Thursday, September 1, 2016
ADSS 1.211 Borgongini Duca to Pius XII: Italy will remain neutral
ADSS 1.211 Francesco Borgongini Duca, Italy, to Pope Pius XII
Reference: Unnumbered report (AES 7052/39)
Location and date: Rome, 28.09.1939
Summary statement: Nuncio has thanked Ciano for his efforts for peace. Assured by Commander Filippo Anfuso, Cabinet Chief, that Italy will not go to war.
This morning at 10.30 I was received by Minister Ciano (1) and I told him that the only motive for my visit was that of brining him the august and cordial thanks of the Holy Father for the work carried out up to now by him with diligence and efficiency in favour of peace and that His Holiness was hoping that he would continue to do everything possible for such a noble purpose. I added that Your Holiness deigned to give me this supreme mission just yesterday, a day when the international situation was becoming darker and darker. (2)
The Minister replied promptly asking me to tell Your Holiness that he was deeply affected by such high and fatherly encouragement and that he would not fail to fight for peace in general and in particular for that of Italy.
While he was speaking, Count Ciano was called urgently to Palazzo Venetia, and prepared to go.
After the Minister had left, I spoke with Commander Filippo Anfuso, his Cabinet Chief, to ask him, in case of military operations, to exempt the pontifical establishments of the Basilica of Loreto and Basilica of Padua from military and civil requisitions. (3)
M. Anfuso replied: “rest assured that there will not be any military operations. I can tell you in confidence that we cannot wage war because we have nothing and because the Italian people do not want it. Minister Ciano has carried out admirable work within this context”. Then he added: “Monsignor, where shall we find ourselves with this movement of the Russians and with the Germans spreading southwards? It is an anti-Christian movement and against our culture; we must go back to the barbaric invasions to find a historical comparison. In the meantime Poland, a Catholic State, is finished; unfortunately it was badly advised when it accepted war.”
This, Most Holy Father, is what was said to me this morning at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
(1) Galeazzo Ciano, (1903-1944), Italian Foreign Minister 1936-43.
(2) Warsaw surrendered to the German on 27.09.1939.
(3) Filippo Anfuso, (1901-1963), Chief of Staff Foreign Ministry 1938-42.