Thanks, But No Thanks (3)

aware-coaSan Francisco
March 29, 2012

Rt. Hon. David Cameron
10 Downing Street, London

Dear Prime Minister,

Thank you for your kind note offering to put my name forward to the Crown Nominations Commission to succeed Dr. Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury when he retires in December.

While I appreciate the confidence you have shown in me by suggesting this appointment, I have to tell you that my standing as member of the Anglican Communion has been in lapse for some years now, and my views on many doctrinal matters have become less than orthodox. I think it likely, therefore, that my appointment could become an occasion for controversy, perhaps unhelpfully for an institution whose unity is already somewhat strained. To avoid possible embarrassment for the Church, for HMG, and for Her Majesty the Queen, with regret I must insist that my name be withdrawn from consideration.

Yours truly,

David F. Phillips


David F. Phillips

January 18, 2009

Hon. Barack Obama
Blair House
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. President-Elect,

Thank you for your kind letter offering me the position of Attorney General in the new Administration.  I am grateful for your confidence in me, but I regret I cannot accept, for two reasons.  First, I would have conscientious scruples against being in charge of drug prosecutions, deportations, federal prisons, and many of the other perhaps necessary but still unpleasant duties which go with the office.  And second, running the Department of Justice is a big job, and I don’t want to have to work that hard in my late 60s.  Nor, I must add, do I want to live in the heat and snow of Washington.

Thank you also for the offer in the second paragraph of your letter to appoint me to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, with an eye to later elevation if a vacancy should appear on the Supreme Court.  Again, I am honored by your confidence, but I don’t want to be a judge.  In addition to the problems of heavy workload and of living in Washington, I would find myself spending my days deciding tax cases, and ERISA cases, and bankruptcy cases, none of which I am professionally equipped to handle and which frankly do not interest me. 

But I greatly appreciate your request in the third paragraph of your kind letter that I suggest a post I would like to have.  There is one such post – I would accept with enthusiasm appointment as United States Consul in Venice.  Although I am not a diplomat, I have confidence that I could perform the duties of the office in a satisfactory way.  And it isn’t strictly necessary for a consul to be a diplomat – you will recall that in 1853 President Pierce appointed Nathaniel Hawthorne as Consul in Liverpool, and he did well in the job.

So if this suggestion meets with your approval, I will prepare myself for confirmation proceedings.  And thanks again for the tickets to the Inauguration!

Sincerely yours,

David F. Phillips


500px-Kronprinsessan_Victoria_vapen_med_Serafimerorden_svg Drottningholms Slott

February 28, 2011

Dear Arthur,

It was so nice to hear from you again.

I must tell you, however, that since I am married now, it would be improper for me to go to bed with you and do the ficky-fick as we used to do. My wedding was in all the papers and on TV – I am surprised you have not heard about it.

I regret any inconvenience this may have caused you and your lovely wife.

Yours truly,



Crown Princess of Sweden
Duchess of Västergötland