- The Washington Times - Friday, August 11, 2000

Lament on British boys

The 15-year-old daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Britain stirred up a fuss in the British press Thursday by calling British boys uncouth, ill-mannered, scrawny and anti-social.

Mary-Catherine Lader said she prefers American boys, "tanned athletic guys obsessed with sports" who dress in khaki trousers from the Gap.

Her comments in a two-page article in the British magazine the Tatler sparked coverage across the journalistic landscape, from the mass-market Mirror to the venerable Times of London, which fretted about the diplomatic impact of her words.

"British-American relations wobbled yesterday when [Miss Lader] published a … lament on the inadequacy of British boys," the Times wrote.

The Times regretted that Ambassador Philip Lader is on vacation and could not be reached for comment.

The Mirror called Miss Lader's article a "stinging attack on British boys" that is likely to embarrass her father, "who is well known for his love of this country."

Mirror columnist Bill Borrows denounced the teen-ager, telling her to pack her bags and "go back to the land of Jerry Springer and get it on with all the obese cretins and racist rednecks."

The Mirror, in a gratuitous observation, noted that Miss Lader lives with her family in the U.S. ambassador's residence, Winfield House, a mansion on 12 acres of land in London's Regent Park. She also goes to a private school, the paper added.

Miss Lader brought down the wrath of the British press by her views on living in London for three years and trying to meet British boys.

"It sounds terribly undiplomatic, and I certainly do not want to start an international conflict, so I should add that I love the English countryside, the Scottish Highlands, the sheep in Wales and living in London," Miss Lader wrote.

"When I return to the U.S., I will miss everything … except the boys."

Miss Lader admitted she found the British accent attractive at first.

"As sexy as I once thought guys with British accents were, their lack of appealing social skills and poor dress sense soon overshadowed the initial attraction," she said.

"Most American guys will talk to girls at parties simply to make new friends… .

"I'm not sure it's actually possible to become friends with a British teen-age guy. His idea of conversation is to ask two questions and then feel entitled to stick his tongue down your throat."

Democracy in Croatia

Croatia's new president and prime minister came to Washington this week to declare that democracy has taken hold in the Balkan nation since the death in December of authoritarian leader Franjo Tudjman.

"Croatia today is promoting democratic processes," President Stjepan Mesic told reporters Thursday at the National Press Club. "Its media are free, and all its citizens are equal before the law."

Mr. Mesic said he hopes the political change will attract international investments.

"We want to see Croatia identified by the U.S. financial circles as a country which is maybe of interest to them," he said. "We want to also attract as many U.S. businesses as possible. And last but not least, we certainly want citizens of the United States of America to discover Croatia as a major tourist destination."

Prime Minister Ivica Racan said he wants the world to see the change in Croatia.

"Croatia wants to cooperate with all the countries, and primarily with its neighbors in its own region," he said. "We are aware that democratic Croatia needs the democratic world, but in turn, the democratic world also needs Croatia."

Mr. Mesic said the one blight on the Balkans remains Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

"He has so far caused four wars, four crises, which he controlled and for which he's responsible. And he holds power simply because he controls the crises which are of his own doing," Mr. Mesic said.

Croatian leaders expect the next crisis to occur in Montenegro, which along with Serbia are the two remaining provinces in Yugoslavia.

"His goal now is to cause a crisis in Montenegro. And therefore, the international community should now send a message to Milosevic which would force him to desist from causing any crisis in Montenegro."

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