It was the Turkish ambassador's turn to drop in on the Greek ambassador last night for a goodbye reception that included baklava in the dining room, a bronze nude of Poseidon in the hallway and influential Greek Americans like Rep. John Brademas (D-Ind.) and Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.)
The night before, Greek Ambassador Menelas Alexandrakis had said goodbye to Turkish Ambassador Melih Esenbel at the Turkish Embassy. Last night, Esenbel returned the visit as relations between the historic Agean enemies remained warm -- on the Washington cocktail circuit, at least.
"We have problems." said Esenbel, referring to the stalemated Greek and Turkish negotiations over Cyprus, "but Greece is a neighbor. Back in Turkey we think that we need each other."
The Greek ambassador is leaving Washington in mid-August for Athens, where he has been assigned as an ambassador-at-large. He first came to Washington for five years during the Turman administration when he was a secretary to the embassy and a "bachelor who danced every night."
Since ten, he has been assigned to various other countries but has spent the last five years in Washington playing "a good game of Ping-Pong" between embassy parties. Yet guests like Sarbanes and Brademas applauded his more serious efforts.
Brademas also applauded the Greek democracy in general. "During the seven years that Greece was a dictatorship, I refused to come to this embassy," he said. "Now that Greece is a democracy, I'm delighted to come to this embassy."
Other guests apparently as delighted included HUD Secretary Patricia Harris, who left a party in her honor to say goodbye to the ambassador.
"I don't go to many of these things," she insisted, "but the Greeks were simply marveous to us when we were over there last fall. I'm not normally on the cocktail-party circuit, but I always tell myself I ought to be because I always see so many people I haven't seen."
One person she hasn't seen lately is President Carter, who has secluded himself at Camp David for energy talks with a growing number of government officials.Harris has not been invited.
"Well," she said, "Camp David is a pleasant place, but the question is, the president decides whom he wants to see."
Clark Clifford, former defense secretary and recently in from the energy summit talks at Camp David, also made a brief appearance.
"I thought things were going well when I left," he said, "The inquiry the president is making is a profound and an important one."
Other guests included Sens. Charles Percy (R-Ill.) and Claiborne Pell (D-R.I) and Mrs. Warren Burger, wife of the Chief Justice.
George Vest, assistant secretary of state for European affairs, was there also. He had no comment on foreign or domestic affairs, but plenty to say about the fried smelt.
"If we were in Greece these would have the heads on them," he said.
"Taste better, too," added the Greek ambassador.