From Mr David Northmore Sir: Commander Michael Higham's assertion that "Freemasonry is not secret..." (letter, 26 January) does not actually stand up to close scrutiny.

For example, compare and contrast the lengthy list of national and provincial officers of the masonic fraternity that appear in the Masonic Year Book - more than 6,000 in total - with their corresponding entries in Who's Who, and you will find that few, if any, listed in the latter tome declare their masonic interests. And that is despite many of these figures being MPs, peers of the realm and very senior chaps in the armed forces, police, Church of England, judiciary, civil service, industry, academia,local government, financial institutions, et al.

And which freemason in particular is conspicuous by his absence from Who's Who? Why, one Commander Michael Higham - number one in this multi-million pound international organisation, and a very senior Royal Navy officer. No doubt the mystery and secrecy of Freemasonry will rumble on into the next millennium.

Yours faithfully, David Northmore London, N10

26 January The writer is author of the `Freedom of Information Handbook'.