Despite the time-worn diplomatic formula of quiet airport greetings by often-dour foreign ministers, for Ms. Rice the more telegenic receptions in Bishkek and Tokyo were not anomalies.
In their discussions, the Iraqi President agreed that eight previously off-limits "presidential" sites could be inspected under a complicated diplomatic formula whose details are still to be worked out.
Last week, a huge United Nations majority, including the United States, shamefully endorsed a diplomatic formula that would invite Khmer Rouge killers into an interim Cambodian government.
Sheltering behind an ancient diplomatic formula, Marlin Fitzwater, the White House spokesman, said, "We don't intend to get involved in the internal affairs of Iraq."
This requires a tricky diplomatic formula.
As the three-day meeting passed its midpoint, officials of the seven nations raced to find broad diplomatic formulas that would maintain the appearance of a collective approach while permitting individual leaders to pursue their divergent courses.
That's a useful diplomatic formula, but it has to be given political content.
By doing so, it thumbed its nose at all those governments, including the United States, that had been working patiently and creatively to find a diplomatic formula that met everyone's needs without adding to nuclear dangers.
What they need is a fudgy diplomatic formula to obscure powerfully contradictory principles.
At the annual summit meeting of the eight nations, Mr. Clinton also said he was looking for a diplomatic formula that would convince Pakistan not to to move ahead with nuclear tests of its own.