5 JULY 1963, Page 12

SIR, — In a footnote to my letter of last week, Mr.

Robert Conquest shows no desire to apologise for his previous mis-statements and, in fact, seems determined to perpetuate them.

Seftor Haya de la Torre was unable to see me at the time of the Cuba crisis and there was no meeting, conversation or correspondence whatever between us. The incident is entirely fictitious, and it is shameful for Mr. Conquest to suggest that my letter attempts to conceal the truth in this matter. I shall expect Mr. Conquest now to retract his allegation that a meeting, conversation or any other contact between Sefior de la Torre and myself took place. Mr. Conquest further claims to have recon- structed my- thought processes in coming to his conclusion that I believed the Americans to have faked the evidence of missiles in Cuba. His 'recon- struction' is simply a gross alteration of my position. I am always sceptical of the word of politicians. Before the Pentagon produced its photo- graphic evidence, I condemned President Kennedy's blockade while retaining an open mind as to the exact nature of Cuban military installations. When the presence of missiles, which was deplorable, had been established, I still considered this no justifica- tion for the President's action, which was likely to precipitate world war.

I am totally unable to concede that I resort to 'trickiness' in stating truthfully that Mr. Lamont is not a Communist, nor do I understand why it is 'absurd' to support his book on civil liberty in the United States because it contains a few criticisms of the Leader of the American Socialist Party.

Mr. Conquest's final allegation that I lacked diligence in checking facts connected with the Rosenberg case is simple, unsupported abuse. I de- voted much time to studying this unfortunate affair, and my research involved reading not only the available books, but also large parts of the transcript of the Court proceedings.

Mr. Conquest is not successful in his attempt to extricate himself from the morass of mis- statement and misinformation into which he has so casually fallen. I leave it to your readers to de- cide whether it is my book, or Mr. Conquest's references to it, which deserve 'contempt and pity.' BERTRAND RUSSELL Plas Penrhytr, Penrhyndeudractir, Merioneth [Mr. Conquest writes : 'I am naturally unable to retract the statement, since it was not mine but Seflor Haya de la Torre's, or his interviewer's. There is plainly a misunderstanding somewhere, which I trust will be cleared up to everyone's satisfaction. This is the only fact at issue.'—Editor, Spectator.]