White House snub for Rifkind
Saturday 24 April 1993
What had occurred was a protocol blunder of unusual proportions. The pair were the ambassador, Sir Robin Renwick, and his not unimportant charge, the Defence Secretary, Malcolm Rifkind. The event was a reception for dignitaries due to attend Thursday's opening of Washington's Holocaust Museum.
Even though their car had been allowed into the grounds, the hapless couple were intercepted at the front door. While scores of ambassadors and ministers from other countries filed by, they were told by uniformed guards that their names were not on the list.
In the melee, Sir Robin was apparently unable to persuade the guards of their error. Eventually, the pair, their British pride sorely bruised, simply gave up and returned to the embassy - to the bemusement of the embassy staff who hardly expected them back so soon.
'It was a White House f. . . up,' one senior British official could only say yesterday. 'It seems that their protocol people simply forgot us.' Sir Robin - a man deeply conscious of Britain's proper place in the world, not to mention his responsibilities as minder for the minister - was, according to officials near to him, not a little unamused.
The official line from the embassy last night, of course, was one of supreme equability. 'The minister was able to greet the President at the museum's opening,' a spokesman quickly pointed out.
The White House, meanwhile, was offering no explanations last night. The telephone lines from Pennsylvania Avenue to the embassy, however, have apparently been clogged with messages of profuse apology from an embarrassed White House protocol department.
The Belarus ambassador was also refused entry, but was recognised by a member of the US National Security Council and was then admitted.
Lammily: Barbie-like doll hits Kickstarter fundraising target in a day
Belle Knox: How the porn star student from Duke University became bigger than Justin Bieber
Top 10 most expensive cities in the world: Singapore named costliest place to live – but what about London?
Oscar Pistorius trial: Neighbour feared athlete would use gun that killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp to shoot himself
Channel 4 announces two-hour TV show to be broadcast 'Live from Space' later this month
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
- 1 The future of sex: The first female condoms were derided, mistrusted and shunned - but will their modern counterparts catch on?
- 2 South African rhino finally put down after roaming Kruger park for days with horn hacked off and bullet in brain
- 3 Channel 4 announces two-hour TV show to be broadcast 'Live from Space' later this month
- 4 Man stabbed with Legend of Zelda Master Sword in serious condition
- 5 Study suggests that 'gaydars' are real - at least for women
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...
£40k to £50k pa OTE £80k: Charter Selection: My client, a leading profitable a...
£46,141 to £51,816: Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland: The PPS i...