1 NOVEMBER 1963, Page 14


StR,—In the Spectator of October 25 Mr. GoronwY Rees has added some comments of his own about an excellent historical work, comments which in some ways run counter to views expressed in that work itself.

I refer to his words: 'Robertson could not com- mand from Haig the loyalty and frankness which as Haig's military superior he was entitled to. Perhaps Robertson could not be blamed for this; you cannot impose your ideas on a daemon and Haig was never loyal 16 anybody.

How far Sir William Robertson and my father failed to pass on their views and information to each other I must leave to the historians to decide, but I would like to• make the following observations:

1. Loyalty to Robertson. Loyalty was a quality which my father really did possess, and he has been criticised for showing too much of it to members of his staff. My father did not resign along with Robertson because he felt it his duty to carry on in France, and because he felt that Sir William should have gone to Versailles. Mr. Bonham-Carter has given his view that my father's action served the country best.

2. Frankness. The situation in 1917 was grim, and in facing it, these two great soldiers wrote a lot of letters to each other in longhand, and, in my father's case, these letters were written twice over, as he wanted to keep a copy of what he had written. Confidential secretaries as we know them did not exist, and nor did the flow of paper that passed between CIGS and C-in-C in the Second World War. Anyone reading the correspondence must be impressed by the frankness of both writers.

3. Imposition of ideas on a subordinate. The fact was that my father was senior to Sir William and he was a Field-Marshal. They must have worked at their problems together as two colleagues, trying to find a way out of the deadlock together. Each supported and advised the other until the end of their partnership. Their relationship seems to have been different to that between the CIGS and C-in-C in the Second World War when the control from above was tighter.

The word 'daemon' is an insult to which 1 accord the contempt it deserves.