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All-Male Club Said to Bar Female Agent Making Security Arrangements

November 8, 1986

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A posh country club that bars women except at Christmas turned away a female Secret Service agent who was trying to make security arrangements for a visiting dignitary, according to a published report.

The unidentified agent was stopped at the gate and had to ″get her job done from the parking lot,″ said Robert Snow, a Secret Service spokesman quoted in Saturday’s edition of The Washington Post.

The newspaper said the incident occurred last spring during the visit of Australian Prime Minister Robert Hawke, who was to play golf with Secretary of State George Shultz at the Burning Tree Club of Bethesda, Md., an affluent suburb north of Washington.

The 64-year-old club allows women on its premises only once a year, in December, when they may make an appointment to buy Christmas presents at the club’s pro shop. Women who arrive to pick up their husbands after a golfing game must wait in their cars in the parking lot, the paper said.

There was some disagreement over what occurred during the incident.

William Reese, the Burning Tree manager, was quoted as saying, ″Nobody was turned away. We have nothing to do with it.″

But Snow said, ″She was not admitted.″ He said the agent ″did what she had to do from outside the area″ with the assistance of State Department security people.

Bill Corbett, the Secret Service’s weekend duty officer, said late Friday he had no information on the incident. Telephone calls to the club went unanswered Friday night.

The Post quoted sources as saying the agent reminded club officials that they were obstructing an officer of the U.S. government, but the officials were unswayed.

Earlier this year, the Maryland General Assembly approved legislation that will strip the club of $186,000 in state tax breaks unless it admits women.

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