"It's true," said the man in the blue pin-stipped suit, adjusting his hornrimmed glasses, "that it started out with tears in the morning."
"But," the Shah of Iran continued, emphasizing the "but," "it was the same last night after President Carter's remarks. THere were tears of joy in my eyes knowing of the unshakable frienship between our two countries."
Yesterday, at the luncheon Vice President and Mrs. Mondale gave at Anderson House for the Mohammed Reza Pahavis of Teheran, there wasn't a handkerchief in sight.
Down Massachusetts Avenue at Dunpont Circle there were plenty of demonstrators. And plenty of acrimony. But, unlike the previous day when the shah and his empress were welcomed by the Carters to the White House there was no tear gas.
In fact, the shah's motercade slipped into the mansion's circular drive from the west by way of 22n Street, bypassing the 600 or so anti-shah forces assembled at Dupont Circle.
On Tuesday at the White House, the shah had handed his handkerchief to Queen Farah as tear gas fired by D.C. police drifted up from the Ellipse.
Yesterday, he kept it in his pocket, the same place, apparently, he kept his shopping list for the several billion dollars' worth of U.S. arms he wants to buy.
"We'll have to hear what he wants," said Rep. Clement Zablocki (D-Wise.), chairman of the House International Relations Committee who, with others from the Hill, invited the shall up for tea later. "I don't think he'll get everything."
Sen. Abraham Ribicoff, member of the Senate Finance Committee, said he just didn't know what the shah's chances were of getting the arms.
Nor did he think there was a kind of quid pro quo agreement between the shah and Jimmy Carter that would assure arms for Iran in exchange for neutrality by Iran on OPEC oil price rises.
"I don't think it works that way." said the Connecticut Democrat, on whose right at the luncheon table was a high-ranking officer in the shah's army hanging on Ribicoff's every word. "People can talk and say nuances, and come to an understanding, but I don't think the United States and Iran have a co-realization."
What impressed him about the shah, he told Chief of Protocol Evan S. Dobelle, was how candid he is.
"I think he's the most candid public man I've ever met. Whether it's an embarrassment or not, he tells you how he feels."
The guest list was select, limited to a couple dozen high-powered men from government (Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. Sens, Henry Jackson and Jacob Javits, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Arthur Burns, World Bank President Robert McNamara, U.S. Ambassador for Trade Negotiations Robert S. Strauss most of them with their wives.) The worlds of culture (architect I. M. Pei and ballet troupe director Robert Joffrey) and media (Joe Allbritton of The Washington Star and A. M. Rosenthal of The New York Times) were also represented.
But the lunch marked a radical departure from the let-them-eat-caviar days of other shah visits. Instead of giving a dinner party for the President of the United States, the shah, and his entourage simply went home.
"It's always very clear from the beginning that there is no reciprocation," said Chief of Protocol Dobelle. "Instead of going to your dinner, he (the president) goes to your country. It's one of your better forms of reciprocation, don't you think?"