Cambridge, 1951. Near Fine.
Autograph letter signed. On cream King's College letterhead, written in dark brown ink to recto and verso. A near fine letter with only a few creases at folds. This letter is Forster's reply to Dr. Alex Comfort, a medical doctor and advocate for pacifist and anarchic causes. Dr. Comfort was a WWII conscientious objector and signatory of the Author's World Peace Appeal in 1951. Like Forster, Dr. Comfort went on to become a sponsor of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1957. In this letter, Forster replies regarding an upcoming meeting of the World Congress of Intellectuals for Peace in Russia, to which Britain was expected to send delegates. Forster expresses his disapproval of the meeting, citing the possible presence of Soviet sympathizers. He offers three pieces of advice to Dr. Comfort regarding how negative perceptions of the meeting might be abated. Dr. Comfort earned his medical degree at Cambridge at Trinity College. He is the author of Peace and Disobedience (1946), and the nonfiction manual The Joy of Sex (1972), for which he became well-known. Sept 21 1951 Dear Dr Comfort, Please forgive my delay in replying to your informative letter, but I am immobilised by a broken ankle and correspondence gets behind hand. I do not see how your organization can well refuse this difficult invitation, but I do not like Ehrenburg or trust him. One or two points occur to me, which you may care to consider if the scheme advances, (i) All delegates should sign a declaration that they are not communist and such affiliates to any communist party. This would diminish criticism of the delegation over here, though it would not avoid it. (ii) Ehrenburg should be asked for his guarantee that the scandalous atmosphere of the conference in Poland should not be reproduced and more particularly whether Fadugef (I think this is his name) will again be present. There seems no point in our writers going to Russia in order to be brow beaten and talked down, and to hear T.S. Eliot abused. (iii) Writers convey their opinions best in their books. An important question for the delegation to ask is: Why leading works by British writers have been translated into Russian, and have they been translated unexpurgated? - They should of course be prepared to answer the corresponding question from the Russians. - The above points may have already occurred to you, but I thought I would put them down since I was writing, and since there is no possibility of my joining the delegation myself. Yours sincerely, EM Forster You are no doubt in touch with writers who went to Poland. Indeed you may well have gone there yourself, of course-.