E.M. Forster, Esq.,
20th June, 1940.
Thank you for your note about Ali. Yes, I agree, it is a disaster. I think he was really very reasonable about cuts, though I believe there are still one or two sentences which might come out without any harm to the book. In my view the printer is being unreasonable, but I suppose he feels that the regulations may get stricter any moment. If Ali sticks his toes in, the only thing to do will be to ask the printer to reconsider his attitude, or to try and get the censor to say it doesn't matter.
It is upsetting for both him and us, as you say; we have had nothing whatsoever to do with the whole silly question. I do feel that just a word to him [* might be very useful *] explaining that we are rather in the printer's hands and he must consider whether it is more worth his while to see a few sentences go than not see the book at all.
I gather that the censor only allowed Lane to bring out his new Penguin book about India if he promised not to export it.
I hope all goes as well as possible with you.
Yours ever, [unsigned] [attributed author John Lehmann]