27 APRIL 1951, Page 5


/WAS standing on the Wahn aerodrome, near Cologne, on Monday morning with a group of M.P.s when the plane from London arrived. One Labour Member hurried across to ask an alighting passenger whether he had any English papers. Two were thrust into his hand, with an expression of satisfaction on Mr. Bevan's resignation too forcible to be recorded here. Little time was lost in getting to the heart of the matter, and one of the group read out the letters exchanged between the resigning Minister and the Premier, the latter's evoking universal and vociferous admiration. In a third of the space Mr. Bevan had occupied Mr. Attlee had won the first trick hands down. In its brevity and simplicity the letter was masterly. In that field at least the Prime Minister has undisputed domination. But the Prime Minister wrote another letter—to another Minister who has abandoned him. Why have we not seen the text of that ? Because, according to the B.B.C.'s statement on Monday night, Mr. Harold Wilson had asked that his correspondence with the Prime Minister should not receive public scrutiny. Again, why ? The answer to that can only be conjectured. Indeed it had better be interrogative. Could it be that Mr. Attlee. having got his hand in as a letter-writer, had improved his style at the expense of a Minister on whose defection he possibly held stronger views than on Mr. Bevan's. If so the public has missed something.