From a congressional hearing May 8 on prospects for democracy in Burma, Mongolia and Nepal:

Rep. Stephen Solarz (D-N.Y.): Do we actually have an embassy in Ulan Bator?

DeSaix Anderson, assistant secretary of state for East Asia: Yes, sir. We have two American FSOs and three Mongolians, and we have an ambassador who, unfortunately, is posted here in Washington but visits from time to time.

Solarz: Well, is there any reason why he's not a resident?

Anderson: There is no suitable place for him to live, but as soon as such is ready, we're going to move him out there.

Solarz: No suitable place for him to live? I mean really, Mr. Anderson. What are we sending -- a pacha over there? I mean, no suitable place? I mean we have Asian countries where Americans slept in foxholes in order to defend freedom, and many gave their lives. Are you saying that the only reason we don't have an ambassador is we can't find a suitable mansion?

Anderson: Mr. Chairman, I'm one of those who slept in foxholes, but we felt that we should have enough going on between the two countries and also that we had a place that was suitable so itcould ...

Solarz: Is this absence of a suitable residence the main reason we don't have somebody over there?

Anderson: Yes, sir, but we're planning to ...

Solarz: Permit me to say this is ludicrous ... I mean it's one thing not to have an ambassador in Phnom Penh or Hanoi -- there are political reasons for this. You can agree or disagree, but I really cannot believe that in the first Asian Communist country to undergo democratic transformation we don't have an ambassador only because suitable quarters can't be found.