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Letters to the Editor


SIR — I would like to place on record the facts concerning the tragic murder of Private Tony Harrison, the soldier killed by two gunmen in 1991 while visiting his fiancee in Protestant East Belfast to discuss wedding plans ("IRA police informer takes case to Europe", Feb. 21). I was indeed the getaway driver in Pte Harrison's killing by the IRA, a fact that has haunted me ever since. But Pte Harrison's parents should know that one month before the shooting I heard of the plot and told Special Branch immediately. We spent hours driving up and down streets in the area trying to locate where a soldier, then thought to be a member of the Ulster Defence Regiment, was living. Special Branch made inquiries of the UDR and the British battalions then serving in Northern Ireland, all to no avail. We had no name, no address and no facts to go on. No trace could be found of the relatives of any soldier living in that area. On the day of the shooting I was called to a meeting by the IRA. Every such meeting I attended on orders of my intelligence handlers so that I could report back. On this occasion I attended the meeting only to be told I was leaving that instant on an active service mission. My task in the four years I worked as an agent in Northern Ireland was to save the lives of innocent people. But I also had to make sure that my cover was not blown, for agents working inside the IRA were few and far between. I deeply regret what happened but I accept responsibility for my role in the events of that day. MARTIN McGARTLAND London W14

I had to keep my cover...

SIR —Having been a campaigner against the enlargement of Nato for more than two years (letter, Feb. 20), I would point out that the fundamental question which no proponent of enlargement has answered has nothing to do with Russian reactions: how can the decision-making effectiveness of the alliance be preserved when it has 20 or more members? The European Union has an analogous problem, which it proposes to deal with by qualified majority voting. I doubt if that will work for the EU; it is out of the question for Nato. Yet Nato, having adapted itself brilliantly to become an instrument of peacekeeping/peacemaking outside its own borders, with the full endorsement of the UN, needs to be able speedily to identify, appreciate (in the staff college sense) and decide what to do about new and diffuse challenges to security in Europe. As a former permanent representative to Nato I know that an unwieldy council will fail in the task. It cannot act in cases of conflict between its own members. There is a middle way, which would enable all the applicants, including the Baltic states and Ukraine, to be taken care of at once.

Problem with Natothan leaving some pie-in-theexpansion rather

sky "second wave" at the mercy of Russian retaliation. They should form sub-regional mutual assistance alliances among themselves. Nato can then form working links with such groupings under "Partnership for Peace", so as to give substance to alliance declarations that their independence is a matter of direct and material concern to us and undertakings to consult if they feel threatened. There could be no reasonable Russian objection to that. It would be less than a guarantee under Article 5 of the Atlantic Treaty, but of significant value. It would be consonant with the preamble to the treaty which your leading article (Feb. 22) quotes. The course you prefer is full of disadvantages and difficulties, and is likely to render the alliance useless to its existing members as well as to the new. Incidentally, if you would look at your dictionary, you will see that Nato and the EU are moving "in tandem" and with the wrong horse in front; I think you must have meant "in double harness". Sir JOHN KILLICK Southborough, Kent

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