29 NOVEMBER 1940, Page 13

SIR,—Mr. Wilson Harris's admirable appreciation of Mr. Neville Chamberlain is

a notable contribution to The Spectator. The time is not yet for further discussion of matters which are still the subject of controversy. I write only to comment on some questions which arise on reading Mr. Harris's article. There is a remarkable omission of any reference to Mr. Chamberlain's cession to Eire of naval bases secured to England under treaty. This was stated to be a generous gesture of good will which was approved without a division by the House of Commons in face of warning by the present Prime Minister of the danger it might involve. This action should be mentioned as a significant illustration of policy. Whether it will eventually achieve its purpose remains to be seen, but the present omens are not encouraging. Is not Mr. Harris mistaken in contending that Mr. Chamberlain, " who had been a leading member, indeed the second member, of the Cabinet for seven years, must bear full

responsibility for Britain's defencelessness " ? It is surely the Prime Minister, in representing the Cabinet and the Government, who bears the "full responsibility," which cannot be assumed by any of his colleagues. Mr. Harris describes Mr. Chamberlain as an " unimaginative man." If this is intended as a general statement it requires some qualification. Mr. Chamberlain, like other members of his family, was much interested in art. He was a frequent visitor to picture galleries, and his own acquisitions, including water-colours by modern artists, clearly, indicated his appreciation of imagination in landscape painting. This is not the disposition of an " unimaginative [Mr. Wilson Harris writes : By " full responsibility " I meant not " entire responsibility," but " full share of responsibility."]