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Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, February 15, 1938

15.II.38 Bpest

Dear Robert.

You asked me some time ago about our Riha chalice,BZ.1955.18. & said you would like to know if we ever wanted to part with it.

Well—I think we must consider doing so now. The very heavy charges we have had in connexion with the settlement of Edith’s estate, & the succession dues & upkeep expenses on Hyères, have created an awkward problem, just at a time when it is particularly awkward. If things had so shaped as to allow it, what we should have liked best would have been to bequeathe the chaliceBZ.1955.18. to the Oaks, We have always wanted it to come to rest beside the paten.BZ.1924.5. But things have turned out differently.

It would be very hard for me to put a price on the chalice.BZ.1955.18. If you want it, would you tell me what you are prepared to give for it? I have never discussed selling it with anybody—never mentioned a price or received an offer for it.

At last, I have an idea of what I’m going to do when I leave here.

I think I told you that LovedayAlexander Loveday (1888–1962), a British economist who worked for the League of Nations, becoming director of the Financial Section and Economic Intelligence Service in 1931. (Director of the Fin. Section at GGeneva.) wants to start a kind of liaison with the US on financial & economic questions (not at all with a view to getting pecuniary support, of course). He has been hoping to get a Rockefeller grantA grant from the Rockefeller Foundation in New York City, which was founded by John D. Rockefeller with his son John D. Rockefeller Jr. on May 14, 1913. for it. Until recently, the Sec. Gen. of the League felt he couldn’t take in a citizen of a non-member state & pay him on the regular budget, & as Loveday wanted me, the Rockefeller idea seemed to offer a way out.

However, the Rockefeller idea has hung fire, for several reasons (apparently not connected with me). It may still come off. But it also may not. In view of the uncertainty, and as I felt that if the Loveday idea wasn’t going to materialise, I must start looking about for something else, the Sec. Gen. has reconsidered the matter and offered me a temporary job. I am to take up the US liaison work, & also keep touch with Hungary, & perhaps other countries.

I have accepted, although the screw means a very heavy drop from what I have been getting here, or was getting when I was with Hambros,Hambros Bank, a British bank based in London. The Hambros Bank specialized in Anglo-Scandinavian business, with expertise in trade finance and investment banking, and was the sole banker to the Scandinavian kingdoms for many years. In 1928, Royall Tyler declined a five-year appointment as adviser to the new national bank of Bulgaria to become a European representative of Hambros Bank (1928–1931). because the US Liaison idea is irresistibly attractive to me, as putting one in contact with that side, & even perhaps permitting me to be of some use. Not to speak of the opportunities of visiting the Oaks. Ever since the idea was first mentioned to me many months ago, I have hugged it—and I have not taken any steps whatever to find out whether something more remunerative materially might offer in London or elsewhere.

I needn’t tell you that Loveday is quite aware that it would be worse than useless to try to work for US membership, or declared support of GGeneva. policies or initiatives. But on the financial and economic side, there are many signs of US desire to collaborate in some of the work that is being done, on a non-political basis. The appointment of members to various Cttees is evidence. The need has been felt for personal contact between GGeneva. & the US, supplementing & explaining the papers that are supplied on the work in hand, and that is what I’m wanted to do. At least one visit to US per annum, & perhaps more, if it seems advisable. My expenses wd. be paid, of course.

I needn’t tell you that it might do a lot of harm if the mistaken idea got about that I was doing disguised propaganda for the League. I’ll ask you not to say anything at all about the whole idea until I come over. I haven’t myself had time to go into the questions. I expect to spend April at GGeneva. doing that, & then, after the meeting of the Council that is scheduled for the week beginning 9 May—i.e. about the middle of the month—to jump on a boat and come over. Are you going to be in Washington, & may I descend upon you? I shall probably put in about a fortnight there, & about as much in N.Y., & will have to be back perhaps by end June, when the Fin. CteeFinancial Committee of the League of Nations. is to meet. I shall have very much to tell you—and much to hear from you. I’m of course aware of the difficulties of my little job. But it also seems to me to have possibilities so alluring that I’m delighted to have a try at it, even in the cramped circumstances I’ve alluded to, & which aren’t the fault of anyone at G.,Geneva. where everything is now cut & dried bureaucratically, & it is really a great achievement on Loveday’s (and the Sec. Gen.’s) part to have made the thing possible at all, given my nationality.

Arthur Salter is going over there in March,Salter lectured at the University of California, Los Angeles, on March 21, 1938. & wants to look you up. I wish I could do the trip with him, but it’s impossible. He is lecturing in California.

I have to thank you for many photos of objects at the Oaks. I think you have photos of about all I have—if not, let me know, & I’ll see that you do get them—but it has occurred to me that you perhaps haven’t our French Romanesque capitalCapital with the Sacrifice of Isaac, Romanesque, ca. 1150, limestone, Ile-de-France. Victoria and Albert Museum, London, acc. no. A.6-1968. now lent to the V. & A., & I’ve written to the V. & A. to send you a set.

I’ve just heard from BustrosElias (Elie) Bustros, an antiquities dealer in Beirut, Lebanon. that the little find of Byz. jewelsBZ.1938.27, BZ.1938.28, BZ.1938.29, and BZ.1938.30. was sent off on the 8th inst. I hope to receive it soon: I’ve instructed him to send the little tabernacleBZ.1938.56. via Delarancheraye.De La Rancheraye et Cie., a shipping company in Paris.

Elisina arrived here yesterday morning, looking well but thin, & I’ve heard much news, at last, of you & the Oaks.

Much love to both of you from the two of us

R. T.

News of Bill continue to be good, & of Betsy & the infant.Royall Tyler (b. 1936), the first child of Bettine Tyler and William Royall Tyler, was born in London. After earning a BA in Far Eastern Languages from Harvard University and a PhD in Japanese literature from Columbia University, he became a scholar and translator of Japanese literature. He presently lives in Australia in New South Wales.

Associated People: Arthur Salter; Elias (Elie) Bustros