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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, September 8, 1936



I’ve just returned here, dearest Mildred, and if I’ve succeeded, on other occasions, in conveying to you some of the peculiarities of this place, you’ll be pained rather than surprised to hear that the Fin. Minister took me out to dinner last night, that I ate some fish, and . . . hope to feel better tomorrow, if I take nothing but a little lemon-juice for the present. Today is a public holiday, Kiss-boldog-asszony (little-happy-lady = the Nativity of the B.V.), and I’m celebrating it by writing to you.

I believe you’ve had Bill’s news direct from him, since my note from Antigny. SmolezanskiDr. Léon Smolizanski (1882–1944), author of L'albumine dans les crachats des tuberculeux (Paris: Jouve, 1911). is delighted with him, advises no work till Jan., but says that by then Bill will be able to do any normal work: not, however, in N.Y. Smol. washes his hands of Bill if it’s N.Y. We hope the G.T.Guarantee Trust. will give him a job in London.

To my intense relief, the Lib. de France sent in the Vol. IIIL’art byzantin. proofs while Hayford was at Antigny, so that we were able to finish correcting (the first proofs) together, with St. André’sAlfred de Saint-André. R. W. B. Lewis, in Edith Wharton: A Biography (New York: Harper and Row, 1975), 196–97, mentions Alfred de Saint-André as a frequent guest of Edith Wharton and describes him as “a man of no visible achievements” but “a great gourmet and a connoisseur of out-of-the-way restaurants.” See also Anne Foata, “Edith Wharton and the Faubourg Saint-Germain: The Diary of the Abbé Mugnier,” Twentieth Century Literature 43, no. 4 (Winter 1997): 399. Saint-André was also a correspondent of the Blisses. See Bliss Papers, HUGFP 76.8, box 36. kind help where points of French were concerned. What’s more, in spite of the évènements,“Calamities.” the LDFLibrairie de France. want to go on with the work. Hayford and I made the final selection of monuments to be reproduced in Vol. IV—a marvellous line-up it is, too, but heart-rending to have to exclude so many things one would like to include. We’ve had superbly photographed—the first time it’s been done properly, from a scaffolding—the mosaics in the dome of St. Sophia, Saloniki,Hagia Sophia in Thessaloniki, Greece, built in the eighth century. The dome mosaic represents the Ascension of Christ and is ringed by the figures of the twelve apostles, the Virgin Mary, and two angels. Much of the interior decoration was plastered over after the great fire of Thessaloniki in 1917. which are of incredible splendour. And Serres, and Limburg, and lots of other things that have not been adequately done before.

I can’t remember whether I wrote to you that, shortly after MoreyAmerican art historian Charles Rufus Morey (1877–1955) was a professor and chairman of the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University between 1924 and 1945. had come out with his review of Goldschmidt and Weitzmann,In a review of Goldschmidt and Weitzmann’s Die byzantinischen Elfenbeinskulpturen (published in The Art Bulletin 17, no. 3 [September 1935]: 398–400), Morey and A. S. Keck refute the tenth-century dating of the Romanos ivory in the Cabinet des Médailles, Paris, and date the ivory to ca. 1070 in the time of Romanos IV. Royall Tyler and Hayford Peirce delivered the talk “Two Landmarks in Tenth-Century Byzantine Art” at the Deuxième Congès International des Études Byzantines in Belgrade on April 14, 1927. The talk was published as “Deux monuments dans l’art byzantin du Xe siècle,” Aréthuse 16 (July 1927): 1–8. attacking them for accepting our date for the Romanus and Eudoxia ivory in the CDM (and of course rejecting the identification with Constantine Porphyrogennetos’sConstantine VII Porphyrogennetos (905–959), a Byzantine emperor who reigned from 913 to 959. own features of the peculiar type that suddenly appears in the ivories allied with the CDM panel), providence permitted Hayford to acquire the only coin of Romanus IIRomanos (Romanus) II (938–963), a Byzantine emperor. This coin (BZC.1948.17.3117) is now in the Byzantine Collection at Dumbarton Oaks. For an illustration of this coin, see “Solidus of Romanos II (959–963),” The Byzantine Emperors on Coins, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, accessed October 5, 2015. known: a superb, practically fleur-de-coin solidus with the Emperor’s portrait on it, as like his father (Const. Porph.) as two peas.See, for example, the gold solidus (BZC.1948.17.3075) dated 945 and illustrated at “Solidus of Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos (913–959),” The Byzantine Emperors on Coins, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, accessed October 5, 2015. I fear I did write about this to you—bear with me, I’m so full of it that I can’t risk your not knowing. With this windfall, we can certainly dispose of Morey and vindicate poor dear Gogo,Adolph Goldschmidt (1863–1944), a Jewish German art historian. Tyler’s nickname for him was Gogo. who is very dewy about it all—and no wonder, for it took him 10 years to reconcile himself to our dating of the Rom. and Eud. panel, and now to have Morey rend him on that very point: it is hard, and we owe it to Gogo to hasten to his assistance. Morey doesn’t know the coins—and in spite (or because) of his vast erudition, he is unfamiliar with the originals, and works exclusively on—not even photos, but photostats. Much of what constitutes style escapes him.

