Embassy Row

Article excerpt

CUBA APPEASEMENT?

"Do you remember Neville Chamberlain?" Sen. Jesse Helms asked when a reporter sought his opinion yesterday on the trip to Cuba by Canada's foreign minister.

"That's what Canada is," said the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, referring to the British prime minister whose name became synonymous with appeasing Nazi Germany.

"[Chamberlain] went over and sat down with Hitler and came back and said we could do business with this guy. . . . Now, if we're going to forget all principle and let Fidel Castro get by with all of his atrocities, then we better look at the status of our principles; and Canada certainly should look at hers."

Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy got a promise of reform from Fidel Castro before he left Cuba on Wednesday. But shortly after their talks, Cuban police detained three dissidents for several hours.

A Canadian Embassy spokesman dismissed Mr. Helms' remarks, saying, "Why should we dignify those comments with a response?"

NIL'S AND NANE'S LUNCH

Nil Liljegren, the irrepressible wife of the Swedish ambassador, added a new twist to an old saying when she hosted a lunch yesterday in honor of Nane Annan, wife of the new U.N. secretary-general.

"Behind every successful man is a brilliant woman, and behind every brilliant woman is a successful man," she told a roomful of very successful and brilliant women who came to lunch at the ambassador's residence.

Her guests included Countess Peder Bonde of Sweden; Esther Coopersmith, a Democratic fund-raiser and well-known Washington hostess; Reagan-era ambassadors Holland Coors and Margaret Heckler; Francis Howard Humphrey, sister of Hubert Humphrey; Lucy Mohamed-Edmunds, wife of St. Lucian Ambassador Joseph Edmunds; Phillis Oakley, an assistant secretary of state; and Ambassador Molly Raiser, the chief of protocol.

Swedish Ambassador Henrik Liljegren said Nane and Kofi Annan, the new U.N. chief, are old friends. Mrs. Annan is a niece of the famous Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg.

Mr. Liljegren first met Mr. Annan at a New Year's Eve party in New York in 1993 and thought even then that he would make a great U. …