The King inaugurated the first Round Table conference in the Royal Gallery of the House of Lords on the 12th of November 1930. The total number of members attending this conference was eighty-nine, which included sixteen representatives of the three political parties of Britain and sixteen from the Princely States of India. The remaining fifty-seven were from the political parties of India. The conference was attended by prominent Muslim leaders like Jinnah, Shafi, Aga Khan and Muhammad Ali along with Hindu liberals such as Sastri, Sapru and Jayakar.The Sikhs, the depressed classes, the Anglo-Indians and the Christians were all represented.
All except the Congress were present, but the absence of the Congress representatives created a major obstacle in the way of any substantial progress that could have been made by the conference, as it was the largest and most active party operating in the sub-continent.
Jinnah and other prominent Muslim Leaders e.g., Shafi, Agha Khan, and Muhammad Ali along with representatives of all classes of British India attended the conference, except Congress.
The Quaid persuaded Lord Irwin to attend the conference but he was unable to do so due to his hectic schedule in India. It was confirmed in the conference that the system of government in the Center would be federal. However, the demand of the Indians to give India Dominion status as soon as possible got a somewhat lukewarm response from the British.
Ramsay MacDonald, the Prime Minister of Britain in his concluding statement said:
“It is the duty of the communities to come to an agreement” And also,
“Those engaged at present in civil disobedience should also try and cooperate with the government. Jinnah complained about the delay being made in giving India self-rule to which the British responded saying that all the parties in India must be consulted, implying the Congress, which was not present. Jinnah was exasperated by this and said that as far as this issue was concerned the Congress was in agreement with all the other parties of India. He said:
“Seventy million of Muslims-all, barring a few individuals here and there- have kept aloof from the non-cooperation movement. Thirty-five or forty millions of depressed classes have set their face against the non-cooperation movement. Sikhs and Christians have not joined it. Do you want every one of the parties who have still maintained that their proper place is to go to this Conference, and across the table to negotiate and come to a settlement which will satisfy the aspirations of India, to go back and join the rest?”