Tuesday, August 25, 2015
ADSS 1.107 Valeri to Maglione: positive reaction to Pope's speech
ADSS 1.107 Valerio Valeri, France, to Luigi Maglione, Sec State.
Reference: Report 8831/264, AES 5738/39
Location and date: Paris, 20.08.1939
Summary statement: Positive press reaction to Pope’s words. Fear of war grows; France resolved to defend Poland.
The moving words in favour of peace that the Holy Father pronounced yesterday on the occasion of the audience granted to the pilgrims from Venice (1) have been reported immediately by the French Press with great deference, with the exception of a few newspapers – decidedly in favour of war – as L’Humanitie and L’Ordre, which have put forward some reserves or insinuations, or as Le Populaire which did not even mention the news.
Unfortunately, the general situation, as your Eminence well knows, has taken a step for the worse in the last few days. The danger of an armed conflict seems to be getting nearer. To repeat a figure of speech used the other day by M. Charveriat of the Foreign Office, it is as if an over-excited individual were going around with a lighted fuse in a room full of dynamite: at any moment an explosion could take place. (2)
As far as France is concerned, its attitude remains still the same. The decision, as I have already reported to your Eminence, has been placed on Poland; if that Nation thinks their rights or territory has been infringed and believes that a military intervention is necessary, France will follow them. (3)
It is hoped, however, as the Holy Father said, that no Government would take upon itself such a grave historical responsibility.
(1) ADSS 1.105.
(2) Emile Charveriat (1889-1964) Political Director, French Foreign Office 1937-40.
(3) ADSS 1.84.