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Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, March 9, 1939

Geneva, 9.III.39

Dear Robert.

I hear from Doro Levi that there is some question of excavations at Salamis in Cyprus,In 1936, Doro Levi had written the entry “Salamina” for the Enciclopedia Italiana. and that 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. He was best known for his expertise in medieval art and his Index of Christian Art. is in favour of trying that site. The idea immediately fires my imagination. Cyprus has never been explored from the Byzantine point of view, and it might yield things of enormous interest, to say nothing of what the earlier periods must have left there. If the proposal takes shape, wouldn’t Doro himself be a good man to do it? He has had endless experience with the Greeks, and would certainly get more results for any given outlay than any American digger. He hasn’t asked me to mention this to you—hasn’t even said he’d like to do it, so this indiscretion is mine and mine alone.

We may be able to produce a second endition of our Vols I and II, together with Vol III, of L’Art Byzantin. Would you kindly let me know, as soon as possible, how you would like the ownership of your objects to be indicated? “Dumbarton Oaks Collection”?

I’m afraid I may not be able to get over to US till after the summer. I’ve got a lot of things on hand here.

I think the international situation is looking a trifle better, and I’m encouraged to persist in the hopeful vein in which I’ve set forth my ideas of the subject to you, for some time past. The Rumanians have swung right round to Gt. B.Great Britain. & France again; the Poles are on the swing. The Sacred College chose a good Pope.Pope Pius XII (1876–1958), the head of the Catholic Church between 1939 and 1958. Gt. B. is rapidly getting stronger. France also.

Things are going to be delicate and dangerous for some time to come. But the US attitude, as exemplified for instance in Mr. Stimson’sHenry Lewis Stimson (1867–1950), an American statesman, lawyer, politician, and spokesman on foreign policy. He served as secretary of war (1911–1913) and secretary of state (1929–1933), then again as secretary of war in 1940–1945. On March 7, 1939, Stimson wrote a letter to the New York Times endorsing a U.S. policy of “farsighted affirmative action” against the fascist powers as a means of preventing war. See “Ex-Secretary Stimson’s Letter on Foreign Relations” and “Stimson Supports U.S. Foreign Policy: Backs Roosevelt Stand on the Fascist Nations, but Attacks His Domestic Program,” New York Times, March 7, 1939. letter advocating cooperation between the Am., Brit., & Fr. fleets in case of war, and Mr. Hull’sCordell Hull (1871–1955), an American politician who was secretary of state between 1933 and 1944. See “Stimson’s Stand Praised by Hull: Advocacy in Times Letter of Positive Foreign Policy for Peace Called Helpful,” New York Times, March 8, 1939. reply, can hardly fail to act as a powerful deterrent to the gangsters.

I’m longing to hear what you are doing in regard to the LandauNicolas Landau (1887–1979), an antiquities dealer known as “Le prince des antiquaires.” Born in Varsovia, he studied law in Paris before becoming an antiquities dealer in New York and then in Paris, where he had a business on the rue de Duras. ivory.BZ.1939.8. Don’t lose it, will you? My belief in it is deeply rooted.

No news from old F. Has he sent you the receipts? Let me know if he hasn’t, please.

Much love to both of you


R. T.

Elisina is apparently going on fairly steadily. I hadn’t seen her since New Year, but here letters seemed cheerful. I hope to go down there for Easter.

Have you any plans for coming over here? I can imagine that you may wish to see how things develop for a month or two, but I also reflect that it’s nearly three years since you were on this side.

Bill writes very happily from Cambridge.

Associated People: Doro Levi; Hermann Fiedler
Associated Artworks: BZ.1939.8