World: Embassy Row on the Nile

On paper, the design seems perfectly fine, even desirable.

To accommodate the growing number of U.S. diplomats and advisers arriving in Egypt, construction will begin next year in downtown Cairo on a gleaming new embassy, complete with sweeping drive and reflecting pool. Although the State Department has not yet approved a final design, the main building will be at least 15 stories tall. The $43 million structure will replace the present embassy, a sprawling, overcrowded hodgepodge of half a dozen buildings.

The embassy staff that numbered 25 in 1975 now stands at 215 Americans,...

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