Joseph Edward Davies

New U.S.A. Ambassador at Moscow 20.11.1936

Mr. Joseph Edward Davies has been appointed American Ambassador at Moscow in place of Mr. William C. Bullitt, who was recently appointed Ambassador in Paris.

Mr. Davies is a well-known Washington lawyer who has specialised in inter-national affairs – Reuter.

Mr. Joseph E. Davies is one of the best known Welshmen in the United States.

He was President Wilson’s right-hand man, and some years ago the President sent him to the eisteddfod at Pittsburgh as his special representative to convey the greetings to the Welsh people in the United States.

Mothers’ Bardic Title

Mr. Davies’s mother was the noted Revivalist, Rachel Paynter, who bore the bardic title “Rachel o Fon.”

During the wave of religious enthusiasm in the early seventies Rachel Paynter, daughter of a barrister whose forebears had been officers of the Crown from the time of William the Conqueror, suddenly came into prominence by her extra-ordinary power in prayer. She swayed huge congregations by her eloquence.

She was ordained a minister of the Welsh Congregational Church, and in response to a call by the Welsh Societies went to America. There she met and married Edward Davies, a Welshman, whose father had migrated to America, became a blacksmith, and later a manufacturer of wagons.

From our own Correspondent, London 11.05.1937

One of London’s most interesting and notable visitors from the United States for the Coronation is the Hon. Joseph Edward Davies, Minister Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the U.S.A. to Russia.

Diplomat and lawyer and one of America’s nest known figures, Mr. Davies was appointed Ambassador to the U.S.S.R. last November, and he and Mrs. Davies and the daughters have come to London from the United States for “a Coronation holiday” on their way back to Moscow.

Ambassador Davies, one of a band of Welshmen who have reached high office in the United States, is proud of his associations with Wales, and no one is more deeply interested in its language, culture, and literature. Notwithstanding long years in the United States he still speaks Welsh fluently.

A man of striking appearance with iron-grey hair, he recalled to me his yesterdays in Wales, sometimes interpolating the narrative in Welsh. He began and ended, “Yn yr hen Iaith.”

Born in Wisconsin in 1876, he spent some time as a boy in North Wales, where his mother took him at the age of 8, on his father’s death. His mother was Rachel Paynter, of Anglesey, who, like all the family, was deeply interested in Welsh ideals.

Evangelist and Poetess

She actively associated herself with the Eisteddfod and in recognition of her services and work received the Bardic title of “Ap Rahel o Fon.”
A woman of wide sympathies, she was an evangelist in the Congregational Church and a poetess of no mean attainments, and no one was more welcomed in the Welsh societies in the States of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, and others. The late Ellis Jones Griffiths, K.C., M.P., was her cousin.

Returning to America Mr. Davies studied at the Wisconsin University, winning double honours in mathematics and classics. He was admitted to the Wisconsin Bar in 1901. Later he embarked on a political career under President Wilson, who offered him ambassadorships in Russia and Italy and a Governorship-Generalship. All were declined.

In 1918, at President Roosevelt’s request, he was chosen democratic candidate in a by-election, but was defeated, and later resigned from the public services to take up law. His great work as Commissioner of Corporations was notable in many ways.

As an international lawyer Mr. Davies had a wire reputation and made a considerable fortune.

Recollections of Wales

“During my collegiate days,” the Ambassador told me, “I visited Wales every summer for seven years and I have happy recollections of Major Evan R. Jones, of Cardiff, who was editor and publisher of the ‘Shipping World.’ My earliest childhood recollection is a speech by Lloyd George at the Town-hall, Caernarvon, when my mother was on the platform.”

Mr. Davies recalled the great Pittsburgh Eisteddfod in 1914 when the Welsh societies sent over delegations and Senator “Jim” Davis, another famous Welshman was one of the principal figures.

Ambassador Davies is proud of his own bardic title, “Ap Rael o Fon.”

“Wales,” he added “has her sons in many important walks of life in the States. The most eminent Welshman outside the British Isles of Chief Justice Hughes. I met him five weeks ago and we talked about Wales.”

Mrs. Joseph Davies, a rich heiress, is well known in the States for philanthropic work. Moscow has heard of the 1,000 free meals daily in Manhattan’s slums, for which she has become known as “The Lady Bountiful of Hell’s Kitchen.” She defrays the cost and the Salvation Army undertakes the executive management.

Mr. and Mrs. Davies work have taken Holme House, Regent’s Park, the residence of Mrs. James Field for their stay in London.

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