Letter: Profumo's story loses one of its secrets

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The Independent Online
Sir: Why does officialdom find it necessary to delete the name of the man who, in February 1963, revealed the Profumo story to Harold Macmillan's private secretary, John Wyndham ('MI5 'failed to alert ministers over affair' ', 1 January)? Five years later, in 1968, Lord Egremont (as he had become) published his brief and witty memoirs, Wyndham and Children First. On page 187, he reveals that his informant was his old friend Mr Mark Chapman-Walker, managing director of the News of the World and formerly head of publicity at Conservative Central Office.

The Wyndham book also sheds light on the attitudes of MI5 at the time: after Chapman-Walker had left

We asked MI5 to send someone round. Someone duly arrived. From him we learnt that MI5 knew all about it. Profumo, he said, had certainly been in and out of Miss Keeler's place and people in authority had warned Mr Profumo against the association. They were sure, however, there had been no security risk. Why, we asked the man from MI5, why had we not been told about this before? 'This is a free country,' he replied, 'not a police state.'

DAVID HOLMES

Walpole, Suffolk

2 January

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