Saturday, May 16, 2015
ADSS 1.38 Luigi Maglione, Sec State to Nuncios and Apostolic Delegates in London, Warsaw, Berlin, Paris, Washington, Ottawa, Berne, San Sebastian, Budapest, Belgrade, Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires.
Reference: Telegrams 7,27,80, 91, 143, 31, 17, 43, 34, 22, 13, 45, 30
Location and date: Vatican, 10.05.1939.
Summary statement: Maglione explains the intentions and results of the Pope’s peace proposals.
On 03.05.1939, by order of His Holiness, I took a diplomatic step with France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Poland with the dual purpose:
1) To ascertain the peace intentions of the Governments of the five Powers concerned and to emphasise the opposition among all people to war:
2) To call a Conference of the same Powers if such a meeting appeared to be possible and necessary or at least useful in the present circumstances.
The first purpose seems to have been attained: the Holy See has received assurances of good will and of the intention of the various Governments to preserve the peace so desired by the people. Regarding the second point, the Conference does not appear at the moment to be necessary on account of the improvement of the general situation that has taken place in the meantime. There is, in fact, the feeling that there is an easing of tension in international relations. (1)
Added for Washington: Your Excellency is asked to bring the above to the knowledge of the President informing him that the Holy Father had intended to request his good offices should the idea of the Conference have been carried out.
(1) It appears that the same communication was given to the Ambassadors, because D’Arcy Osborne, the British Minister to the Holy See, reported it to Lord Halifax by telegram on 10.05.1939. See DBFP, Series 3, Volume 5, n454, pp 498-99.
ADSS 1.37 Filippo Cortesi, Poland to Luigi Maglione, Sec State.
Reference: Telegram 22 (AES 2766/39)
Location and date: Warsaw, 10.05.1939.
Summary statement: Polish government is not favourable to the Conference.
The Foreign Minister (1) informs me:
President Republic (2), Poland’s Marshals [sic] (3), President Council Ministries (4), examined in meeting proposal of Holy Father, are in agreement with His august intentions, are afraid Conference members would not understand Poland’s Danzig interests and also feel not fully prepared to debate such matters: non-success may increase danger of war; suggest Holy See diplomatic action; are prepared to reconsider their point of view if interested Powers are favourable. (5)
(1) Jozef Beck (1894-1944), Polish Foreign Minister 1932-39.
(2) Ignacy Moscicki (1867-1946), President of Poland 1926-39.
(3) Edward Rydz-Smigly (1886-1947), Marshall of Poland 1936-41. The Marshall was the highest command in the Polish armed forces given to commanders who achieved victory on the battlefield. Rydz-Smigly’s honour derived from his successes against the Red Army in 1920.
(4) Felicjan Slawoj Skladowski (1885-1962), Prime Minister of Poland 1936-39.
(5) The point of view of the Polish Government indicated above is confirmed in the message of Howard Kennard (1878-1955) British Ambassador to Poland 1937-39, to Lord Halifax (1881-1959), British Foreign Secretary (1938-40): “The Polish Government would prefer the alternative suggested by you, namely that the Pope should offer his good offices. M. Beck feels that a conference without due preparation might possibly do more harm than good”. (DBFP, Series 3, Volume 5, n426, pp475-76).
Sunday, May 10, 2015
ADSS 1.36 Cardinal Maglione, Sec State, notes
Reference: AES 2769/39 Personal note
Location and date: Vatican, 09.05.1939
Summary statement: Conversation between Maglione and Bonifacio Pignatti, Italian ambassador to the Holy See (1) about meeting in Milan between Ciano and Ribbentrop.
The Italian Ambassador, on instructions given to him by Count Ciano immediately after his return from Milan where met von Ribbentrop (2) has given me the following information:
During the Milan meeting the Foreign Ministers of Italy and Germany have examined – with the greatest interest – the approach of the Holy See to the two Axis Powers, Great Britain, France and Poland, on behalf of peace. The two Ministers, in joint appreciation of the intentions shown by the Holy Father in proposing a Conference of the above-mentioned five Powers, have observed the improvement which has taken place in the international situation and believe that a Conference of the five Powers would not be premature and, in any case, not necessary at present. (3)
Count Pignatti added that the Holy See’s step has, in his view, attained its aim in clarifying and improving the situation.
