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Reinsch was thankful for the comforts he enjoyed, noting that many an American diplomat has “no place to lay his head except in a hotel.”10 Lowden’s voice was heard in Congress, and on 11 February 1911 a bill was passed enabling the government to buy land and erect buildings abroad for the first time. Known as the Lowden Act, the bill authorized a maximum of $500,000 to be spent annually, and limited the amount that could be spent in any one place to $150,000. The first appropriations under the act were for the acquisition of sites in Mexico City and Tokyo in 1914. The Mexico City project proceeded under the supervision of the Office of the Supervising Architect of the Treasury, which prepared working drawings and directed construction of a spacious villa designed by the American architect J. E. Campbell. The Tokyo project did not proceed, however, because the $100,000 appropriated for a new residence/office was considered inadequate, especially after existing buildings in Tokyo were destroyed in the earthquake of 1923. As part of its plan for the 1924 World’s Fair, the United States built a spacious two-story building in Rio de Janeiro in 1923. Architect Frank L. Packard, of Columbus, Ohio, designed the structure so that it could eventually be used as an embassy office building.11 But that project was an exception. Despite pressing needs elsewhere, by 1924 only six additional embassy and legation sites or buildings were acquired under the Lowden Act. Property was purchased in Paris, Oslo, Havana, San José, San Salvador, and Santiago. Funds appropriated for these projects totaled approximately $1 million. Three additional properties, in Panama City, Paris, and London, were acquired at no cost: The War Department transferred a building in Panama City to the State Department in 1916 to be used as a legation; Ambassador Myron Herrick, formerly the head of U.S. Steel, lived in a spacious hôtel on the Avenue D’Iena facing the Trocadero in Paris, and donated the house to the U.S. government for use as an embassy residence in 1917 (formerly the home of the French president, it remained the American ambassador’s residence until 1970, when it was sold for $2.5 million); and J. Pierpont Morgan donated his choice London home at 13/14 Prince’s Gate to the government for use as a permanent residence in 1921. The United States had a special regard for diplomatic and consular needs in the Far East, given its extensive and growing economic ties to that region and the constant cry of resident Americans for protection from the hostile Chinese, targets of zealous exploitation by foreigners. Though weakened by internal rebellion and external harassment, China was already regarded as a potentially valuable market. As early as 1916, consular officials were pleading with the State Department for better facilities. That year, in con-

The Architecture of Diplomacy  

This acclaimed history of America's overseas embassy-building program is now available in paperback in a revised and expanded edition. Addre...

The Architecture of Diplomacy  

This acclaimed history of America's overseas embassy-building program is now available in paperback in a revised and expanded edition. Addre...