29 SEPTEMBER 1984, Page 24


Bank statement

Sir: Bruce-Gardyne's article of 8 Septem- ber purports to comment on my views on the international debt situation. Unfortu- nately, every material assertion of them in his article is either directly opposite or unrecognisably different from the views I am publicly on record as holding. Far from being unaware as he suggests that the interest payments on the debts are for the most part re-lent by the banks, I have repeatedly pointed to this as clear evidence of the unsoundness of the lending. Far from holding the view he attributed to me that the banks should or would resume lending as before, I have argued that they will not do so except with government guarantees and that these should only be given subject to strict conditions con- tinuously monitored. •

He asserts that I 'regularly insist' that the banks be punished. To the contrary, I have repeatedly described this nonsensical con- cept as 'the world biting off its nose to spite its face'. I will not weary your readers by listing seriatim all the examples of Bruce- Gardyne's flights of fancy. I would suggest, however, that it would be more seemly if any future comments he has to make on this problem are preceded by knowledge and study.

Harold Lever House of Lords, London SW1