Former U.S. News & World Report correspondent Nicholas Daniloff may have spent 13 days in Moscow's Lefortovo prison on spying charges more than four years ago, but the pull of the Soviet Union is strong and he intends to go back for a visit in the spring. Daniloff, who now teaches journalism and a course on Soviet culture and Soviet society at Northeastern University in Boston, said yesterday he has been told by the Soviet government that if he applies for a visitor's visa, he will get it.

"I've always said I have had deep feelings about the Soviet Union and my past {he is of Russian ancestry} and would want to go back," he explained. Northeastern is setting up a student and faculty exchange program with Moscow State University, Daniloff said, and he hopes to go there in the spring as part of the faculty exchange. Speaking of his imprisonment, which dominated the news for a period, Daniloff said, "What happened to me was a relatively short experience. Not nearly what the KGB has done to its own citizens. The experience has made me more sympathetic to the Soviet people."

Out and About For all those people who paid those hefty $3,500- and $2,500-a-person tickets to be at the same fund-raiser with Princess Diana Oct. 4, money did get to the charities. The Washington Ballet has received a $100,000 check from the organizers of the glittery evening, and the letter with the money says Grandma's House and the London City Ballet have received the same amount ...

In case anyone has missed it, Millie's book is outselling the one written by former president Ronald Reagan. Perhaps living at the White House has something to do with it, but Millie's autobiography, "Millie's Book," is No. 6 on the Publishers Weekly list, while Reagan's autobiography, "An American Life," was nowhere to be seen on that national survey of bookstores. It isn't known how much Warner Books paid for Millie's popular work, but Simon and Schuster reportedly paid the previous president between $6 million and $7 million for a book most critics have found uninspiring and isn't expected to be in all that many Christmas stockings ...

A Japanese publishing company has purchased the Belmont, Mass., home of the late Edwin O. Reischauer, U.S. ambassador to Japan from 1961 to 1966. Reischauer, who founded the Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard, died in September. A spokesman for Kodansha Ltd., for whom Reischauer had worked, said the house would be a memorial with the library and other portions of the building open to the public. The present Japanese emperor and empress stayed at Reischauer's home on their 1987 visit ...

Leona Helmsley, the "queen of the mean," is working on her image. Helmsley, who was convicted in August 1989 of billing personal expenses to the Helmsley hotel business empire, presented a $300,000 check this week to the New York chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. With the donation, the Alzheimer's Association will establish the Alzheimer's Alert Program, a regional network to locate, identify and return people with Alzheimer's who wander from home and become lost ...