March 13, 1963.
In your last number a communication from M. Marcel Liebman was published “as a matter of interest to readers”. You would have gained space and saved yourself embarassment if you had taken the elementary precaution of checking M. Liebman’s account.
SURVEY published in April, 1962 a translation of an article that had originally appeared in the Amsterdam Review of Social History. I had not heard of its author before, but I was aware after reading the article that M. Liebman held political views different from my own. This did not worry me unduly; it has been the policy of SURVEY to publish articles and documents by writers of the most varied political persuasions, including Soviet writers, Trotskyites and what not, we would have survived M. Liebman. The size of the article was a matter of graver concern; it ran to some fifty odd pages. I asked for, and received, the permission to cut the article considerably.
M. Liebman received the page proofs of his article on March 8th, 1962. If he had returned the corrected proofs immediately, as customary, we would of course have incorporated his revisions. He did not do so however; we received his revisions only by the end of the month, by which time the number of SURVEY had gone to press. There may have been some regrettable mistranslations in the article as it was published in SURVEY, but the decisive question is of course whether there has been a distortion on any major point. I challenged M. Liebman several times to produce evidence to that effect and promised to publish a correction in SURVEY. M. Liebman has not been able to do so. All he says now is that the last paragraphs of the original article were left out. They included, as he says, “a critique of Fabian reformism”. This contrasts oddly with another charge that I intend to “revile the Webbs”. M. Liebman should make up his mind; he cannot accuse me at the same time of defending the Webbs and of reviling them.
M. Liebman’s other complaint is equally flimsy. Two pages of quotations were not “embodied” in his article, they appear quite distinctly apart in a “box”. I regret that M. Liebman does not like my editorial preface. He could have dissociated himself in a letter to the editor; he was told several times that such a communication would be published in SURVEY provided it contained factual corrections not personal abuse. M. Liebman chose not to avail himself of this offer.