15 DECEMBER 1961, Page 14

SIR,—I believe that utterances like the last para- graph of

Mr. E. Goldsworthy's letter in last week's Spectator do more harm to the cause of nuclear dis- armament than much polemic from the opposing side. The question, as it presents itself to most serious people, is not whether the nuclear deterrent is the most practical way to avoid world Communism, but whether it is the most practical way to avoid the destruction of mankind in nuclear war.

The view that it is, may well be mistaken; and certainly serious arguments can be advanced against it. But to set up, as so many disarmers do, the view which hardly anyone holds that the end of mankind would be preferable to some other disaster and to demolish this with ease and smugness, can only make the disarmers appear either as disingenuous or as silly as the most raucous militarist, and impede the efforts of doubtful and uncommitted people (such as myself) to consider their arguments seriously.