To go back to the LDF, perhaps their favourable dispositions towards us (God knows not caused by the sales of L’Art Byzantin) have something to do with the excellent reviews we’ve had. A superb one from the R. P. de Jerphanion,Reverend Père Guillaume de Jerphanion, a French Jesuit archaeologist. The Jerphanion review has not been identified. all the better because we are far from allies, and his recognition is grudging, and another in the Bibliothéque de l’Ecole des Chartes,Émile-A. van Moé, “Hayford Pierce [sic] et Royall Tyler. L'Art Byzantin. Paris, Librairie de France. Gr. in-4o. T. I, 1932, 116 pages et 200 planches en phototypie; t. II, 1934, 150 pages et 208 plances,” Bibliothèque de l’école des chartes 96, no. 1 (1935): 392–94. long and almost too laudatory, signed by one Van Moé, whom I’ve never heard of. The LDF are bringing out a blurb from Vol. III et la suite, which reproduces extracts from these and other reviews, and I’ll send some copies to you when it appears.

At Antigny and in the neighbourhood one would never suspect what is happening in France. I say glibly “what is happening”, but I’m far from knowing what that really means. One hears as many different accounts as one talks to people—not quite, for there’s concordance among most of the gens bien pensants,“Well-meaning people.” and the Right generally. But the rest—the middle parties & moderate Left—sound every note, from black pessimism to confidence. It’s not altogether unlike the atmosphere in USA when I was there in May-June ‘34—with the European international problems thrown in.

On the whole, I left the other day, after a month in France of which five days in Paris, with the impression that the danger of violence in Oct. is less than it seemed to be when I passed through late in June. The Croix de FeuCroix-de-Feu (“Cross of Fire”), a French league in the interwar period led by Colonel François de la Rocque (1885–1946). have lost confidence in le Col. de la RoqueFrançois de La Rocque (1885–1946), the leader of the French right-wing league known as the Croix-de-Feu (“Cross of Fire) from 1930 to 1936. (“de la Loque”“Wreck.”), and are beginning to look around (many of them) for a moyen d’entente“Means of agreement.” with the Front Populaire.The Front populaire (“Popular Front”), an alliance of left-wing movements that included the French Communist Party, the French Section of the Workers International, and the Radical and Socialist Party during the interwar period. It won the May 1936 legislative elections which led to the formation of a government headed by Léon Blum (1872–1950) and composed of Radical-Socialist and Workers International ministers. They have nothing resembling a leader, or a programme. The Radicals are frightened, feel they’ve played the Apprenti sorcier,“Sorcerer’s apprentice.” and would dearly love to manoeuvre the centre of gravity a bit towards the right. The idea of devaluation has made great progress. Some say BlumAndré Léon Blum (1872–1950), a French politician, usually identified with the moderate left, and a three-time prime minister of France. is for it, but considers that he has identified himself too much with maintenance of the old parity to stay at the head of a govt that devalues, hence talk of a reshuffle à la rentrée,“In September.” with DaladierÉdouard Daladier (1884–1970), a French Radical politician who would become the prime minister of France at the start of the Second World War. or ChautempsCamille Chautemps (1885–1963), a French Radical politician and a three-time prime minister of France. Prime Min., and Paul ReynaudPaul Reynaud (1878–1966), a French politician and lawyer during the interwar period. Reynaud was noted for his economic liberalism and militant opposition to Germany. In 1940, he became the prime minister of France. aux Finances.

