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Bacque on Basics IN "MORE BACQUE TALK" (April), Stephen Ambrose says that I quoted without permission from his letter to me. That is not true. I asked for his permission during a visit to his cabin in Wisconsin and he granted it. As soon as I heard that he had warned St Martin`s Press in New York not to use the quote on the dust-jacket of the American edition of Other Losses, I told my publishers not to use it. He says that he told me to abandon my thesis that it was Eisenhower`s policy to starve prisoners. He said this in the face of abundant evidence that starvation was the policy. Here is one part of that evidence, in the message Eisenhower sent to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on March 10, 1945 proposing the DEF classification for prisoners. (Under this policy) "it is intended to place the responsibility for feeding and maintaining all ... prisoners of war ...upon the German authorities ...it is anticipated that in the state of chaos that is likely to exist, this will prove beyond their capacity..." After this was approved by his superiors in Washington, Eisenhower`s subordinate commanders expanded the policy to exclude shelter for the prisoners, although the Americans had hundreds of thousands of their own tents lying unused in warehouses, plus 58,000 captured German army tents. American guards were ordered to keep German women carrying food away from the wire cages where their menfolk were dying. As Martin Brech has said recently of the U.S. camp at Andernach, Germany, where he was a U.S. Army guard in May, 1945, "Gas would have been more merciful than our slow killing fields." Brech threw the starving prisoners some bread, but he was ordered to stop because, as his officer said, "It is our policy that these men not be fed." Brech was caught again, and told that if it happened one more time, he would be shot. Eisenhower`s officers refused to allow Red Cross food trains to unload in Germany, forcing them to return to Switzerland; they refused to use the 13.5 million Red Cross food parcels they had in stock to feed prisoners or civilians; they refused to allow Red Cross delegates to visit the prisoners in both France and Germany; they refused to allow the governments of Sweden and Switzerland to send food to starving Germans, and so on. This is the evidence that Ambrose wanted me to suppress. James Bacque Toronto Born Too Late DAVID HOMEL, in his review "Fiction en Francais" (March), says that "Jerome lived in the third and fourth centuries A.D." St. Jerome was born about the year 341 and died in 420. That puts him in the fourth and fifth centuries. Brian F. Hubka Medicine Hat, Alta. Quebec, No! IN My NINE YEARS of secondary school and university, I enjoyed the study of French literature. In Canada I enjoy some Quebec literature in translation. Quebec has amply explained its desire to be culturally separate and unilingually French. If 89 per cent of Quebec writers favour independence, I see no reason to fight it. I also see no reason to support a journal that hopes to have "a much greater Quebec presence" in the future. The rationale for this change in emphasis smacks of proselytizing, which I abhor. Understanding must be a two-way street. Will you change your title to Book in Canada and Quebec or Books in Canada and Quebec? Marjorie A. McLeod Vancouver Not I, Quoth the Critic I AM SURPRISED to learn that Libby Scheier was referring to me as the anonymous critic of her work ("Issues, not Persons;` April). I do not remember ever discussing Libby Scheier`s poetry with her, have never reviewed it, nor do I know it well enough to have drawn the conclusions of which she accuses me. As an extension of her essay, her letter does little but confirm what I expressed in my review of Language in Her Eye. Lola Lemire Tostevin Toronto Enough Is Enough JOHN FRASER ("Contracted Editorial Freedom," April) is obviously no letter-to-the-editor writer. Maybe he should take up being an editor, instead; a copy-editor, that is, the kind who actually does factchecking, rather than the kind who presumes to lecture others on imagined shortcomings in that department. Fraser misreads my "Draught Dodging" piece (January/February) as claiming that Saturday Night published no reader replies to Conrad Black`s "Enough Is Enough" article, when what I actually said concerned "reader response to Black`s U.S. proposal ...in subsequent issues:" Talk about "primitive research skills..." This from the man who devoted more than half the letters-to-the-editor space in the December, 1990 issue of Saturday Night to another proprietorial filibuster, "Remembering the General." Curiously, this exercise in print-hoggery is longer than all the responses critical of "Enough Is Enough" put together. It is revealing that Fraser has gone on record as perhaps the sole editor and sole writer in Canada so content with our libel laws that he will concede only that there may be - not that there definitely is - "a good argument for changing [them]." Apparently a couple of paragraphs critical of Conrad Black are all it takes to "reinforce the need for strong libel laws:" Fraser falsely characterizes my tonguein-cheek account involving This Magazine as an "attack" upon it. He then erroneously states that my reason for this so-called "attack" was that my Venomous Verses entry shouldn`t have been screened for libel. He somehow overlooked my obvious pains to emphasize inordinate delay rather than the screening itself as the origin of what I referred to as "a minor personal irritation;" which Fraser disingenuously chooses to rephrase as a "personal catastrophe." Fraser faithfully contends that "the luckiest thing that ever happened to Saturday Night" was Conrad Black, because of the cash Black has injected into it. In contrast, most veteran readers of the magazine would likely lean toward a more editorial and less accountingbased perspective, and would undoubtedly point to Fraser`s distinguished predecessor, Robert Fulford, as more deserving of the above accolade. Fraser goes on to equate an occasional Beland Honderich opinion - buried in the quadrizillion-ton avalanche of newsprint delivered yearly to a Toronto Star subscriber`s door - to Black`s lengthy appearances in Saturday Night, whose total annual content would scarcely fill out the jacket of a Stephen King novel. He closes with the presumption that I was too "chicken` to write Saturday Night a letter myself. To borrow Fraser`s own rhetoric, he "clearly likes to go to print before he thinks." Had he bothered to reacquaint himself with recent issues of his magazine, he would have noticed a letter from yours truly in the issue preceding the one featuring Black`s "Enough Is Enough." It could hardly be surprising that I judged the likelihood of his publishing a second Jeff Walker letter on the heels of the first to be nil. What is surprising is that whether he received publishable letters from others who gagged on the let`s join-the-U.S. message of "Enough Is Enough` is a question Fraser leaves unanswered. Jeff Walker Toronto p.s. A typesetting error in my "Draught Dodging" piece catapulted me (a la Rosie Ruiz) from 1299th to 129th place in the 1984 Ottawa marathon. Thanks for the lift. Acrostic-Mania I THOROUGHLY ENJOY your CanLit Acrostics. May I suggest an incentive to fanatics like myself (it took four days of toil and moil but I finally solved Number 34): a prize for the first five winners drawn, each receiving a copy of the book containing the quotation, and a free one-year subscription to Books in Canada, not for the contestant (thus you will not lose any subscription revenue from regular subscribers) but for a potential reader of Books in Canada of his or her choice - a family member, friend, or book lover. Joe Two-Knockouts (Don) Bell Paris, France Information Please I AM CURRENTLY researching a short biography of Morley Callaghan for ECW Press. Publication of this biography is scheduled for winter 1992. I am interested in hearing from those who possess letters, manuscripts, or any material written by Morley Callaghan. I would also appreciate hearing about recorded conversations or interviews with Callaghan that have not been made public. I can be reached by writing to the Department of English, Wilfred Laurier University Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3C5. Gary Boire Waterloo, Ont.

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