20 SEPTEMBER 1969, Page 32

France's leap forward

Sir: I get my SPECTATOR upwards of a month late, but there are incidental advantages in being thus behind the times. I have just received the 12 July issue and open it to read Crabro, that pseudonymous sage who seems to me to be piling up an alarming record of errors in his young career as crystal-gazer. 'It is always pleasing to the layman when the experts fall flat on their faces,' he begins, thus neatly supplying me with my point. He proceeds to predict the demise of French devaluation. By the time it got to me, Crabro's piece was absurd. Query : does the SPECTATOR owe me a rebate for the number of columns rendered obsolete and foolish by the time they reach me, over- taken by the march of events? It is no small number. (Ineligibility for competitions is another loss. There should be an overseas division.) Or does my pleasure at your experts falling flat compensate for this loss?

Roland N. Stromberg Fox Point, Wisconsin, USA Crabro writes : To say that 'the certainty of an early devaluation . . . is no longer taken for granted' hardly amounts to a prediction of 'the demise of French devaluation', particularly when it is accompanied by the statement that 'some of those concerned with long-term economic planning make out a case for a "draconian" devaluation . . The point which my article was seeking to make was that prediction of a forced devaluation following the trouble of May 1968 had been falsified by events. So little was the devalu- ation of 8 August a forced devaluation that it took everybody by surprise—not least Crabro.