Chief of Protocol Leonore Annenberg stopped by the United Arab Emirates National Day celebration party last night, in what could be one of her last official parties on the Washington diplomatic whirl.

"I'm waiting for an appointment to see the president before I make my announcement," said Annenberg of her reportedly imminent departure from the protocol post. "It just doesn't work. We really thought it would. But it's too much traveling back and forth for my husband. He tried. He really did. But he wants me home now."

Annenberg said the administration is in the process of looking for a replacement, and she hopes to leave by the end of year.

"I was planning a party for her for next week, but I didn't plan on turning it into a farewell party," said Moroccan Ambassador Ali Bengelloun. "I'm going to miss her."

United Arab Emirates Ambassador Ahmad Salem Mukarab and Mrs. Mukarab hosted the lavish reception in honor of the 10th annual National Day celebration of the formation of the United Arab states. Here's what the ambassador said about peace in the Mideast: "The peace should be comprehensive and just, and His Royal Highness Prince Fahd's of Saudi Arabia plan should be considered a viable solution to bring peace in the Mideast."

The 500 guests -- mostly ambassadors and businessmen -- did what most people do at Washington receptions: hugged and kissed, backslapped and talked business.

But mostly they ate.

A buffet table about a block long ran through the Shoreham Hotel ballroom. It was piled with ice-boats filled with shrimp and crab, mountains of chicken and steak tartar, and rivers of humos.

"I've never seen so many oysters before," drooled one woman who looked like she might weigh 90 pounds soaking wet. She proceeded to eat 13 raw oysters.