22 DECEMBER 1939, Page 21

THE TREATMENT OF PRISONERS SIR, —I hate to disagree with "

Janus," but I was somewhat saddened by his remarks about the reception given by British sailors to submarine prisoners. The sailors doubtless felt a sense of comradeship with men who face the same death as they do themselves ; who must act in obedience to orders, and who, in some cases, before the arming of merchant ships, have shown humanity at great risk to themselves. And even if " Janus " could prove that these particular men had not deserved the spontaneous welcome back to life given them by our sailors, would it be a matter for blame or regret in the world of today if somewhere there had been an excess of kindness?—Yours faithfully,

["janus " writes : " In some cases I honestly think it would. There is a place for stern condemnation as well as for generous condonation. I admit that it is difficult to distin- guish the cases. But about airmen who deliberately come down and machine-gun fishing-smacks (to take one example) I feel no doubt at all."]