What Winston Peters was not doing in Washington DC was as important as what he was doing this week.
He was certainly making the most of an invitation from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to attend a conference on religious freedom to further New Zealand's interests.
The Foreign Minister has made it a personal mission to get a free trade deal with the United States underway.
He used the trip to make the case publicly this time, building on the quiet word he had last year with Vice President Mike Pence and employing a mix of logic and flattery.
But what he was not doing in Washington was soliciting a visit to the White House for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
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It is probably the first time in 30 years that New Zealand is not actively seeking a White House visit for the leader, nor suggesting any such ambition will be on the horizon.
Why is it not, and how much does that matter?
For previous leaders, the imperative of a visit was always clear and in the national interest.
Jim Bolger wanted to be the leader to repair the rift with Bill Clinton created by Labour's anti-nuclear policies.
He got his visit but the rift remained, including reprisals against New Zealand that limited access in Washington.
The relationship was largely in the hands of Don McKinnon and Madeleine Albright, and Clinton eventually visited New Zealand in 1999 for Apec.
Helen Clark wanted to be the leader to repair the rift with George W Bush while holding firm to anti-nuclearism, and succeeded.
She got her first White House visit in her first term after joining the US in Afghanistan, and eventually a breakthrough and undertaking the US would no longer seek to overturn New Zealand's nuclear law. She also pitched strongly for a free trade deal.
John Key wanted to build on Clark's success and complete the job by getting rid of all reprisals, which meant intelligence and defence agencies still treated New Zealand as second-class friends.
He wanted to return to meaningful engagement with Washington at all levels. That occurred under Barack Obama, not least because of personal rapport and how closely the two countries worked to secure the TPP trade deal. Key also got his White House visit in his first term.
Bill English was Prime Minister during Donald Trump's first year, when the TPP was ditched, and he trod warily, as it became clear that Trump was going to be a president for whom the norms around international diplomacy no longer applied. It was in New Zealand's interests to lay low.
Ardern, who as an Opposition MP marched with other feminists against Trump's victory, and Winston Peters inherited an uncertain relationship with an unpredictable US.
More attention in their first year as Prime Minister and Foreign Minister was on the deteriorating relationship with China and how best to manage that.
What has emerged by default is that Ardern is managing the China relationship – with Trade Minister David Parker as her wingman on Belt and Road matters – while Peters is managing the US relationship.
This informal division of labour is assisted by the expertise of Ardern's chief adviser, the head of Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Brook Barrington, who is also the former head of Foreign Affairs.
It is a convenient place to have landed. Ardern and Peters are playing to their strengths but, more importantly, both are minimising the risks of upsetting the two super-sensitive superpowers - Peters undoubtedly aggravated the problems with China and Ardern is decidedly unenthusiastic about Trump.
Ardern has a cordial relationship with Trump, Peters has a warm relationship with his administration, with Pompeo and Pence in particular.
Ardern and Peters are playing to their strengths but, more importantly, both are minimising the risks of upsetting the two super-sensitive superpowers.
Peters is not unfamiliar with the Trump's America First mindset and using divisive tactics to gain power.
Ardern has landed in a sensible and cautious place with China in which she is showing a little more willingness than the Key government to call out its bad behaviour but is not willing to match Australia's macho approach towards China.
Australia's Scott Morrison is getting a White House visit with all the trimmings and a state dinner in September. No less would be expected as a political expression of their unbroken formal alliance.
Trump may reciprocate by visiting Australia in December for golf's President's Cup and, if so, New Zealand will have to decide whether to invite him to New Zealand as well.
The prospect of high-level visits becomes more problematic after this week's ugly performance by Trump in which he tacitly encouraged a mob in North Carolina to round on Muslim Congresswoman and former Somali refugee Ilhan Omar with chants of "send her back".
That occurred only hours after Trump hosted Farid Ahmed, a survivor of the Christchurch mosque massacre, in the Oval Office.
You don't have to ask to know that Ardern would be disgusted.
She won't be itching to get to the White House and the calculation will have been made that New Zealand's interests are not being harmed.
An unsolicited invitation to Ardern, or a request by Trump to visit New Zealand while he is in Australia would, of course, have to be accepted. To do otherwise would cause offence, which would not be in New Zealand's interests.
But there will be many in the Government keeping their fingers crossed that none is forthcoming.
The political expression of the relationship that New Zealand would prefer would be a decision to start a bilateral free trade agreement, counter-intuitive though it may be given recent events.
The TPP only became acceptable to Labour and NZ First after the elements which had been promoted by the United States under Obama were removed – elements considered too weak by Trump.
But Peters is being indulged in his mission for an FTA firstly because it is Peters, and because New Zealand is willing to play the long game.
If Trump woke up one morning and tweeted that he was going to do an FTA with NZ, it could still take a long time to negotiate.
By the time it came to seal the deal, some real free-traders could hold the levers of power in the United States and Trump could be long gone.