On the other hand, the Blum govt. has not done at all badly, many dispassionate observers feel, in foreign affairs. The dips. in Paris like Delbos,Yvon Delbos (1885–1956), a French Radical-Socialist Party politician and minister. esp. our people & the British appreciate him as against Laval.Pierre Laval (1883–1945), a French politician and a four-time prime minister of France. Even non-Front. Pop. Frenchmen, I found, are beginning to recognize that in the liquidation of the Abyss. businessEthiopia, which the Italians invaded in 1935. The invasion was condemned by the League of Nations. In early 1935, French foreign minister Pierre Laval and Italian prime minister Benito Mussolini signed an Italo-French agreement that led to the Italian invasion of Ethiopia. Laval became prime minister in June 1935, but his support of the Italians in Ethiopia led to his resignation from politics in January 1936. & in the initiative in the Spanish embargo,Non-intervention agreement and arms embargo during the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). Blum has pursued a wise national policy and has kept the extreme Left in check in a manner which no one else would have been able to do it. And now Rydz Smighy’sMarshal Edward Rydz-Śmigły (1886–1941), field marshal of Poland and a political figure. visit to Paris, the refurbishing of the Polish alliance,The Franco-Polish Alliance,a military alliance between France and Poland that was active between 1921 and 1940. The alliance was renewed in 1936. the prospect of correcting the hostility between Poland & Tschekoslo.France was an ally of both Poland and Czechoslovakia and tried repeatedly to get the two countries to resolve their frequent border disputes and become allies. See Igor Lukes, Czechoslovakia between Stalin and Hitler: The Diplomacy of Edvard Beneš in the 1930s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 45.– so many points of prime importance to France—have greatly impressed opinion.

It’s all precarious. No one knows what the extreme Left might do if the insurgents in Spain decidedly get the upper hand—and they appear to be by way of getting it now, though it’s generally believed that it will be a long drawn-out affair. On the other hand, if the insurgents do win, & Blum’s embargo policy is made to prevail against the extreme Left, Blum will have won a claim to the gratitude of all there in France who want to see the Communist-Anarchist menace wiped out in their S.W. frontier.

Another factor, perhaps of prime import, is the Zinovieff-Kameneff trialJoseph Stalin (1878–1953) formed a ruling troika with Grigory Zinoviev (1883–1936) and Lev Kamenev (1883–1936) in 1923. When, in 1934,Sergei Kirov (1886–1934) was assassinated, Zinoviev and Kamenev were found to be morally complicit in Kirov's murder and were sentenced to prison terms. A later show trial was held in August 1936.  The defendants were found to be guilty, sentenced to death, and shot. and its upshot. The French Communists & Soviet sympathizers have had the shock of their lives from this spectacle of a trial, repeating some of the worst features of the Reichstag fire trialThe Reichstag fire trial resulted from an arson attack on the Reichstag building in Berlin in 1933. Marinus van der Lubbe, a Dutch communist recently arrived in Germany, was blamed, and the fire was used as evidence by theNazis that the Communists were plotting against the German government. Van der Lubbe and four Communist leaders were subsequently arrested.Only van der Lubbe was convicted and sentenced to death. in Germany, which ended in the execution of 16 of the Communist Old Guard,It is unclear what Tyler refers to here, as only Marinus van der Lubbe was executed in the Reichtag fire trial. But between 1933 and 1939, one hundred and fifty thousand Communists were detained in Nazi concentration camps and a further thirty thousand were executed. See Frank McDonough, Opposition and Resistance in Nazi Germany (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 4. “des Purs”.“The Pure.” The Right Purs in France, like HitlerAdolf Hitler (1889–1945), a German politician and the leader of the Nazi Party. He was chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and dictator of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. in Germany, goes on repeating the same phrases about the menace of world Communism embodied in the present Soviet régime, but this Zinovieff trial has made it abundantly clear that the StalinJoseph Stalin (1878–1953), leader of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953. régime deals with Communism no less drastically than does Nazi Germany. Stalin now stands out as an Oriental conquerer-tyrant on the Genghis-Khan pattern,Genghis Khan (1162?–1227), the founder and emperor of theMongol Empire. After founding the Mongol Empire and being proclaimed “Genghis Khan,” he initiated invasions that resulted in the conquest of most of Eurasia. These campaigns were often accompanied by wholesale massacres of the civilian populations. and the mechanism he is building up in Russia has only a formal resemblance to Lenin’sVladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870–1924), a Russian Communist revolutionary politician and political theorist who served as the leader of the Soviet Union between 1917 and 1924. Communistic State. In practice, it is much more like Old Zarist Russia, with its bureaucratization of every branch of life (even actors & dancers are State officials, distributed neatly along a cut-&-dried scale of rank & payment.)

