30 JANUARY 1942, Page 12

Stu,—I read Mr. Harold Nicolson's " Marginal Comment " each

week in The Spectator with great pleasure and improvement. I hope, how- ever, that you will allow me to refer to a categorical statement which he makes in his discussion of women in the Diplomatic Service last week—namely, that while they are capable of making good clerks their qualities debar them from success in the higher reaches of the Foreign Office. I am uniortunately prevented from quoting his exact words because The Spectator has already gong to the paper salvage dump. I do not think, however,. that I have misquoted his meaning. I am far from being a feminist such as Mr. Harold Nicolson in the same article holds up to well-merited scorn. I have sat too long at the feet of biologists to venture any statement on the likenesses and differences of the two sexes. Altogether apart from the question of the qualities to be expected from the different sexes, my challenge rests on the ground that neither Mr. Nicolson nor anyone else Can speak categorically of what has never been the subject of experience. He may be right, of course. But as the matter stands he might equally prove to be wrong It is not like him to commit so flhgrant a high- way robbery of the question.

The result of operations carried out by a wholly male body of diplo- matists in the period between the last war and this one might be admitted often to have fallen short of success. Who can say, indeed, what the difference might have been if Mr. Chamberlain had left his umbrella at home and taken Mrs. Gamp.—I am yours, &c.,

J. mAs.