- The Washington Times - Friday, April 12, 2002

Scandal topples envoy

The good times have ended for the Swiss ambassador to Germany and his American beauty queen wife, as a sex scandal forced his government to recall him this week.

Ambassador Thomas Borer, a well-known figure in Washington diplomatic circles, and his wife, Shawne Fielding, are expected to leave Berlin for the Swiss capital, Bern, by the end of the month.

Reports from Germany said Berlin's high society set lamented the loss of the diplomatic couple, who held lavish parties and spiced up the staid image of Switzerland. Mrs. Fielding scandalized the Swiss government last year by posing provocatively in a miniskirt and a topless evening gown on a horse atop the steps of the Swiss Embassy.

The red-faced Swiss Foreign Ministry tolerated those antics but had enough after the latest round of German tabloid stories that said Mr. Borer was having an affair with a nude model while he wife was out of town.

Mr. Borer denied the stories, and his wife is standing by him. However, a woman identified as Djamile Rowe revealed all to the daily newspaper Blick.

Swiss Foreign Minister Joseph Deiss told reporters in Geneva this week that Mr. Borer was being recalled "because he can no longer effectively fulfill his mission in Berlin."

The latest scandal unfolded when the weekly newspaper SonntagsBlick published photographs that show a woman getting into a limousine that entered the embassy garage at 12:47 a.m. on March 21. She walked out at 2:34 a.m. The newspaper said the limousine was driven by Mr. Borer.

Mr. Borer told the Associated Press that no one had visited him that day, but Miss Rowe later told Blick that she and Mr. Borer had sex.

His imminent departure has disheartened Berlin society.

"It's a shame they both have to go," Mania Feilcke, president of the "Welcome to Berlin" club for diplomats, told the Die Welt daily.

In an editorial, the newspaper said, the ambassador "shook the dust out of the curtains and made the Swiss Embassy a lively, entertaining and sometimes also exciting place."

Mr. Borer, 44, visited Washington frequently in the 1990s when he served as the envoy in charge of investigating claims that Swiss banks accepted deposits of Jewish wealth looted by Nazis in World War II.

He met his wife, now 32, in 1999, just before he took up his position as ambassador to Germany. The Texas beauty queen was Miss Texas and the first runnerup in the Miss America contest in 1994.

Gerhard's rival here

The conservative candidate for chancellor of Germany is in Washington today to tell administration officials that he wants to make Germany a strong partner with the United States.

Edmund Stoiber, the governor of Bavaria, has meetings scheduled with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan. He plans to discuss the Middle East crisis and U.S. plans for military action against Iraq.

Mr. Stoiber, who is challenging socialist Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, said he wants to "make Germany a strong and self-confident partner of the United States again."

Where's the beef?

A question made famous in a 1980s television commercial is being asked at the Argentine Embassy, where Ambassador Diego Ramiro Guelar has been reduced to serving beer and pizza while he waits for the United States to lift a ban on Argentine beef.

Mr. Guelar, who first served as ambassador here in the late 1990s, is reopening his famous "Smiling Beef Club" under the name,"Smiling Pizza Club." He has invited old friends to dedicate the club this week with a reception at his residence.

He said the dispute that led to a ban on the world-famous Argentine beef has been settled. The ban is expected to be lifted by next year.

"Meanwhile, until the beef arrives, I will gather our friends and treat them to another Argentine tradition, that of pizza and beer," he said.

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