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Letter: George Mitchell's religious identity

Sir: I accept Charles Hauss's contention (letter, 19 June) that Senator George Mitchell is "a remarkably fair and honest man" - even if his judgement in matters relating to Northern Ireland seems flawed occasionally. However, Mr Hauss is mistaken in assuming that Lebanese Maronites are not Roman Catholics.

Naturally, this does not in itself make Senator Mitchell an unsuitable chairman of the peace talks. Indeed, as Lebanese Catholics and Ulster Protestants share a common fear of being progressively outnumbered, a degree of mutual sympathy could legitimately be assumed.

Yet if, instead of Senator Mitchell, a distinguished Toronto ex-senator of mixed Ulster Presbyterian and, say, Dutch Calvinist descent had been appointed, would Irish Nationalists, Irish-Americans and British "liberals" have regarded the appointment with equanimity? Somehow I doubt it.


House of Lords

London SW1