Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, August 21, 1939 [1]

Geneva 21.VIII.39

Dear Robert.

I have just seen old F., badly shaken, poor old thing, by his wife’s illness and by the outlook, which seems to him very bad indeed.

He had recently been in B.Berlin. & had seen his friends, who confirm tnat everything in state or municipal possession can be disposed of at once, but said ecclesiastical possessions “had better wait a bit.”

To this I replied that F. had better tell his friend that to have put Limburg,Reliquary of the True Cross (Staurotheke), Byzantine, ca. 960, gold, gems, and enamel, Cathedral Museum, Limburg an der Lahn. Aix,It is not known what object(s) the Blisses were interested in at Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen). DeutzLion Silk, Byzantine, late tenth–early eleventh century, Saint Heribert Diocesan Museum, Cologne-Deutz. The twelfth-century shrine of Saint Heribert, archbishop of Cologne (d. 1021), at Saint Heribert, Cologne-Deutz, has an imperial Byzantine lion silk with an inscription suggesting a date of ca. 976–1025 for the textile. See Michael Brandt and Arne Eggebrecht, Bernward von Hildesheim und das Zeitalter der Ottonen, vol. 2 (Hildesheim, 1993): no. II-19. on the list with the rest, and now to say they must “wait” would make on my friends a very poor impression as to the seriousness of his friend.

We then agreed on the following:

1) As soon as his friends have returned from Russia, where they have just gone (!!!) he will get in touch with them again and explain:

2) that they must produce a list, following as closely as possible ours (which I handed to F.) and including objects which they can dispose of at once,

3) that they must mention a price for this list,

4) if a deal is done, the objects concerned must be handed over in Switzerland, and a receipt must be obtained for the sum paid.

I think this covers it.

You’ll probably get this before you get a letter I posted to you by ordinary mail on the 18th inst. acknowledging your remittance of £3,400 to MorgansMorgan, Grenfell & Co., an investment bank in London. In 1904, Edward Grenfell was made a partner in the firm, which was formerly known as J. P. Morgan & Co. and which, in 1909, became Morgan, Grenfell and Company. The bank played an important role in the reconstruction of European countries in the 1920s. London. On its receipt, I informed Kaleb that I had it in hand, and would pay him as soon as he had sent the things off.

Old F. much upset by the light-hearted tone in his home-town, & by apparent complete subservience of the Zur.Zurich people. to Adolf.Adolf 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. talk of readoption of the TirpitzAlfred von Tirpitz (1849–1930), a German admiral and secretary of state of the German Imperial Naval Office between 1897 and 1916. PlanIn 1897, Tirpitz, who previously had been instrumental in the development of German topedoes and topedo boats, proposed to the kaiser a substantial increase in the German naval fleet and defined Germany’s principal enemy as Great Britain. He stressed the urgency for as many battleships as possible to take on the British fleet, and a plan was outlined for two squadrons of eight battleships and a fleet flagship with two reserves. “destroy England.” “Never mind about France, for the moment.” Talk of tremendous new guns, which would bombard London from the coast of Holland (to be occupied at once). Secret agreement with Soviets for partition of Poland. Every outward sign that Adolf means to go to it before Sept. is out.

Well. . . maybe. But I say to myself that, if Adolf were out to get as much as he can without fighting, he would not proceed otherwise than he is now doing. I don’t know, but I still doubt. Much love to you both


R. T.

Associated People: Hermann Fiedler
Associated Things: Kalebdjian Frères