2 MARCH 1991, Page 24

Relief from Kuwait

Sir: No commentator upon the war in the Gulf has remarked that it must strike a chord in the heart of John Profumo.

As Christopher Booker wrote in The Neophiliacs: July 1961 began with another crisis in the Middle East, the threat by Iraq to invade the tiny sheikdom of Kuwait, from which Britain bought 40 per cent of her oil . . . Although the invasion threat never materialised, the opera- tion was from a British point of view far from a success. Troops fainted in dozens from the sweltering heat and in London the Operation's direction was marked by constant rivalry between the Minister of Defence and John Profumo's War Ministry. On Saturday 8 July, in the middle of a sultry weekend, Profumo left the strain of the crisis, which was already dying down, to join a weekend party at Cliveden . . It was late that evening that he met the Soviet Naval Attaché, Eugene Iva- nov, and Christine Keeler, who were spending the weekend at the nearby cottage rented by Stephen Ward.

Christopher Hawtree

42 West 58th Street, New York, USA