If this tendency is destined to prevail in Russia, & all present signs point that way, the effect on Communism in France & elsewhere may be enormous. The doctrinaire Communist can hardly go on looking to Russia for guidance, Russia may shortly again figure as the ideal of the reactionary, and in this capacity rival Nazi Germany. Then what?

It hurts to think of Spain. Whichever side wins, the prospect is a dark one. The “Government” seems to be sliding into the hands of the Communists, and perhaps even of the Syndicatists (Anarchists). If the Reds were to win, & the Syndicatists to gain the upper hand, they might abandon Spanish Morocco,The Spanish protectorate in Morocco, established in 1912 and ended in 1956. which would open the very deuce of an international question, about as dangerous as any one can imagine. If the insurgents win a military victory, it is to be feared that they won’t succeed in pacifying & governing the country, even outside of Cataluña & Valencia, which would probably declare themselves independent, opening another huge problem. By using Moroccan troops in Spain, the insurgents have incurred a hatred from the people that will be long-lived and will give endless trouble, whatever happens. The army has always been disliked in Spain, and now. . .

My old friend Mrs. Stuart Menteath, living on the border near Hendaye, has been seeing the smoke of burning trees & hearing the artillery fire. I made a dash down there to see her (she’s 80) & found her very valliant. She asked me if I advised her to pull up stakes & go to England—and I advised her to stay where she was. I don’t believe she’d survive the fatigue of moving, with an Eng. winter to follow. Pray God I didn’t advise her wrong!

Now a little personal gossip, for your own ear alone, please (& R’s). In 1931, when I came back here, a Dutchman called Rost van TonningenMeinoud Marinus Rost van Tonningen (1894–1945), a Dutch politician of the National Socialist Movement. He represented the League of Nations in Vienna between 1923 and 1928 and between 1931 and 1936, when he monitored Austria’s financial policy. While in Vienna, he developed strong anti-Semitic and anti-Communist convictions. was sent in the same capacity to Vienna. Rost is rather an attractive fellow, lively and temperamental—and a bit erratic. A year or two ago he was a fervent Buchmanite (“Oxford” Group Movement),The Oxford Group, a Christian organization founded by the American Christian missionary Frank Buchman (1878–1961). Founded as “A First Century Christian Fellowship” in 1921, the organization became known as the”Oxford Group” by 1931. but Buchmanism didn’t hold him long: he has too much zest for life, of the kind LutherMartin Luther (1483–1546), a German professor of theology and a seminal figure in the Christian reform movement of the sixteenth century, subsequently known as the Protestant Reformation. meant. However, he needs to have a faith, and found it in . . . Nazism. Especially since PapenLieutenant Colonel Franz Joseph von Papen zu Köningen (1879–1969), a German nobleman, general staff officer, and politician who served as chancellor of Germany in 1932 and as vice-chancellor under Hitler in 1933–1934. He was German ambassador to Austria between 1934 and 1938. has been in Vienna, Papen seems to have completely bewitched the Dutchman. Well, a month or so ago, Rost wrote to Geneva resigning, and did it, without any previous consultation with Geneva, in terms which were nuts to Fritz.Royall Tyler’s slang for “Germans.” He stated in his letter of resignation that the job was done, alluded to the powerful national forces that were rising in Austria, declared that the time had come to terminate the post of Adviser there, and added that his own country needed him.

