18 JANUARY 1957, Page 19


SIR,—One hesitates to cross swords with a former Prime Minister writing about a former Foreign Minister, especially when it is to contradict his high opinion of someone for whom one felt warm affec- tion—but, really, Lord Attlee's estimate of Jan Masaryk is deeply mistaken. - As Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart so honestly points out, Jan Masaryk was a faithful follower both of his father and of President Benes., He was never as revered as his father and could never have replaced Dr. Benes as Head of State. If he had done so, he would certainly have been even less able to hold out against the maneeuvre (which took place in Moscow when the Czechoslovak Provisional Government went there in 1944-45) by which Communists got hold of all the key posts in the Czechoslovak Government. And it was Jan Masaryk, and Jan Masaryk alone of all the democratic Ministers in that Government, who went in with Bencs when he let the Communists seize power in February, 1948.

Jan Masaryk was a charming, gifted and lovable man. He was not a strong leader, could never have been a great statesman.—Yours faithfully,


Bailey Green, Needham Market, Suffolk