Sunday, May 10, 2015

ADSS 1.34 Stanislaw Janikowski to Maglione: Polish response to current tensions

 ADSS 1.34 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.

Language: French


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.


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.

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