Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
When Rep. John Brademas of Indians, the Democratic Whip of the 95th Congress, tosses a champagne reception Sunday to introduce his bride to several hundred of his closest Washington cronies, he'll be doing it in one of the town's most exclusive settings.
Not since the late Mr. and Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in its orangerie in 1958 has Harvard university's Center for Byzantine Studies - better known as Dumbarton Oaks - been the scene of such festivities.
Mildred and Robert Bliss once owned the 177-year-old Georgetown estate, which they gave to Harvard in 1940, along with a sizeable collection of pre-CColombian art. That may explain their access to the grounds as a partly site 18 years later.
Brademas, on the other hand, is one of a number of Harvard graduates living in Washington. He is a former university overseer - from 1969 to 1975. He is also No. 3 man in the Democratic hierarchy of the U.S. House of Representatives.
No. 1, of course, is Speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill, in whose congressional district Harvard is situated and who, with Mrs. O'Neill, is sponsoring the Sunday afternoon reception for Brademas and the former Mary Ellen Briggs of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
A spokesman for Brademas said yesterday, however, that O'Neill had "nothing to do" with arranging permission for the unprecedented use by Brademas of Dumbarton Oaks.
"John has the Harvard connections." said Burt Hoffman of Brademas' staff.
All Brademas did, according to Hoffman, was "make a request - the thing is available to people connected with Harvard but the rules are so damn stringent that nobody wants to bother."
At least one member of Dumbarton Oaks' staff, however, challenged the existence of any so-called "rules," calling Brademas" use of the estate "a one-time thing because we don't rent out or lend the premises."
Eleanor Ostermeier, administrative assistant to Giles Constable director of the center, said requests from individuals and governments officials, including those representing the United Nations, have been denied "right down the line."
Discussions in Dumbarton Oaks in 1944 eventually led to the world organization that became known as the United Nations. In 1964, that body inquired about using the estate to celebrate its 20th anniversary, but was turned down.
Final arbiter of Brademas request was Harvardd President Derek Bok. As long as the guests did not damage the estate's gardens, Bok said he saw no reason to deny permission.
With the O'Neills at their side, Brademas and his bride, who were married earlier this month in South Bend, will stand beneath a handpainted canopy to receive their several hundred guests ("We've been told to expect upwards of 600," said Ostermeier. "We're still putting together the guest list," said Hoffmaan).