LONDON -- A former British ambassador to Moscow revealed in an interview published in the Sunday Times that he was lured by Soviet secret police into an affair with a chambermaid at his embassy.
The front-page account in the Times by Sir Geoffrey Harrison of the 1968 tryst followed last week's disclosure that a U.S. military attache in Moscow, Maj. James Holbrook, had been victim of a similar KGB plot.
Harrison, who became Britains' ambassador to Moscow in 1965, told the Sunday Times that he had a short affair with a Russian chambermaid.
'Like Holbrook,' the Times said, 'he had let his defenses drop.'
'She was a young, attractive girl. I did not ask whether she was working for the KGB but the assumption was that every Russian working in our embassy was a KGB employee,' the retired 73-year-old diplomat said.
'It was an aberration on my part. It was absolutely crazy, but it may now give added warning to Western diplomats who might find themselves similarly tempted.'
When he realized he had been set up, Harrison informed his London superiors and was immediately recalled -- just two days after after Russian tanks rolled into Czechoslovakia in August 1968.
At the time, it had been assumed his sudden return was prompted by the Czech crisis, but the Foreign Office never officially explained his departure and the incident was handled privately between the Soviets and Prime Minister Harold Wilson's Foreign Minister Michael Stewart.
Harrison, who was married with three sons and a daughter at the time, said his was not an isolated case.
'It is happening all the time to diplomats and journalists, even to politicians,' he said. 'If you are on a long tour abroad then you defenses can drop. It's unforgivable, but it happens.'