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Key West, Saturday, July 17, 1999

Sir John KeeganDear John,

I was sorry to hear that you have declined to give evidence voluntarily in my libel action against Prof. Deborah Lipstadt. The actions against her and against Gitta Sereny are trundling on, and you may have seen a surprisingly long and fair article about the former action in the New York Times on June 26. (I have posted it on my website, and am enclosing a copy in case you're interested.) In it, a number of big-name historians are quoted as speaking kindly of me. It has provoked some Internet debate.

The purpose of this letter is to thank you for your great patience in your responses to my staff on this matter, and to advise you that in due course, if the Court allows, we shall ask you to appear under sub-poena. This is probably a satisfactory solution all round. In my letter advising Lipstadt's lawyers of this, which is a statutory requirement, I have stated that the evidence to be asked of you (and other historians who will be similarly afflicted) will be:

  • that I am a writer and a historian of repute
  • that you have so written in various places
  • that my work and methods as an historian provoked important further research by other historians, and were an important step in the development of modern historical method and in our knowledge of Adolf Hitler
  • that though you do not agree with everything that I have written, I have a reputation worthy of being protected, and made a valuable contribution to historical debate, and that you have so written
  • that in consequence of the campaign of defamation against me which underlies the current action you and other academics are now reluctant to be seen to take issue with my opponents for fear of damage to professional livelihoods and careers

Will you please indicate to me what arrangements will be convenient for us to serve the necessary papers on you, whether at your office or elsewhere?

David Irving



Dr John Keegan (please forward)
Defence Correspondent
The Daily Telegraph
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5AR

© Focal Point 1999 write to David Irving