Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, December 29, 1926
29 December 1926Wednesday.
Here we are, about to embark (on the 31st). I trust you got my wire from Venice giving you dates and name of ship.
The upshot of my correspondence with Kalebdjian is (a) that I shall have to go to Port Said to see the collection, as the owner absolutely refuses to bring it to Cairo; and (b) that I have had to agree that the proposal I transmit to you, if any, shall include 20% commission to Kalebdjian. This of course doesn’t necessarily exclude eventually putting it up to Kaleb. to accept less or break the deal. He was not to be budged, however, on the principle that he gets his commission from you, and not from the owner, and as the fact of the things being for sale was made known to you by Kalebdjian, I don’t see how we could get away from his terms.
I will make no firm offer involving a total cost to you of over ten thousand pounds without cabling you first.For this “upward limit,” see letter of December 18, 1926. The figures in my wires will mean sterling.
Many thanks for the letters of introduction.See letter of December 18, 1926. I know HendersonNevile Meyrick Henderson (1882–1942), British minister in Egypt between 1924 and 1928. a little, but am glad to have the word from you.
A point that I shall have to go into with some delicacy on arrival is whether the collection falls under the export-of-works-of-art-interdiction.Egyptian laws governing its antiquities can be said to go back as far as Mehmed (Muhammad) Ali’s 1835 Ordinance, which placed severe restrictions on, among other things, the export of antiquities outside of Egypt. Royall Tyler probably calls into question whether the sale of the silver treasure is governed by such laws on the basis of its not being Egyptian. See Antoine Khater, Le régime juridique de fouilles et des antiquités en Égypte (Paris: Adrien–Maisonneuve, 1961). I should be glad if you would let me know whether or not you wish me, in case no other way seems to be open, to appeal to the good offices of the U. S. Minister. A wire “yes” or “no” would enlighten me on this point. You might consider the possibility of depositing the things at the Legation, and letting them stay there until an opportunity occurs for their removal by the bag. If I got from you a wire “deposit” that is what I’d try to do.
Hayford Peirce is with us, and I shall be very glad to have his advice. He won’t hurry back from Egypt as quickly as we shall have to.
I have engaged rooms at the Hot. Continental, but will go every day to the U.S. Legation to see if there is any mail there.