13 SEPTEMBER 1975, Page 4

Causes in Portugal

Sir: Whenever a political cause becomes the object of popular enthusiasm, that cause tends to become obscured by idealism. One can readily understand Conservative enthusiasm felt for the fight of the righteous Portuguese against the more unpleasant elements in their nation: for the first time since the Second World War, it seems that Communism and all its associated evils may be about to suffer a humiliating reverse. However, it is vital that we remember that the Portuguese resistance movement consists primarily of socialists, and that the Catholic-Monarchist elements (about whom we hear so much) are in a tiny overall minority. Even if Portugal does free itself from Marxist tyranny, it will still be governed by extreme socialists.

Any young 'Englishman who dashes to arms in defence of all that is noble, honourable, legitimate and holy in Portugal, may well find that he has merely helped to establish Portugal on the road to "democratic socialism", and that (1 am sure Michael Calvert — Spectator letters August 30 — will agree) would be a total waste of time.

The Labour Party once made the foolish mistake of supporting Communists in Chile: let not the Conservatives end by supporting socialism (of any sort) in Portugal!

C. N. Jordan 41 Scotton Street, Wye, Kent