President Harding, About to Leave on the Trip During Which He'll Die, Makes Plans to Meet a King

June 7, 1923

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President Harding, About to Leave on the Trip During Which He'll Die, Makes Plans to Meet a King
Typed Letter Signed
2 pages | SMC 1326

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      About to undertake the two-month cross-country “Voyage of Understanding” from which he would never return, Harding makes plans to see Child when he returns, and discusses, too, the prospect of welcoming the Italian Royal Family to the White House as well. “I am wholly inexperienced in the etiquette of procedure in such a matter,” he confesses, “but can learn about it, of course, and will be quite ready to do the courteous thing and do it with cordial enthusiasm.” Perhaps, then, they might discuss these things soon after he returns from his trip, on August 24th or 25th. But instead of meeting Child, or anyone else, Harding would by that time, be two weeks in his grave.
      Typed Letter Signed, as President, marked “personal and confidential,” 2 pages, quarto, The White House, Washington, June 7, 1923. To Ambassador Richard Washburn Child
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      June 7, 1923.


      My dear Mr. Ambassador:

      I have your two letters of May 21st.  I need not tell you that I am quite as anxious to have you come home on a leave as you are to come.  I know you will be able to give me many valuable and helpful suggestions.  Very likely you will receive notice of your leave by the time this letter reaches you by mail.  I know that it is intended to so advise you as soon as the Lausanne Conference clears up.  The Secretary has felt, as have I, that it was desirable to have you within reach in case a really critical condition developed there.  This may be a disappointment to your desire to get off at a certain time for the United States, but it is really a fine expression of the confidence in which you are held by the Secretary of State and myself.  Of course, any departure you make after receiving this letter will bring you to the United States at a time when I am absent from Washington.  However, I am expecting to return approximately August 24th or 25th, and you will make it a point to remain here until after that time so that I may have the benefit of the information you possess and the suggestions which you have in mind.  We hope to have you and Mrs. Child come to the White House.  I know it will be a satisfaction to Mrs. Harding as well as to me to have you there.

      I am not having any anxiety about the political situation.  However, I will not write concerning that matter but will be glad to discuss things with you in old-time freedom when the opportunity for personal exchange of views arrives.

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      I am greatly interested in your suggestion of the Royal visit to the United States.  I am wholly inexperienced in the etiquette of procedure in such a matter, but can learn about it, of course, and will be quite ready to do the courteous thing and do it with cordial enthusiasm.  If the invitation should originate here, that can be readily arranged.  I think the effect of such a visit would be helpful in many ways, both in the United States and to the Royal household of Italy.  I will be very glad to have you approach the question in tactful informality and then let me know concerning the matter.  In all probability it will not be desirable to have such a visit until autumn.  In that event the arrangements can be worked out after your return to the United States and my return from Alaska.  You may proceed with the matter as your best judgment indicates.  You can say to His Royal Highness, very informally, that the President is quite ready to adopt any program and make any arrangements and utter any communication which will best further the arrangements.

      Very truly yours,


      Hon. Richard Washburn Child,
      Embassy of the United States of America,
      Rome, Italy.