THE luxurious Washington residence chosen by Hongkong's new North American ''ambassador'', Mr Barrie Wiggham, includes a detached guest house. The single-bedroom guest house, which he describes as a ''large bungalow'', is built on a half-hectare plot adjacent to the main residence and is intended to accommodate visitors, such as the Governor, Mr Chris Patten, when they are on trips to the United States. It is needed because the two-storey mansion has only four bedrooms, two of which are small and on the ground floor, offering little privacy for special guests. The nine-year-old colonial-style building, about 7,000 square metres, is U-shaped around the swimming pool. The large grounds also feature a tennis court and a two-car garage. A real estate agency in Washington describes the guest house as a den and a family room. Mr Wiggham, who steps down as Secretary for the Civil Service tomorrow, defended the newly-created post of Hongkong commissioner for economic and trade affairs in the US. He said Hongkong needed greater representation to fend off competitors. Critics claim the post was intended to compensate him for not being made chief secretary. He stressed the recent criticism had been personal and unfair. ''I was not promised [the job] by the then governor, Lord Wilson,'' he said. ''To tell you the truth, at the time [of appointment], I wasn't sure if I wanted it. ''So I certainly did not volunteer for it. I did not ask for it and I wasn't seeking it.'' Mr Wiggham said the Government felt representation in the US had to be beefed up because the market was important to Hongkong. He revealed the administration had searched the civil service and even went to the private sector for a suitable candidate. ''I am available,'' Mr Wiggham said. ''I happen to be at a particular level. So if a post were created at that level, then I could fit in. ''We already have posts at different levels in our overseas offices, including one at D8, and indeed we have individuals at D8 in North America.'' Mr Wiggham dismissed as nonsense the allegation that the job was made for him and the package attached to it was too lavish. He said there was a standard package for anyone who was sent to a job overseas which included accommodation allowance in the form of rental or official residence. ''Whoever went there, me or anyone, would not make any difference whether the house was bought or rented, provided the house was seen to be appropriate to the state of the individual and suitable for entertainment and representation purposes,'' he said. He maintained he understood the localisation policy with regard to the post of chief secretary and had never been frustrated at not being considered. ''Of course, if it weren't for the localisation, I might be able to stay on and on and on. I have to accept the reality of life in Hongkong, which I accept happily,'' he said. He said the localisation policy would continue and the Government would be able to meet the requirements of the Basic Law in 1997. Mr Wiggham said he would like to be back in Hongkong in 1997, although he had not decided if he would stay after retirement.