Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
The ambassador of France was admittedly a little jealous. He had always dreamed, he said, of being am ambassador to Paris.
The next best thing Thursday night, perhaps, for France's Jacques Kosciusko-Marizet was entertaining the new U.S. ambassador to France, Arthur Hartman, a 51-year-old career foreign service officer whose nomination was confirmed this week.
Hartman, most recently the assistant secretary of state for European affairs, told the dinner guests at the French embassy that "chameleon-like" he had gone from one administration to the next since first entering government service 29 years ago, fresh out of Harvard Law School.
If going to Paris now as American ambassador appeared to some to be a crown for the veteran state department officer, it is not the first crown he had been pursuing in Europe this year.
Two months ago, in the line of diplomatic tours, Hartman Participated in a move that might return home the symbol of Hungarian sovereignty, the crown of St. Stephen's. The 800-year-old crown was entrusted to American troops by Hungarian soldiers in 1945 as a means of keeping it out of the hands of the invading Soviet forces.
Since then, the Americans, who have been keeping it in the vault at Fort Knox. Ky., have resisted Russian and Hungarian demands that it be returned. The Americans have always argued that they were given the crown for safekeeping by representatives of an officials Hungarian governatives of an official Hungarian government and that relations have been too unfriendly between the United States and Hungary since then to discuss the crown's fate.
But recently, Hungary and the United States signed a cultural and scientific exchange agreement which some experts say may lead to an ultimate resolution of the controversy.
Thursday night, Hartman said that what happens to the crown will have to await a possible decision by President Carter.
Guests included high-ranking experts from the State Department in the area of European and economic affairs, several members of Congress and the new Chief of Protocol, Evan S. Dobelle. He was swapping protocol stories with the French embassy's press directory, Andre Baeyens.
Dobelle told of President Carter's recent trip to Geneva where he met with Syrian President Assad and how the delicate task of bringing the discussions to an end fell to him. There was "substantive" matters awaiting the two leaders in prearranged press conference, Dobelle said he told Carter.
"Are you telling me that these talks aren't substantive?" Carter asked Dobelle, and then turned to Assad and jokingly complained that even for presidents, there were no human rights.
Baeyens suggested that Dobelle might enjoyed reading a book by a famous French chief of protocol about his five years in office. When Dobelle marveled over the Frenchman's five years in office, someone suggested that he might be spending eight in the job.
Dobelle thought about it for a minute then said, "Sixteen."
"You mean Rosalynn is going to be President?" he was asked.
"Mondale or Rosalynn," Dobelle replied.