He then informed me that von Ribbentrop expressed to Count Ciano the same appreciation regarding the relations between the Holy See and Germany that he had already expressed to His Excellency Monsignor Orsenigo during the conversation between the Nuncio and Hitler. (4)
(1) Bonifacio Pignatti Morano di Custoza (1877-1957), Italian Ambassador to the Holy See 1935-39.
(2) On 07.05.1939 Domenico Tardini (1888-1961), Secretariat of State – Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs (Vatican “Foreign Office”), informed the Pope regarding the Milan meeting in the following note: “07.05.1939. A radio broadcast (5.00pm) announces that Count Ciano and von Ribbentrop have examined in Milan the general situation and have decided to strengthen the Axis with a political and military pact to help the peace”. Sent to His Holiness. Returned by him 08.05.1939.
(3) According to the official report of the Milan meetings on 06-07.05.1939 between Ciano and Ribbentrop the following decision was reached regarding the Pope’s project for a conference: “It was arranged to thank the Pope for his initiative and to request him at this time to desist from appealing to the five Powers. As stated by Count Ciano, the Duce has rejected any discussion about the Italian-French question before a conference”. (DGFP, Series D, Volume 6, n341, p374.
(4) See ADSS 1.29.
ADSS 1.35 Notes of Fr Joseph Hurley, Secretariat of State (1)
Reference: AES 2778/39
Location and date: 09.05.1939
Summary statement: Conversation with Fr Hurley and A S Rogers, Secretary of the US Embassy to Italy. (2)
Mr Rogers, Secretary of the American Embassy at the Quirinal, called this evening on Fr Hurley to ask for information regarding the news published by the New York Times today saying that the Holy See proposed a Five Power Conference (France, Italy, England, Germany, Poland) to settle all the problems that at present trouble the relations between Germany and Poland and between others of the Great European Powers. (3)
Having guessed the purpose of the visit, Fr Hurley had already asked for instructions. He was then able to answer that, as was to be expected, the Holy Father follows with great concern the developments of this painful situation in Europe, and has already several times taken the opportunity to maintain peace. The activity of the Holy See’s Representatives in various capital, which has been noted in the last few days by the newspapers, could be explained I this way, but the news that His Holiness has invited the European Powers to attend a Conference in the Vatican City is not true.
Mr Rogers mentioned that an intervention of the Holy See to call a Peace Conference would meet with general approval in Washington and in the United States and would offer the hope of a happier future to a world worried by the danger of war. As the Holy See is above all questions of material interests which put the nations one against the other, it is perhaps the only Power which could be trusted for its impartiality. Even the nations which are not directly interested in the European disputes, as for example, the United States, are more or less involved in the ideological conflict which divides Europe and are, for that reason, not qualified for the task of peacemakers. Mr Rogers added that the Italian Government and people would be very pleased if such a conference should take place in the Vatican.
In the following more general conversation, Mr Rogers stated that the Head of the Italian Government told M. Gafencu that the difference between Italy and France are not such as to lead to a war. (3) Several times the Duce repeated: “We have not yet signed a military pact with Germany”. The Romanian minister had the clear impression that Mussolini wanted his words to be conveyed to the French Government, which he did not fail to do.
A great difficulty according to Rogers, is created by the present attitude of France towards Italy. France has taken an intransigent attitude and does not want to move from its position. After the Milan meeting between Ciano and von Ribbentrop, French circles in Rome and newspaper in France, thinking that a final decision had been reached, say that there is nothing else to do. The British, on the contrary, attribute to this meeting a less tragic meaning by saying that the Milan meeting has hardly changed the situation. (4)
I the end, Mr Rogers begged Fr Hurley to keep the Embassy informed about any eventual initiative of the Holy See, if possible. Fr Hurley promised to ask for instructions in the matter.
