18 FEBRUARY 1949, Page 20


SIR,—No one who has lived in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan can fail to agree with the grave strictures recently passed upon the horrible practice of female circumcision customary in that country, nor that the continuance of this deplorable rite is largely due to the great influence wielded by the older women. I would, however, respectfully suggest to your correspon- dent, Mr. Michael Langley, that mixed though the blood of the Sudanese may be, there is no admixture of Indian race, and any Middle-Eastern women who are likely to be more " progressive " than the Sudanese them- selves would also be regarded as aliens. On the other hand, the devoted band of British women which has for years taught and trained midwives and nurses and teachers among the Sudanese girls has their fullest trust. These trained girls are the ones to spread enlightenment among their own people.

It is surely, Sir, as was pointed out recently in The Times by Sir Angus Gillan, the business of the Sudanese themselves, now for the first time largely responsible for the administration of their country, to do all they can to encourage and increase female education and enlightenment throughout the land, and thereby spread among all their people a willing- ness to discard what is both hateful and racially harmful among their customs.—I am, Sir, yours faithfully, . ANNETTE KENNEDY COOKE. Newlands, Warlingham.