27 SEPTEMBER 1969, Page 29

Play the game!

Sir: Mr Miles Copeland III has written most courteously in defence of his father's book (Letters, 13 September). His aspe.sions upon my accuracy are, however, unfounded. I always denote a direct quotation by in- verted commas anything else is a precise paraphrase of the author's ideas.

Mr Copeland asserts that his father never 'even remotely suggested "that the man who wins the game is playing chicken while his opponent is playing chess"' (he himself quotes me imprecisely, but no matter). Here is the relevant passage from The Game of Nations (p. 19): 'As the Game's "de Gaulle" thinks he is playing chess with one of [his opponents] he learns, to his sudden dismay, that he is not playing chess at all but "chicken" . . . In "chicken" the de Gaulle player does not have a chance'.

Mr Copeland indignantly rejects my suggestion that, according to his father's book, 'morality is for punks'. Here are two examples of what I meant. The author remarks contemptuously (p. 198) that after 1958 us policy in the Middle East was less successful because now 'the most forceful current in the American attitude was the distaste for violence as a means of attaining objectives, even worthy objectives'. Anti-

the advent of Kennedy, things became even worse: 'Among the new lot, high morality was the In Thing' (p. 222).

I am sorry, but Mr Copeland Senior does indeed imply strongly that political assassination can be a damn useful thing. I quote: The aspect of "Nasserism" which was (and is) beyond our under- standing was its synonymity with terrorism. The Americans don't like terrorism. Although it sometimes plays an essential part in the west's own operations against recalcitrant Afro-Asian leaders, we conceal this fact. . . . It happens that there is some intelligent reasoning behind Nassers's use of terrorism' (pp. 171-2).

Tibor Szanmely Department of Politics, University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading