The intellectual `invasion' of dazzling Biarritz

The delightful account of your Dec. 14 article on the Basque country in southern France and ``dazzling Biarritz'' stirred some memories. In the summer of 1945 the American Army ``invaded'' Biarritz, not with a military but with an educational objective. It set up a university with liberal arts, science, and professional departments for qualifying GIs who were waiting for demobilization. By reverse lend-lease it acquired over a hundred resort hotels and villas that had been standing empty through the war years. The large gambling casino, for example, housed a hastily assembled library. Students and faculty were quartered in villas all over town. The history faculty took over a millionaire's glamorous but run-down beach-front villa. We had all our meals in the dining salon of the plush Miramar Hotel, where the food, to be sure, was not French haute cuisine but American Army rations. Our classes met in another resort hotel.

We came to know some of the cosmopolitan inhabitants of Biarritz: refugees from Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia, Franco's Spain, American expatriates, even a few bona fide French citizens who welcomed us into their homes. Biarritz American University, well planned and successfully conducted by the Army, was a bizarre episode in American military history. George P. Schmidt Jamesburg, N.J.

Thank you for your editorial on Miss Leontyne Price [Ovation for Price, Jan. 7]. It was a fitting tribute to a most charming and talented lady. Over the years she has given so much pleasure and enjoyment to both operatic and non-operatic lovers of music. She gave such realism to the many operatic roles she performed that each performance I heard was a particularly moving event, and I will never forget them. With all her concerts and operatic roles and her busy schedule she has remained a most personable and charming lady and one whom I will always have a special affection for.

I am happy to hear that we will continue to hear her beautiful voice in future recitals and other concerts. Miss Price is truly one of America's national treasures. W. George Jenkins Portland, Ore.

The Dec. 31 review [`` `Starman': a gentle sci-fi fantasy stressing human relations''] leaves out some important aspects of this film. There is a series of sequences (besides the discovery of apple pie with whipped cream mentioned in the review) which makes viewers take a look at their world and mores. The film seems to present a space-age version of the Christmas story. The ``Starman'' is totally good and loving. He brings life where there was a sense of death. The ``messianic'' implications of the film may require sharper focus, but they are there. ``Starman'' is a very American film, perhaps because of its naivet'e. I think a family could do far worse than going to see ``Starman.'' Elfriede W. Smith Westfield, N.J.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''

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