You are here:Home/Resources/ Bliss-Tyler Correspondence/ Washington, D.C., Geneva, and the Second World War (1941–1949)/ Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, December 2, 1949 [2]
 
Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, December 2, 1949 [2]

Unations Beyrouth

2 Dec. 49

Dear Robert—I duly received your letter of the 28 Nov.Actually letter of November 29, 1949. Many thanks.

I went at once to Bustros,Elias (Elie) Bustros, an antiquities dealer in Beirut, Lebanon. and suggested he break up the bronze find (Latakia). His answer was unexpected: Not only will he not break it up, but if you don’t want the lot, he won’t sell the capital,BZ.1950.24. either. Explanation: the capital doesn’t belong to him, and he, thinking it was for me, named that price which he says goes 100% to the capital’s owner, B. making nothing. His only profit would be on the bronze; and he won’t divide the find.

Further, both capital and bronze would have to pay an export duty levied on works of art, which would come to about $450 on the lot, unless D.O., as a museum, could obtain exemption by addressing an official demand to

The Emir Maurice ChehabMaurice Chéhab (d. 1994), a Lebanese archaeologist and professor, and director general of the Antiquities Service of Lebanon. (CHEHAB)

Directeur de Service des Antiquités Libanaises

Beyrouth

B.Elias (Elie) Bustros, an antiquities dealer in Beirut, Lebanon. says the exemption is granted in the case of bona fide museums, which D.O. certainly is; and he also says that where such exemption is given the US Legation sends the objects by pouch. Whether this would work out or not, I don’t know.

I’ve just seen B. a second time since your wire arrived: he won’t budge.

Now something else. He showed me today a find of Byz. gold, of 3 pieces:

  1. a bracelet,BZ.1950.37. the circlet part of it broken, repoussé-decorated with scrolls & birds, and (where the watch is on a wrist-watch), a pseudo-medallion, repoussé, of an emperor on a 6-horse chariot, crowned by Victories, with a beaded border (IV–V cent.), very fine style;
  2. another identical pseudo-medallion,BZ.1950.38. with a bit broken out of it at the L. top;
  3. a ravishing little solid gold buckle,BZ.1950.36. VIe cent, rather like thoseBZ.1948.20–21. Jack got for D.O. last year (& which Kaleb had had)—not identical, but equally beautiful and very soigné“Elegant.” in execution. Perfect preservation: tongue of buckle & all.

B.Elias (Elie) Bustros, an antiquities dealer in Beirut, Lebanon. said he’d long known about these things, & had intended to play the owner longer, but had suddenly made up his mind to buy them because Kevorkian’s Paris brotherHagop Kevorkian (1872–1962), a Turkish-Armenian archeologist, collector, and dealer of Middle Eastern antiquities. has just arrived in these parts.

B.Elias (Elie) Bustros, an antiquities dealer in Beirut, Lebanon. wants #3000 for the lot. He swears he’ll have them photoed. But everything is slow, here. And I leave for Cairo (with ClappGordon R. Clapp (1906–1963), an American authority on public administration and chairman of the Tennessee Valley Administration (1946–1954).) about Dec. 9 or 10, and am due to reach Paris, where there’s to be a final meeting of the Mission,United Nations Economic Survey Mission for the Middle East. On August 23, 1949, the Palestine Conciliation Commission established the Economic Survey Mission on the subject of Palestinian refugees. on Dec. 17.

If you were to get this in time for a cable to reach me before Dec. 9, indicating any wishes, you might send me one.

Very heavy work these days, & getting heavier as the deadline approaches. B.Elias (Elie) Bustros, an antiquities dealer in Beirut, Lebanon. is my only relaxation. His add., by the way, is just Elie Bustros,Elias (Elie) Bustros, an antiquities dealer in Beirut, Lebanon. Beyrouth (cable or post).

Much love to you both

R.T.

 
Associated People: John Seymour Thacher
Associated Things: Kalebdjian Frères