Bob Peirce has been Counsellor at the British Embassy, Washington, responsible for Political and Public Affairs, since October 1999. He joined the British Diplomatic Service in 1977 and has served in China, Hong Kong and New York. He was Private Secretary to three British Foreign Secretaries - Sir Geoffrey Howe, Mr John Major and Mr Douglas Hurd. He has been seconded twice to the Hong Kong Government and was the senior official responsible for Hong Kong's external affairs under Governor Chris Patten from 1993 to 1997. His last appointment before coming to Washington was as Secretary to Mr Patten's Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, which reported in September 1999.