19 MAY 1961, Page 13

Day of Dupes lain Hamilton, Ronald J. Fagan, Richard Windsor


Psychiatric Training Kenneth Robinson, MP

The Quality of Mercy Donald W. T. Bruce Printing and the Press Anthony M. Perry Hospitals and Patients

Michael Joyce, E. Holmes, Dr. B. M. H. Pidcock

Asian Discrimination Sri Lanka

Firearms C. Vaughan-Saunders SOS Africa Mrs. J. Grimond

DAY OF DUPES SIR,—Mr. Philip Toynbee really must not obscure the issue with private jokes from his and Mr. Robert Conquest's wild and woolly youth. Who introduced whom to membership of the Communist Party during the long summer of English adolescence is scarcely of much consequence now that everyone, We hope, has grown up. Mr. Toynbee accuses Mr. Conquest of arrogant rudeness in his article; isn't the rudeness rather on the part of Mr. Toynbee who seems here to tend to the wowserish view common among the noisier English 'liberals' that anybody Who disagrees with them is somehow morally sus- pect? I have myself formed the strongest impression from casual conversations with many intellectuals, not at all of the Right, that Mr. Conquest was by nu means alone in finding the Times round robin

Peculiarly distasteful. 1 have no doubt whatsoever that all its signatories were, each after his fashion, sincere. But to me it seemed just another- of those reflex gestures which characterise those whose enjoyable emotions all too easily overcome their ability to consider the facts of the matter, or more Precisely, their ignorance of the facts of the matter. This particular mentality is most ready these days to express itself in an automatic anti-Americanism. The failure of the Cuban expedition against Cuba showed the world that there had been faults in intelligence and errors of judgment; but to go on about the American part in this affair from a high moral plat- form and in the same breath as of Britain's part in Suez or Russia's in Hungary is surely disingenuous.

There are good reasons why most of us should not be too quickly impressed by the public relations exercises of totalitarian States (not even by the sub- sidising of cultural activities!) where political freedom is stifled and executions of human beings have formed a kind of corrida. This letter is only worth writing because the average American reader of the British press tends too readily to imagine that such outbursts as the round robin represent a significant section of intellectual opinion in this country while in fact, to the best of my belief, they do nothing of the sort.—Yours faithfully,