Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, December 19, 1937

Paris, 19.XII.37

Dearest Mildred. I wrote Robert a line, the day it happened, to tell him that I had (after a long fight) got the Fin. CteeFinancial Committee of the League of Nations. to agree to give the Hunks“Hungarians.” a clean bill and put an end to my functions there.See letter of December 16, 1937. This business involved a showdown with Niemeyer,Sir Otto Ernst Niemeyer (1883–1971), a British banker and financial controller at the treasury and a director at the Bank of England. who was bitterly opposed to it, and who actually got the Prime Minister to instruct the Brit. member of the Fin. Ctee.Financial Committee of the League of Nations. to oppose it. N. was uncautious enough to use, in order to make his case, arguments based on a mistake of fact. It was thus possible to smoke him out, but it took two separate meetings of the F. C.Financial Committee of the League of Nations. to do it, and much labour in between.

My conviction sprang from the fact that the Hunks“Hungarians.” have carried out their part of the bargain struck in 1931: they’ve balanced their budget, and have avoided inflation. They’ve also made agreements with their creditors. It may be said they had agreed to keep a Fin. Ctee.Financial Committee of the League of Nations. representative until the Council should have found that their financial stability was assured—and that no one can confidently say that has been done. The answer is that such a statement can’t to-day be made of any country in the world, but that on the specific points: balanced budget (and for the third year running), avoidance of inflation, and agreement with creditors, the Hunk“Hungarian.” has kept his word. In the circumstances, I think it would be folly not to recognize this by removing control—folly for the Fin. Ctee.Financial Committee of the League of Nations. not to take the initiative. By doing it now, the Fin. Ctee.Financial Committee of the League of Nations. may assure the maximum of collaborations for the future. If they were to wait till the Hunk“Hungarian.” demanded it, they’d lose everything. And such “control” can only be exercised by common consent. A paper right, now over 6 years old, the vitality of which was bound soon to be questioned, was in reality valueless, and the part of wisdom was to give it up, for what one could get, before it went high on one.

I’m sorry it couldn’t be done without a conflict with Niemeyer,Sir Otto Ernst Niemeyer (1883–1971), a British banker and financial controller at the treasury and a director at the Bank of England. who has been of great usefulness where Hungary is concerned, always ready to help. But his political sense isn’t always up to his technical ability, and this time I felt so sure of my ground that I couldn’t yield to him. I felt absolutely certain that, in the circumstances, Jeremiah Smith would have wanted me to act as I did. I wonder whether N.Sir Otto Ernst Niemeyer (1883–1971). will ever forgive me. I don’t think he’s a vindictive nature—but he has had one open échec,“Failure.” and no one likes that.

Nothing settled yet about me, but I’m not worrying. There are plans, and quite interesting ones. I’m glad the Hunk“Hungarian.” affair is settled before I have another berth waiting for me: it underlines my own sense of the urgency of getting it settled. Thank God I had raised it in the Ctee, and got several members committed in my favour, before MussoliniBenito Mussolini (1883–1945), an Italian politician, journalist, and leader of the National Fascist Party, ruling the country as prime minister between 1922 and 1943. announced Italy’s departure from Geneva.Italy left the League of Nations in 1937 after the league had imposed economic sanctions on Italy for the invasion of Ethiopia. If I had only raised it after that, I fear my Old Ladies would have been scared of appearing panicky, and would have refused point blank to listen to me.

Well, that’s that. Personally, I’m extremely sorry to leave Bpest—I took it very hard from NiemeyerSir Otto Ernst Niemeyer (1883–1971), a British banker and financial controller at the treasury and a director at the Bank of England. that he tried to make out that I wanted to go, and therefore had raised the question. But it’s a great consolation to remember that one is going before the Hunks“Hungarians.” want one to go, and is getting them well-deserved credit for what has been, on their part, a fine performance, carried out in a spirit of real loyalty such as the Fin. Ctee.Financial Committee of the League of Nations. (admittedly) has not met with from any other country. I ought to add that BruceHenry J. Bruce, an English banker, was the adviser of the Hungarian National Bank beginning in 1931. has been magnificent through it all. Without his support I’d never have got away with it.

Elisina has been having a long struggle holding Arthur SachsArthur Sachs (1880–1975), banker, collector, and brother of Paul Sachs. After Arthur Sachs graduated from Havard College in the class of 1901, he began working for his family’s investment company, Goldman, Sachs and Company, in New York City. In 1904, he became a partner, and in 1906 he married Alice Goldschmidt. to his bargain over St. Brice (the proceeds of which of course go to the Oeuvre).Oeuvre des Maisons Americaines des Convalescence. In 1920, the prefecture of the Seine acquired the Château de la Toyelle and converted it unto a 75-bed sanatorium for women with pulmonary tuberculosis to be administered by the oeuvre chaired by Edith Wharton and Elisina Tyler. She hopes to sign tomorrow. It has been—that and the rest of her duties as Executrix—enough to keep her here, fully employed, day after day, ever since Edith’s death.

Well, Mrs. F. is now being advised to fight the interpretation of the will by which this $90,000 ($70,000 after payment of tax) goes to Elisina—and it seems there is a chance that the legal decision might be in her favour. A suggestion has been made, from her side, that Elisina should agree to settle on a 50% basis. This seems unsound—Elisina is either entitled to the lot, or to nothing, legally. In equity, and giving weight to Edith’s intentions, she should certainly get the lot. After careful consideration, we decided not to take up the 50% suggestion which was put up in the form somewhat of an ultimatum, thereby making us still less willing to consider it, and at any rate to make sure that those with whom the decision lies in N. Y. shall be informed of the full facts. If, in order to secure this, Elisina had to go to N. Y., she will do so.

Her position as Residuary Legatee of the French estate is an embarrassing one. There is no cash on hand (to be more exact, there were a few thous. francs). There are claims on the estate totally over $10,000. She will have to find means of paying a tax of 40% on the probate value of the Hyères house and property. She has thought it her duty to pay 3 months wages to each one of 16 house servants and gardeners, for whom no provision was made in the will, and to make a cash present of $500 to the secretary who had been with Edith for 22 years. Against all this, the furniture of St. Brice, which was left to Elisina, has fetched $8,500. The bare upkeep of Hyères, which can’t be neglected without allowing the property to depreciate, runs into $3,000 a year, at present exchange rates.

We obviously can’t—even if the matter in N. Y. above referred to is straightened out satisfactorily—afford to keep Ste. Claire (Hyères). It’s a heavenly place, as you know, and it will be a sorrow to give it up, but we can’t run into debt. If it could go to someone who knew and loved Edith, that would be a consolation.

We are going down there for Xmas, and Elisina will send you photographs, and the measurementsIn her letter of December 27, 1937 [2], Elisina Tyler writes: “I am very sorry that I have not been able to have Sainte Claire ‘measured’.” you asked for.

The idea of a conflict with Mrs. Farrand is sickening—but what can one do, in the circumstances, if matters are pushed to an extreme?

20.XIII. evening. Well! Elisina has signed up SachsArthur Sachs (1880–1975), banker, collector, and brother of Paul Sachs. After Arthur Sachs graduated from Havard College in the class of 1901, he began working for his family’s investment company, Goldman, Sachs and Company, in New York City. In 1904, he became a partner, and in 1906 he married Alice Goldschmidt.—after last minute efforts on his part to wriggle out. One gets a new light on Hitler’sAdolf 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. feelings about the race. Incredible, his behavior has been.

Much love.

R. T.