14 NOVEMBER 1958, Page 6

THINK . THAT its warmest admirers—and 1 am one of them—would

agree that the Board 01 Trade Journal is mostly dull.' Thus, Sir Frank Lee, the permanent head of the Department, in this year's Stamp Memorial Lecture. I do not see the Journal, but it does not surprise me, as I have always thought of the Board of Trade as itself hopelessly, incurably dull—so much so that I w: s reluctant to believe that a talk about it would be of other than academic interest, unless tricked out with the meretricious aids of the after-dinner speaker. Having read Sir Frank's lecture, now published by the University of London, 1 realise that I was submitting to old prejudice. It gives a useful, brief description of what the Board of Trade tries to do (and what it tries not to do); but, much more important, it is also an exercise in reasonableness that should be studied by tn cry- body who has the' job of explaining why his organisation exists. And I do not mean that com- mon type of reasonableness which consists of glossing over deficiencies with rationalisations. Sir Frank is concerned to reveal the difficulties, not to excuse the mistakes, of his Department. And he writes as if he enjoyed writing.

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