26 MARCH 1977, Page 18

Scorn and ridicule?

Sir: In his review (5 February) of Taki Theodoracopulos's The Greek Upheaval, Mr Christopher Hitchens says a number of strange things—among them a reference to me, which [now correct. He wrote, 'William F. Buckley, . . . only last year had to climb down after a column of his in the International Herald Tribune, scorning allegations of junta torture as unproven, had become the target of scholarly ridicule.'

The column in question was primarilY about Chile. In respect,of Greece, I wrote: 'Why don't we, now that the colonels are

safely in jail and Greece has returned to democratic government, get a final report [on torturer Why doesn't the governmeni of Greece conduct an appropriate investigation ? Or, better still, authorise the

International Commission of Jurists to conduct it ? Why not discover who was right ? [I.e., those who insisted there was, systematic torture, and those who denied it.] If there is irony in that passage, let alone scorn, it takes the fine magnetometer of Mr,

Hitchens to discover it. What then happened

is that I received three letters reminding rue that the Karamanlis government prosecuted

and achieved convictions for torture in 3 trial in midsummer 1975. If there was scholarly ridicule of my first column, I invite Mr Hitchens to say where it appeared' If you wish me to prove that I can be scornful, permit me to say that I wonder at the

nature of the satisfaction so obviouslY

derived by those who for ideological reasons hope that torture is being committed, the better to nurse their prejudices. Nothing would more gravely disappoint such as Mr, Hitchens should a few of the victims 01 Chilean torture divulge that their agony was invention.

Wm F. Buckley National Review, 150 East 35th Street, New York