29 NOVEMBER 1940, Page 12

Sm,—It is surely an unfortunate sign that " Janus "

should have so many angry critics when he suggests that Rome might be spared our bombs as much as possible. In a war to maintain the values of western civilisation it is surprising to find such zest for demolishing the ancient memorials of a city which was one of that civilisation's three chief cradles. The proper military objectives offered by one of your correspondents are singularly unhappy. On the corner onPositc

Mussolini's Palazzo Venezia, for instance, stands the palace of Prince Doria which not only houses (or did before the war) one of the world's more famous art collections but also belongs to a man who is one of the oldest and best friends we have in Italy. As for the Vigor Emmanuel monument most Italians would be extremely pleased to see that horror blown up, and, apart from the probable damage to the two forums of Rome and Trajan nearby, it would be a wasteful and stupid enterprise from the military point of view.

In the unlikely event of the bombing of Rome becoming essential to our victory we might, at that pinch, willingly destroy the monu- ments of civilisation to preserve its ideals. But at a time when bombing Naples, Taranto, Bari and Brindisi is obviously much more useful both to ourselves and to the valiant Greeks, we shall do well to let the ghost of old Rome rest in neace.—Yours, &c.,