1 AUGUST 1952, Page 5


ACCORDING to Carlyle this country in his day was inhabited by twenty-seven millions, mostly fools. The Editor of the Daily Express evidently holds a similar opinion of his own readers. On no other assumption is it pos- sible to account for the reporter concerned in the " disputed interview " with Mrs. Donald Maclean solemnly writing, and the Editor solemnly printing, a letter in which the reporter, rebutting the charges which he says have been made against him, writes : " For asking the lady a few inoffensive questions, which I have faithfully reported with accuracy, I am branded as a villain."

This is melodrama that misfires. Nobody is much interested in Mr. Joyce's questions. Nobody had suggested that he did not report them accurately. What, and what alone, the issue turns on is the answers attributed to Mrs. Maclean, which she protests strenuously, and is prepared, I gather, to protest on oath, that she never gave. On that Mr. Joyce sheds not a glimmer of light. The omission_ may, of course, have been accidental—if one can ascribe to Mr. Joyce and his editor a degree of myopia of which reporters and editors of the Express in the past have displayed singularly/ few symptoms. The question remains: what are the facts about the disputed interview ?