Dad writes to Mr. Duder

Telegram transcribed by Glen Nixon April 6, 1955

Apt. 6-574 Kirkwood Avenue

Ottawa, Ont.

April 6, 1955

Dear Mr. Duder,

Naturally tonight we are just a bit concerned about David, as we have just been advised by the Department of External Affairs that he is in hospital in Saigon with a liver complaint. However, we are not greatly worried as we know that everything possible will be done for his comfort and that, from a medical standpoint, he will receive the best of attention.

This afternoon I was talking with my lifelong friend Sherwood Lett, and while he is a fellow of few words he did indicate that the task undertaken by Canada is a most difficult one and spoke in glowing terms of the Commissioners and their associates. The conditions under which you are working and living is bound to take its toll and we shall all be so thankful when you are all safely back in good old Canada.

I should have written to you, Mr. Duder, long ere this to express my appreciation of your kindness to David. He has mentioned it so many times and only his last letter he mentioned about your concern over the condition of his health. Thank you so much.

We have addressed a letter tonight to David and on the envelope have asked that it might be redirected if necessary. He has had such a wonderful experience and has written such descriptive accounts.

We know that External Affairs will keep us informed of David’s condition and trust and pray that before too long he will be back with you in Phnom Penh.

Once again, both David’s brother Russ and I do so much want to thank you for your very great considerations and helpfulness.

Most sincerely

R. Glen Nixon


Phnom Penh

April 18, 1955

Dear Mr. Nixon,

Thank you for your very kind letter of April 6th which arrived this morning. I am sorry that you were unnecessarily worried about David. I had mentioned his illness in a telegram to the Department of External Affairs but I did not anticipate that they would get in touch with you. You will have heard from David that the liver complaint turned out to be something less serious and that he is back with us.

I was myself worried about David because he had lost so much weight and because the climate here is very trying for all of us. I think that if he can get away for some leave will shortly be no trace of his recent illness.

I am glad that you had a chance to talk to Mr. Lett. It is always comforting to have a personal talk with somebody who knows the conditions in which your son is working. Mr. Lett has had a far more difficult job than I have had but none of us quite knew what he was getting into.

All things considered, I think you will agree that David is fortunate to have had so interesting an assignment at the beginning of his career. I feel pretty certain that he will survive Indochina and be able to talk to his grandchildren about his months in the Kingdom of Cambodia. I might say that I have been extremely satisfied with David’s work and with his devotion to it. Particularly in the early days when we had to start on a shoe-string, he showed great resourcefulness and an ability to adapt himself to changing circumstances which, in my opinion, is the essential for anybody in this peculiar profession of ours. I see no reason why he should not keep in mind the possibility of becoming an officer in time. This is not easy unless one has a university degree to begin with but it does happen and David is young enough to add to his qualifications as goes along.

I hope you will not continue to worry about your son’s health. We have a resident Doctor with us who is very good and I feel certain that David will not hesitate in future to consult the Doctor if he should feel at all unwell. In this particular illness of his, I think he waited a little too long, in spite of my advice, before having himself examined. No young man feels that he needs medical attention but we all learn by experience.

Thank you again for your kind letter which gave me great pleasure.

Yours sincerely,

R. Duder



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