19 MAY 1973, Page 28

White House liars

Sir: In your issue of April 28, 1973, under the heading, White House Liars there are several statements which deserve comment. The first, concerning the Profumo affair of the 'sixties says, "Adultery or consorting with prostitutes may well be a squalid business, but it is of no especial consequence in relation to affairs of state."

1 should like to ask, "What are the principles upon which you think 'affairs of state' are to be conducted in a free, popular government? " Is it possible that you have dropped into the common fallacy which says that the private life of an official has nothing to do with his conduct of public office? Is not trustworthiness an essential ingredient in both cases? Is not untrustworthiness in marital obligations based on the same essential weakness as untrustworthiness in matters of public finance and national security?

In the Watergate case your concluding remark is that the affair was "initially mere folly, ignoble but unimportant." This observation, at best, suffers from the same kind of confused thinking that you impute to President Nixon; at the worst, you are consciously trying to lead the reader into considering the " bugging" as " irrelevant " to " affairs of state." That is precisely the tragic attitude which Mr Nixon has taken for the last nine months.

Charles D. Brodhead International College, P.O. Box 236, Beirut, Lebanon,