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Robert Woods Bliss to Royall Tyler, January 31, 1927

Stockholm, January 31, 1927.Monday.
Royall Tyler
Ministry of Finance

Dear Royall,

Please excuse the long delay in acknowledging your letter of January 7, written from Cairo. Since then your letter of January 15 [sic]Letter of January 13, 1927. has also arrived. We have been so much occupied, that there has not been a moment in which to send you even a line.

I can not tell you how grateful I am for all you have done in examining “the treasure”. What you have written is most illuminating; my only regret is that I could not have been behind the scenes when you were tasking with Aboucassam [sic].

From what you write I do not think that the objects are things that we wish to acquire. Furthermore I heartily approve of your having told Abou on whose behalf you went to Cairo, and everything else you told him. I also agree with you that the candle-sticksPair of Lampstands, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, acc. no. 57.634-635. are the things that we really want, but at the same time I feel that they are not of sufficient value to us to warrant paying £2,000 for them. If they could be had for a considerably lower price, they would be worth considering.

When you see Eric MacLagan [sic] I think it would be a good idea to approach the subject of a possible deal with him and then see what comes of the whole matter.

We have read with interest and envy your descriptions of the places you visited and things you saw in Egypt. We must arrange somehow to all go there together some day, when we can have time to examine the treasures of that country with convenient leisure. And then we might return by way of Athens to see the collection of Benachi [sic]!Antonis Benakis (1873–1954), a Greek collector in Alexandria. Benakis established the Benaki Museum in Athens in 1930 with a collection of more than 37,000 Islamic and Byzantine objects.

Please let me know if your expenses exceeded the amount I sent you.See letter of December 18, 1926.

Shortly after this reaches you, my appointment as Ambassador to Argentina will probably be announced.Robert Woods Bliss was officially appointed U.S. ambassador extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Argentina on February 17, 1927. His appointment as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Sweden ended on March 15, 1927. Until then, please keep it strictly confidential. It has come as a complete surprise and we are very sad at having to leave Stockholm, where we are so completely happy, but we must play the game. We shall leave here some time in March and as you will be in Geneva at that time, we surely must meet in Paris.

[unsigned]The following handwritten addendum to this letter is preserved only in the original copy, now in the collection of Gwyneth Thompson Todd, Australia.

Long habit of dictating official dispatches cramps my style (which is a shocking one at best) for writing personal letters. The above sounds so dry & does not begin to express my gratitude for all your trouble and your two illuminating letters. What fun you must have had drawing Abu. out and what a slick [?] customer Kalebdjian is!
Mildred and I feel that we can expend £2000 the candlesticks at that price. They are undoubtedly fine & rare pieces, we have felt since first seeing the photos, but they are not worth that sum to us. However it seems worth while to find out what Eric M. would be willing to do and I should be glad if you will talk with him about the matter when you see him. After all, we are not collectors of Antioch silver and to acquire such a lot of stuff of that inferior quality is not of our line [?]. To buy it with the idea of selling it later so as to get the candlesticks at a reasonable price is folly – we could never realize of the things with any advantage. I confess to being somewhat disappointed that they have not turned out better, but I did not have great hopes and now we know exactly what they are.
We are delighted that you had an opportunity to get a hasty glimpse of some of Egypt’s wonders and hope you did not feel agrieved [sic] of having to return so soon. As I said above, we must arrange to go there together some day!
Mildred joins in affectionate messages and many thanks for all your trouble.
As ever
P.S. Mildred wants me to say that she is delighted that you feel as you do about the unimportance of Luxor & Karnak in comparison with the old Empire things; it just what she has always felt would be her reaction if ever she had the opportunity to visit Egypt.
You may think I am crazy to go to Argentina. On account of the family—the aged parents—and The Oaks it is a real sacrifice to go so far from home. But Argentina is an important post for the U.S. and just at this time offers hard nuts to crack. I am therefore looking forward to difficult and interesting work after the ease of this post, pleasant tho’ it has been. It is a satisfaction to have made the grade without resorting to political pressure & to learn R received the promotion on a silver (not Antioch tho’) platter.

Associated Places: Cairo (Egypt); Stockholm (Sweden)
Associated Things: Kaper Koraon Silver Treasure