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Robert Woods Bliss to Royall Tyler, June 28, 1950

June 28, 1950.

Royall Tyler, Esquire

67 rue de Lille67 rue de Lille, the former Hôtel Duret, constructed in 1872–1874 by David de Pénanrun. Beginning in January 1949, the building served as the Parisian headquarters of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Paris, France.

Dear Royall,

On returning last night from eight days absence at the Harvard Commencement, and a week-end on Long Island, I find your letter of June 21. You will be relieved to know that a cablegram is going today to BustrosElias (Elie) Bustros, an antiquities dealer in Beirut, Lebanon. requesting him to send all the objects, including the tabernacleBZ.1950.39. and the crystal,BZ.1950.18. to Dumbarton Oaks.

My mail also contained a letter from Bustros saying that additional efforts, based on the letter which I wrote him (the one which you helped me to phrase), had been of no avail in obtaining a waiver for the payment of export duties.See letter of December 2, 1949 [1]. Too bad!

Last Friday, on our way from Boston to Long Island, Allen and CloverClover Todd Dulles (1894–1974), whom Allen Dulles married in 1920. Dulles dined with us. He told me he had received a letter from you showing much concern over the report regarding the Crown of St. Stephen.The Holy Crown of Hungary, also known as the Crown of Saint Stephen, the twelfth-century gold coronation crown of the kingdom of Hungary that employs Byzantine enamels as part of its design. I asked him to assure you that the information I had obtained was to the effect that there was nothing to the report to cause apprehension.In 1950, there was a rumor that the Hungarian government (then under the control of the Soviets) would release Robert Vogeler, a U.S. businessman who had been arrested on espionage charges, from a Hungarian prison in exchange for the Crown of Saint Stephen, which was being held by the U.S. Army in Germany. The Crown and Coronation Regalia had been turned over to the U.S. authorities in 1945 by the Commander of the Hungarian Crown Guard, Colonel Erno Pajtas, in the American occupation zone in Austria. The U.S. government returned the Crown of Saint Stephen and the Hungarian Coronation Regalia to Hungary on January 6, 1978. Some day I will tell you about that.

Mildred and I plan to leave here the afternoon of Sunday, July 9, for Santa Barbara, where we shall remain for five or six weeks. Our address there will be: MIRAMAR HOTELThe Hotel Miramar, an oceanfront hotel property in Montecito that began as a guest property in 1876 and increased to twenty-nine structures by 1910. Paul Gawzner acquired the hotel in 1939 and owned it until 1998. (not Mirasol, the Hotel at which we have been accustomed to stay in the past). As yet we have not found anyone to take over Tom Whittemore’s work in Istanbul and we are fearful less the Director of the Aya Sofya Museum,Hagia Sophia, an early Byzantine basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum, in Istanbul, Turkey. Built in 537, it served as the seat of the patriarch of Constantinople until 1453 and then as a mosque from 1453 until 1931. It was secularized and opened as a museum in 1935. Muzaffer Ramazanoglu,Muzaffer Ramazanoğlu, a Turkish archaeologist who was custodian of the Kariye Camii for the Ministry of National Education, the directorate general of museums of the Turkish Republic, and the director of the Hagia Sofia Museum. may try to be placed in charge of the work. Any such move would be catastrophic. So please send up a prayer for us. I say “us” because, of course, most of this situation has fallen on my shoulders, although John Nicholas BrownJohn Nicholas Brown II (1900–1979), the U.S. assistant secretary of the Navy (1946–1949). has accepted to be President of the Byzantine Institute,The Byzantine Institute was founded by Thomas Whittemore in 1930. The organization’s mission was to conserve, restore, study, and document the Byzantine monuments, sites, architecture, and arts in the former Byzantine Empire. John Nicholas Brown was a committee member of the Byzantine Institute and in 1950 succeeded Robert P. Blake (1886–1950) as president upon the latter’s death, on May 9, 1950. but of course he is away on a Newport to Bermuda yacht race.

The next ten days are going to be much more hectic than ever in order to get away. Undoubtedly, there will be another meeting of the Trustees of the Byzantine Institute in Boston, to which I shall have to fly—and God knows what the present international Korean situation may bring forth, though my strong belief is that it will not lead to war.The Korean War, a war that began on June 25, 1950, and lasted until July 27, 1953, between the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).

If Mildred knew I were writing she would send much love to you and Elisina.

Affectionately,

RWB

P.S. As to our trip to Europe, that cannot materialize until the end of August. As soon as we know anything definite, you will of course be immediately notified.

 
Associated People: Allen Dulles; Thomas Whittemore
Associated Artworks: BZ.1950.18.1; BZ.1950.39