Quote: Cocktail parties are death …

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“One of the great failures of the Diplomatic Service has been its inability to cast off its images as bowler hated, pin-striped and chinless with a fondness for champagne. It does not help when Ministers earn themselves a cheap thrill by colluding with the notion that the FCO is elitist and fuddy duddy. Or that Eton is a dirty word. A Foreign Office career is one of the best levelers – upwards or down – that has been devised. It is also testing. Bubbly is far from the mind when burning confidential documents on the roof of the Embassy in Baghdad, battening down the hatches against stone throwing mobs outside the High Commission in Lusaka or the Embassy in Tripoli, grinding out text at all-night sessions in Brussels or New York, paying incognito visits to Syria or doing bumps and jumps in an RAF Tornado over Kuwait. Indeed cocktail parties are death as I am sure 99 perfect of DS colleagues would agree. Whoever it was who suggested an international treaty banning National Day receptions should be canonized.”

Sir David Gore-Booth
British Ambassador to India
from the Valedictory Despatch: Sir David Gore Booth, Delhi, 1999
British Diplomatic Oral History Project | 1999
David Alwyn Gore-Booth, diplomat and banker (1943- 2004)