Bandaranayake Chelvanayakam Pact
The Pact was signed between SWRD Bandaranaike, Prime Minister of Sri
Lanka and SJV Chelavanayakam, Tamil leader on 25 July 1957. It was later
abrogated, within less than a year,
on 9 April 1958.
Reproduced below is the text of the Pact.
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 an early stage 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 take any step that would abrogate the Official
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 objectives.
At this stage the Prime Minister suggested an examination of the government’s
Draft Regional Council Bill to see whether provision could 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 issue, 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 adjustment. They pointed
out that it was important for them there would be a recognition of Tamil
as a national language and that the administration 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
After discussion it was agreed that the proposed legislation should
contain recognition of Tamil as the language of the 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 that any necessary provision be made
for the non-Tamil speaking minorities in the Northern and eastern Provinces.
Regarding the question of Ceylon citizenship for the people of Indian
descent and the revision of the Citizenship Act, the representatives
of the Federal Party put forward their views to the Prime Minister and
pressed for an early settlement.
The Prime Minister indicated that the problem could receive early consideration.
In view of these conclusions the Federal Party stated that they were
withdrawing their proposed satyagraha.
1. Regional areas to be defined in the bill itself by embodying them
in a Schedule thereto.