Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Laurence Binyon

Letter No.: 
VWL3615
July 9 [1938]

From R. Vaughan Williams,
The White Gates,
Westcott Road.
Dorking.

Dear Mr. Binyon

Before accepting the Shakespeare prize I made careful enquiries and was assured that there were no political propaganda hidden behind it - and it was purely a gesture from the University of Hamburg to the profession of art and letters in England.1
The wording of the diploma and the Rector's speech at the ceremony confirmed this. I enclose a copy of the Rector's speech which I fear I must ask you to return to me as it is my only copy.
Hamburg is a very independent place they tell me and there was very little of the 'Nazi salute'. I only had to make it on one occasion where, after the health of the King of England there followed that of "Unser Führer".
The financial side is not so satisfactory. Not only can one not take the money out of Germany but one cannot spend it there except on oneself or one's dependents2 without their permission. I have some thoughts of consulting the Foreign Office to see if there is any way round this. If you accept the prize would you care to join me in this?
I have consulted the manager of my bank & he sees no way of getting round the difficulty.
Yours sincerely
R Vaughan Williams


1. VW had been invited to accept the Shakespeare Prize in 1937 and had travelled to Hamburg to receive it in 1938. Presumably Binyon had also been invited to receive the Prize, although it appears that he did not accept, as it was awarded to the poet John Masefield.  The Prize was awarded annually for writing or performance awarded to a British citizen, established by Alfred Toepfer in 1937 as an expression of his Anglophilia in the face of tense international conditions, but was awarded only twice before the outbreak of war in 1939.
2. sic.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
Loan MS 103/11 (Lawrence Binyon archive)
General notes: 

In the hand of AVW, signed by VW.

Format: 
Letter