24 SEPTEMBER 1948, Page 15

Stst,—Dr. Huxley's article Intellect at Wroclaw may shed some light

on Soviet propaganda methods, but at the same time it reveals a dis- heartening absence of the capacity to grasp the elements of the Soviet technique of penetration. Dr. Huxley "accepted the assurance" of thc organiser of the Congress that "it would concern itself solely with cultural matters." He apparently did not ask in what sense the word " culture " was used. It would be legitimate to argue that in no country is culture divorced from politics and from ideology generally. The point is that in the Communist State culture is as regimented, as uniform, as totalitarian as politics, and intellectuals are no more free than anyone else to say what they think and to discuss a case on its merits. At the confer, ence of the Soviet Academy of Science in August the biologist Orbelli was condemned for having admitted "possible divergencies of views" on biological questions and for "grovelling before foreign science." The President of the Soviet Academy of Arts, reporting on its meeting in May, deicribed the function of Soviet art schools as the training of artists "to fulfil the wishes of the Central Committee of the Communist Party on Party attitude, national feeling and patriotism in Soviet art.'

Dr. Huxley says that if the few attending the Congress who were not Communists or Communist sympathisers had known what the tone of the Congress was to be, they would have prepared themselves. Could any intelligent person really doubt what its tone would be? To have expected anything else was childish. The Communist technique of preparation and penetration has been carefully elaborated for thirty years, and has enabled them to get policies endorsed and resolutions passed by organisations in which they have little or no following, and whose members would be innocently surprised to learn how they were being duped. If any belief is still entertained that Communists welcome the opportunity to meet and talk freely with people who do not share their views, perhaps Mr. Ehrenburg's article on the conference in the Soviet periodical Culture and Life will be salutary. Having accused Dr. Huxley of cowardice, Mr. Taylor of wearing a buttonhole and Mr. Crankshaw of "intellectual activities of a commercial nature," he says: "I do not know why the gentlemen came to Wroclaw, and I prefer not to give the

matter any thought."—Yours faithfully, J. BENNY.

• London, W.6.