KEEPING ABREAST OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS?
As a former 'our man' in wherever I have much sympathy with this
Although many of the stranger requests made to me when a Brit Ambo came not from members of the public but from the so called great and the good. For example one Foreign Office Minister, of the more repellent variety, on a whistle stop tour of the Gulf arrived in Kuwait to spend a few hours after nearly a full day in Saudi Arabia. He had left his ties behind and raided my wardrobe and rather reluctantly borrowed my least objectionable silk one, of which I was rather proud but one he obviously regarded as so last year. On our way to see the Foreign Minister the FMO, whom we will call Mr M to protect the guilty, spotted a shopping Mall. He asked the Kuwaiti Protocol Officer to stop, jumped out of the official Jag and rushed into an up market 'Male Boutique' which was stuffed with the derniere crie
of fashionable attire from the West. He quickly picked out about a dozen designer brand silk ties at about (then) £70 apiece and asked me loudly if I could advance him the where with all-'I seem to have left my credit cards in your Residence'
As anticipated by this sleezepot who knew his Arab courtesies all too well, the Kuwaiti Protocol Officer insisted in picking up the tab' A gift from your Kuwaiti Hosts for an honoured guest'. Did Mr M demur? Not on your Eskimo Nelly, and helped himself to an extra tie on the Protocol Officer's way to the check out ' Bakers Dozen, What?!)
Mind you I wonder if some of our diplomats have not been a bit stuffy and a trifle unimaginative when dealing with the more 'bizarre' requests:
Take, for example the lady, 'unhappy with the size of her newly-boosted breasts following surgery, asked if the embassy could help'
I can think of a number of my colleagues who would have been prepared, if not positively eager,
to give some hands on advice
Labels: Bizarre Requests, Brits overseas, DM, Foreign Office, Kuwait