This letter was immediately heralded by volleys of cheers in the German press, which clamoured that here at last was a man in League circles who realized what was what—and proceeded to draw consequences where DanzigThe Free City of Danzig, a semi-autonomous city-state that existed between 1920 and 1939 and consisted of the Baltic Sea port of Danzig (today Gdańsk) and surrounding areas. It was created on November 15, 1920, in accordance with the terms of Part III, Section XI of the Treaty of Versailles (1919). was concerned. And shortly afterwards it was announced that Rost was going to stand for Parlt in Holland as a Nazi candidate, with the approval & support of the Dutch Führer, & act as the Dutch Nazi party’s financial & foreign policy adviser.

Now, though it’s true that Austria, unlike Hungary, has never been in technical default on her League Loans (tho’ she has on other debts), & that as the League Loans have now been converted, the League’s formal responsibility is no longer engaged, the view about the Advisership expressed by Rost is far from being held by all the big powers that have taken a hand in salvaging Austria. The British, for instance, want the post kept on (they have reason to fear what might happen if it were ended). And Rost’s conduct in trying to prejudice the League’s decision, without consultation with Geneva, is not appreciated.

Well, no sooner had this happened, than an emissary from Geneva came to Antigny to ask me if, éventuellement,“Eventually.” I would do both jobs (this & Austria). Of course it’s extremely tempting, but. . . There are many buts. a) the Austrians will do their utmost to get the post formally terminated, and on the facts they have a strong case: their financial & monetary situation is good, they are meeting their international obligations. b) Even if the Austrians have to agree to maintaining the post, they’ll do it grudgingly, and they are masters at taking it out on anyone they want to get rid of, in small ways, c) there might be strong opposition, from the Little Entente,The Little Entente, an alliance formed in 1920 and 1921 by Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Yugoslavia for common defense against Hungarian revision and the prevention of a Habsburg restoration. to a joint advisership for Austria & Hungary, as being a sort of League avowal that the two countries might profitably be brought together again, d) supposing a, b & c were disposed of, Hungary might greatly dislike the idea of sharing an adviser with Austria.

I put these objections to the Geneva emissary. I understand that in some League quarters (in Paris) there is a disposition to let the matter slide, in order to get the League out from under an Austrian situation which, it is feared, might presently fall in. But I also understand that the British want the advisership kept on. The more I think of it, the more I feel that if it is left on, the best course would be to appoint a new man at Vienna. But in some quarters there is insistence in combining the posts, in my unworthy opinion. It would be exciting enough, God knows. Well, I’ve said that I assume it wouldn’t be proceeded with unless both the Austrian Govt. were satisfied, and wanted me personally, and the Hunk“Hungarian.” Govt. had no objection. Those conditions being fulfilled—and of course supposing the League Council to be in agreement on it—I’d be willing to try. The Lord be merciful to me, if it does come off, which I don’t think there’s a 10 to 1 chance it will, as so many obstacles would have to be got over first. At any rate, my being asked to consider it shows that I’m not considered likely to fall to Papen.Royall Tyler did not become the League of Nations financial adviser to Austria. Lieutenant Colonel Franz Joseph von Papen zu Köningen (1879–1969), a German nobleman, general staff officer, and politician who served as chancellor of Germany in 1932 and as vice-chancellor under Hitler in 1933–1934. He was German ambassador to Austria between 1934 and 1938.

I’ll take this letter to Geneva, whither I go in 3 days (just as well not to post it from here) and if any decision is reached while I’m there, I’ll add a word. But the whole thing is so rich—the League Adviser being converted to Nazism—that I simply couldn’t forbear to tell you about it. I beg you not to divulge it.

