Amid heightened security and the hurried comings and goings of diplomatic staff members, about 40 anxious Kuwaiti nationals visited their embassy here yesterday to learn what they could about the situation at home.

Members of the group -- students, teachers and others who were visiting Washington when Iraqi forces charged into their country -- met with diplomats at the embassy's two-story Tilden Street NW complex. Outside, a white van delivered a catered lunch.

Inside, according to the group, which had hastily dubbed itself the Kuwait Liberation Committee, there was talk of visas and living arrangements and visitors now stranded by a war.

"I brought 10 students here for a summer program," said Mohammad Al-Awadi, a member of the committee and an assistant professor at the University of Kuwait. "The program ended, but unfortunately the invasion happened, so we have to have some way to take care of the students."

Another member of the group, who would identify himself only by his first name of Faisal, said the meeting had been reassuring. "I think things are getting better day by day," Faisal said. "We are grateful to the United States."

Faisal said he was attending a seminar sponsored by the Department of Commerce when the Iraqi attack occurred. "I'm sort of stuck here, and I have to find some way of getting back," he said.

Despite the invasion, the group has been able to partly communicate with friends and family back home.

"We have put together messages from the group, and we have been fortunate to have volunteers at the {Kuwait} border who have taken the messages and relayed them," Al-Awadi said.

Embassy officials declined to talk to a reporter. A handwritten sign on the guardhouse near the embassy's electronic entry gate read, "No passports or documents will be accepted until further notice."

"So far, there has been no official word from the U.S. government about whether we can stay here," Al-Awadi said. "But I think there will be no problem."

At the Embassy of Iraq, meanwhile, the afternoon's activities were briefly interrupted by a bomb scare. Iraqi officials, suspicious of a package that was delivered to the embassy's red brick complex near Dupont Circle, notified the U.S. Secret Service, which sealed off one block in front of the embassy until the package was examined and declared harmless.

One Iraqi official said the embassy had been overwhelmed by callers inquiring about relatives in Iraq, or phoning in obscene messages. The embassy's fax machine was so clogged with obscene messages, the official said, that the phone number had to be changed. Staff writer Carlos Sanchez contributed to this report.