in this matter they came to an agreement by way of an
adjustment. They pointed out that it was important for them that there would be a recognition
of Tamil as a national language and that the administrative work in of the Northern and the
Eastern Provinces should be done in Tamil.

The Prime Minister stated that as mentioned by him earlier it was not possible for him to take
any steps that would abrogate the Official Language Act.

Use of Tamil; After discussions it was agreed that the proposed legislation should contain
recognition of Tamil as the language of a national minority of Ceylon and that the four points
mentioned by Prime Minister should include provision that, without infringing on the
position of the Official Language as such, the language of administration of the Northern And
Eastern Provinces be Tamil, and any necessary provision be made for non-Tamil speaking
minorities in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

Regarding the question of Ceylon citizenship for the people of Indian descent and the
Citizenship Act, the representatives of the Federal Party forwarded their views to the Prime
Minister and pressed for an early settlement.

The Prime Minister indicated that this problem would receive early consideration.

In view of these conclusions the Federal Party stated that they were withdrawing their
proposed satyagraha.

Part B
1. Regional areas to be defined in the Bill itself by embodying them in the Schedule thereto.

2. That the Northern Province is to form one regional area whilst the Eastern Province is to be
divided into one or more regional areas.

3. Provision is to be made in the Bill to enable two or more regions to amalgamate even
beyond provincial limit; and for one region to divide itself subject to ratification by
Parliament. Further provision is to be made in the Bill for two or more regions to collaborate
for specific purposes of common interests.

4. Provision is to be made for the direct election of Regional councillors. Provision is to be
made for a delimitation commission or commissions for carving out electorates. The
question of MPs representing districts falling within regional areas to be eligible to function
as chairman is to be considered. The question of Government Agents being Regional
Commissioners is to be considered. The question of supervisory functions over larger towns,
strategic towns and municipalities is to be looked into.

5. Parliament is to delegate powers and specify them in the Act. It was agreed that regional
councils should have powers over specified subjects including agriculture, cooperatives,
lands and land developments, colonisation, education, health, industries, fisheries, housing,
social services, electricity, water schemes and roads. Requisite definition of powers be made
in the Bill

6. It was agreed that in the matter of colonisation schemes the powers of the regional councils
shall include the powers to select allottees to whom land within their area of authority shall
be alienated and also power to select personnel to be employed for work on such schemes.
The position regarding the area at present administered by the Gal Oya Board in this matter
requires consideration.

7. The powers in regard to the Regional councils vested in the Minister of Local Government
in the draft bill to be revised with a view to vesting control in Parliament wherever necessary.

8. The Central Government will provide block grants to the regional councils. The principles
on which the grants will be computed will be gone into. The regional councils shall have
powers of taxation and borrowing.