17 JUNE 1955, Page 7

MR. WILLIAM DOUGLAS HOME has twice in the Spectator ex-

pressed (somewhat guardedly. it is true) his admiration of the star reporter who rockets about the world regardless of lan- guage difficulties and sends back confident despatches about cheese, or Burgess and Maclean, or anything else you fancy. I fully share his admiration, but I wonder whether he was mruck into speechlessness by the Sunday Dispatch's, announce- ment that for the first time, thanks to 'a Western woman—a famous journalist,' it is possible to reveal 'the innermost secrets of the harem.' Beside her feat, the exploits of the Daily Express's Mr. Russell Spurr in obtaining cheese on the Man- churian Express, or that of Mr. Rene MacColl in discovering and reporting that 'scores of people' in Moscow 'looked blank' about Burgess and Maclean, pale into insignificance. Fix. all that this paragon of reporters had to do in order to penetrate 'the most closely guarded harems of Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait' was, apparently, to 'put on a veil.' This may not be quite up to the mark of that other lady reporter who got into the Athenmum disguised as a curate, but it is none the less breathtaking, and it was probably more fun.