The Cabinet Mission Plan started with the arrival of Lord Pethick-Lawrence, Secretary of State for India, who, on February 19, 1946, declared in Parliament that a special mission comprising of three Cabinet ministers, in association with the Viceroy, would proceed to India, in order to hold negotiations with the Indian leaders. The three Cabinet ministers would be Pethick Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps and A.V. Alexander. Cripps told the press conference on landing at Karachi on March 23 that the objective of the mission was “to get machinery set up for framing the constitutional arrangement in which the Indians will have full control of their destiny and the formation of a new interim government.” The Mission arrived in Delhi on March 24 and left on June 29.
The Muslim League accepted the cabinet mission plan on June 6 1946. Earlier, the Congress had accepted the plan on May 24, 1946, though it overruled the interim setup.
The Viceroy should now have invited the Muslim League to form Government as it had accepted the interim setup; but he did not do so.
Meanwhile Jawaharlal Nehru, addressing a press conference on July 10, said that the Congress had agreed to join the constituent assembly, but saying it would be free to make alterations in the Cabinet Mission Plan.
It became clear that the prolonged negotiations carried out for about three months by the Cabinet Mission did not show up in a League-Congress understanding, or in the formation of an interim Government. Towards the end of June, the Cabinet Mission left for England, their mission unfulfilled. It had, however not been a complete failure. It was clear to the Indians that the acceptance of the demand for Pakistan would be an essential part of any future settlement of the Indian knotty. In the meantime, the League and the Congress were getting ready for elections to the Constituent Assembly.