17 NOVEMBER 1961, Page 15


SIR,—I thank Cyril Ray for drawing attention to the contrast between Mr. Malcolm Muggeridge's review of Sefton Delmer's Trail Sinister in the Observer and Mine in the Sunday Express. I am sorry, however, that Ray did not point out which was the more accurate.

Muggeridge wrote :

`Hitler found Delmer's dispatches, as they appeared in the Daily Express, decidedly congenial. Lord Beaverbrook was from the beginning in the vanguard of the appeasers, and his newspapers pre- sented the news accordingly. Thus, when Delmer sent "a long and detailed dispatch" about the beat- ing, torturing and murder of Polish Jews "for a reason unknown to me it was never published...."

The purpose of all this, one imagines, is to. sug- gest that Delmer was like the Berlin correspondent of the Times whose reports were cut to pieces in order to further Chamberlain's appeasement policy.

Yet if Muggeridge reads the book he was supposed to be reviewing he will discover the truth to be differ- ent. Beaverbrook, it is well known, did not support the National Government until Chamberlain took over as Premier from Baldwin in May, 1937—four Years after Delmer in 1933 had left Berlin for the Paris office of the Express. Even then Beaverbrook hotly supported re- armament; provided a weekly platform for Churchill's campaign; printed Low's cartoons; and gave sensational publicity to Hitler's atrocities to a greater extent than even the News Chronicle and its splendid columnist,. A. J. Cummings.

Still earlier, in 1935, when the Economist wrote of a Hitler 'peace' speech, 'Herr Hitler is here speak- ing with the sane and simple accents of the common man . . .,' the Sunday Express commented :

'Hitler denies that he wants war. . In Germany the Protestant pastors still go to prison. Collectors for Catholic charities are assaulted by the Nazi Brownshirts. Jews are chased from their homes and livelihoods—simply for being Jews.. . . Are you ready to believe a Government which knows no method save force at home really believes in reason and moderation abroad?'

Can you match such sense from the Spectator in 1935 or, for that matter, from the Observer itself, which was later to acclaim Franco as 'a great gentle- man'?

ROBERT PITMAN Sunday Express, Fleet Street, EC4