29 SEPTEMBER 1984, Page 24

Owen and the Belgrano

Sir: Simon Jenkins is wrong (`Raising the Belgrano', 22 September) to link David Owen with Neil Kinnock's name in deman- ding a Committee of Enquiry into the Belgrano. I know only too well, as I have been closely involved in the discussions on this matter, that in his Buxton speech David Owen quite deliberately did not call for a specific enquiry. He has never given any currency to the argument that the Belgrano was sunk in order to scupper the Peruvian peace initiative, and David Owen has drawn attention to the fact that the decision to sink the Argentine carrier, the Vienticinco de Mayo on 30 April 1982 was the time when the war cabinet crossed the military threshold of authorising an attack on an Argentine vessel.

What David Owen said at Buxton, since by then it had become apparent that the House of Commons had been seriously misled, was merely that the simple truth should be told. He called 'for the Govern- ment to issue a White Paper immediately correcting the record'. And he said that 'in particular they should correct any mis- statements made to the House of Com- mons and then answer any follow-up ques- tions put to them by the select committee,

with the accepted proviso that some Intelli- gence information may not be able to be published'.

This is exactly what Simon Jenkins calls for in the last paragraph of his article.

Sue Robertson Secretary to the SDP Parliamentary Group, House of Commons,

London SWI