I saw Arthur Salter the other day. Ld Hugh CecilHugh Richard Heathcote Gascoyne-Cecil, 1st Baron Quickswood (1869–1956), known as Lord Hugh Ceciluntil 1941, was a British Conservative Party politician. He left the House of Commons in 1937 to become provost of Eton College, a post he retained until 1944. In 1941, he was raised to the peerage as Baron Quickswood, of Clothall in the County of Hertford. has been appointed Provost of Eton,Eton College, a British independent boarding school located in Eton, near Windsor, in England. & has announced his intention of resigning as MPMember of Parliament. for Oxford. Arthur has been invited by the leaders of the three parties in Oxford: Conservative, Lib. & Lab., to stand as an Independent Candidate.Arthur Salter was successful at his run for Parliament, serving as a member in 1937–1950 and again in 1951–1953. It’s a marvelous compliment: unprecedented in Parliamentary annals, I believe. Arthur will have against him a blood-&-thunder, die-hard, militarist conservative, who of course answers to the name of Lindemann.Frederick Alexander Lindemann, 1st Viscount Cherwell (1886–1957), an English physicist who became an influential scientific adviser to the British government in the 1940s and 1950s. Although he failed at his run for Parliament in 1937, he finally sat on the governing body, in the House of Lords, after being made Lord Cherwell in 1941. He joined the cabinet in 1942 and became a privy counsellor in 1943. With the wind in its present quarter, Lindemann may very likely get in. But if Arthur does win, it will be a wonderful event, and he might make a remarkable place for himself in the House, as a mouthpiece of enlightened, non-party opinion. As it is, he does a lot of hard political work, for the love of it: he settled the Rail v. Road dispute,Arthur Salter was chairman of the Road and Rail Conference in London in 1932. Tasked with examining the costs and benefits of these two means of transport, the conference recommended changes in the way that public roads were funded to accommodate the growing demands of the motor car and road freight and to ensure the fair competition of road and rail. This resulted in the Road and Rail Traffic Act of 1933. and now he’s won a very great success by settling, as arbitration, the conflict between the Railways and their personnel, on the restoration of the 1931 wage-cuts. What a wise little grey bird he is!

18.IX.36 Geneva

Well, the Fin. CteeFinancial Committee of the League of Nations. meeting is practically over—Rost arrived here post haste from the Nazi Parteitag at NürnbergThe Nuremberg Reichparteitag (Reich party rally), the annual rally of the Nazi Party in Germany, held between 1923 and 1938.—with the Dutch Nazi badge in his button-hole—and the prospect is that the posts of Adviser to Gnt & to Nt Bk. in Austria will be discontinued (a Council decision), but that the Austr. Govt. will declare that it will continue to report to the Fin. CteeFinancial Committee of the League of Nations. at each meeting. And the Fin. Ctee,Financial Committee of the League of Nations. probably through the Secretariat here, will provide for the publishing of periodic reports (probably twice yearly, instead of quarterly as hitherto) on the Austr. position.

A new idea has been put forward in the competent circles here, as perhaps appropriate to the circumstances when the row about Rost has simmered down. I might be asked to keep an eye on both Austria & Hung., & publish biennial reports on each—and reside in neither, but just go for a couple of months to both places to prepare my report & reside at Antigny. You may imagine how that would suit me—and as it’s so attractive, I don’t suppose it has much chance of coming off.Royall Tyler did not produce financial reports for Austria. We’ll see. It couldn’t be for this next winter, any way.

My friends here amazed me by asking if Bill wouldn’t like to take a job in the Fin. Section. (Very confidential). They think it might be managed, in spite of his nationality. From the point of view of building up his reserves of strength, it might be a good thing,—& the work too—it might involve travelling & interesting contacts. Of course, we don’t want him to break with the G.T.,Guarantee Trust. but it’s just possible that either the G.T. (London) mightn’t be able to take him for another 6 or 12 months, leaving him time to do a temporary job here, or that the G.T. itself might like to have him do a couple of years in the Fin. Sect. here, before taking up a job in London. It’s amazingly kind of my friends here to have thought of it—it had never occurred to me. And I’m all the more pleased that the two men who have spoken to me about it said it had occurred separately to each of them after spending a week-end with Bill at Antigny.

Just starting back for Pest—& I have to make a dash to Saloniki & Constantinople before the end of this month.

Much love, dearest Mildred.

R. T.

Associated Things: L'art byzantin