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D.C. digs into china cabinet for souvenirs

Aug. 13, 2011 at 12:16 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- City officials in Washington say they have been handing out plates from a donated set to foreign dignitaries to save money on commemorative souvenirs.

The plates have the district seal on them and are part of a set of around 500 plates that were a gift from a Turkish citizen to Mayor Anthony Williams during his second term from 2002-2007.

"They had not been used for years and would save money if put to good use," mayoral spokeswoman Doxie McCoy said.

The Washington Post said Saturday the re-gifting could actually cover some of the several thousand dollars the city spends on official gifts to high-level visitors at a time when budgets are tight.

The appropriateness apparently passes manners muster because the plates have the city seal on them, according to Robert Frye, former protocol officer for AT&T and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

"You want the gift to reflect something special about the city or the state," Frye told the Post. "Now, I wouldn't hand it over and say, 'We got these as a gift.' I wouldn't advertise that."

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