28 FEBRUARY 1970, Page 25

Philosophic doubt

Sir: I have just seen Nigel Lawson's article on Bertrand Russell in the SPECTATOR of last week (14 February) in which he made the point that Russell made a speech in 1948 in Westminster School Hall where he advo- cated a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Russia before she got the atomic bomb.

I organised the said meeting and Mr Lawson's recollection is entirely correct. In fact we had the greatest difficulty in explain- ing away the more obvious implications to the press, more especially as the then Emer- itus Dean of Gloucester had taken the chair for Lord Russell!

Let me hasten to make plain that we had no idea of what Russell was going to say until he said it.

M. M. Sibthorp Executive Secretary, The David Davies Memorial Institute of International Studies, Thorney House, 32 Smith Square, London swl Sir: I was interested to read in Nigel Lawson's 'Notebook' (14 February) how Bertrand Russell's logic carried to extremes resulted in the anti-logic of a pacifist advo- cating nuclear war.

Perhaps he could also explain how it was that Russell, who had influenced a whole generation to shun conscription and refuse war service, could, when he had gone to the us, then proclaim that Hitler's war was different from all other wars, and should, therefore, be supported?

0. R. Beckett Old Elm Farm, Crouch Lane, Goffs Oak, Herts