Jovial Dr. Alfred Bilmanis, Latvian Minister to the U.S., had been a pet of Washington society. In his comfortable 17th Street home, he loved to relax over a mellow wine and a fine cigar, converse in any of six languages. But when he attended formal diplomatic parties, as he did frequently, he became a thorny symbol. The State Department had never recognized the armed annexation of his country by Russia. Russian diplomats bitterly resented his presence at White House functions, coolly declined invitations on the grounds of illness if he was to be present. "Bilmanitis" became a Washington gag....

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