(1) Joseph Hurley (1894-1967) priest of Cleveland Diocese, Ohio. Worked at the Secretariat of State 1934-40 with the responsibility for drafting all documents of the Secretariat. Appointed bishop of St Augustine, Florida in 1940. Some claim he had a major falling-out with Cardinal Maglione over papal policy with regard to the Church’s official response to the fascist powers.
(2) I have been unable to locate any information on A S Rogers.
(3) Grigore Garencu (1892-1957), Romanian Foreign Minister 1939-40. During a visit to Rome he was received officially by Ciano on 30.04.1939 and Mussolini on 01.05.1939.
(4) Galeazzo Ciano (1904-1944), Italian Foreign Minister met with his German counterpart, Joachim Ribbentrop (1893-1946) in Milan between 6-7.05.1939. At this meeting Ciano, speaking for Mussolini, gave the German government its agreement to enter into a military pact. Mussolini was hesitant about supporting Germany’s more aggressive stance and sort to create distance by having Ciano report that Italy would not be ready for war until at least 1942. Ribbentrop surprised the Italians by saying the same for Germany.
ADSS1.34 Stanislaw Janikowski, counsellor and charge d’affairs, Polish Embassy to the Holy See (1) to Luigi Maglione, Sec State.
Reference: AES 2600/39.
Location and date: Warsaw 09.05.1939.
Summary statement: The Polish Government’s ideas on the situation at present and Polish policy.
In pursuance of our conversation on the 13th of this month [sic] I am pleased to send your Eminence the enclosed note. I do not need to point out the strictly confidential character of this communication.
PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL
Summary of the conversation between His Excellency the Apostolic Nuncio in Poland and the Foreign Minister which tool place at Warsaw on 9 May 1939. (2)
Speaking with His Excellency the Nuncio on 9 May and after having pointed out the non-official character of this personal contact I have expressed the opinion that the incomprehensible lack of courage on the part of Italy has created acute difficulties in the present international situation. I have added, strictly privately that the visit of Ciano in Poland made me feel slightly disappointed. (3) I told His Excellency the Nuncio that having constantly looked after the Italian interests regarding their dealings with Berlin I could not, nevertheless, fail to note a visible fear to be shown by Ciano every time the German problem came up during talks. That is why these talks could not go beyond the limits of feeling and courtesy.
I have never had the intention to undermine the politics of the Axis, but I believed that as regards the problems of Eastern Europe Italy could have shown a little more of their own political thought. I expected, even o the part of Ciano, some appreciation, perhaps more marked on this subject. But I was completely disappointed.
One could perhaps avoid the separation of Europe into two hostile blocs if Italy had [sic] shown more decision in the affairs of Eastern Europe in this case she would certainly have had Poland as a partner.
I have consequently underlined the fact that the “last bridges have not yet been burnt” and this thanks to our attitude with regard to the Anglo-Russian discussions. This attitude has provoked a limitation of British engagements with regard to Russia and it is the Polish policy, which has made it possible not to draw Russia into the game.
I have requested His Excellency the Nuncio to inform the Holy Father confidentially that during the course of talks in London I expressed myself as follows: The Anglo-Polish drawing together is only a measure of prevention against the war, whereas the promise of Russia already plainly signifies a war policy. (4) I believe that in order to choose the latter there is still plenty of time.
(1) Stanislaw Janikowski (1891-1965), Counsellor and Charge d’affairs, Polish Embassy to the Holy See 1937-39.
(2) Filippo Cortesi (1876-1947) Nuncio to Poland 1936-47; Jozef Beck (1894-1944) Polish Foreign Minister 1932-39.
(3) Galeazzo Ciano (1904-1944) Italian Foreign Minister 1936-43, visited Poland between 26.02 and 01.03.1939. Ciano visit was welcomed by many as a hoped for sign of Italian support for Poland. They were to be bitterly disappointed as Beck points out.
(4) On 31.03.1939 Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain made a public declaration that Britain would support Poland in the event of attack.