ADSS 1.229 Luigi Maglione, notes.
Saturday, September 24, 2016
ADSS 1.229 Maglione notes: Germany is considering Christmas truce
Reference: AES 9331/39
Location and date: Vatican, 17.12.1939
Summary statement: German embassy reply to Christmas truce proposal. Subject is under consideration. Also protested reports in La Croix about alleged German atrocities in Poland, Bohemia and Moravia.
The Counsellor of the German Embassy (1) informs me (16.00hrs) that his Government is studying the Holy See’s proposals for a Christmas truce.
He adds that the Ministry has informed the Embassy that the Nuncio (2), who has advanced another proposal regarding air bombardments, has not been informed or at least does not seem to have been informed about the present true proposal for Christmas. The Counsellor says it is natural that the Nuncio was not informed about the latest proposals of the Holy See, as this proposal was communicated confidentially. The Holy See wanted to sound the belligerent Governments.
I replied to the Counsellor that things were just as he thought. The Nuncio was not informed about the proposal of the Holy See for a Christmas truce because the step taken by me was confidential.
I also reminded the Counsellor that the other proposal (abstention from air bombardment of locations near churches at least during the hours of divine service) was about two months old; (that too is under consideration).
P.S. The Counsellor complained about La Croix, the main Catholic newspaper in France, concerning charges of German cruelties in Poland, cruelties in Bohemia, Moravia and even of the imprisonment of Cardinal Kaspar (said to have been in prison for fifteen days) (3). He left me an extract of a letter from von Neurath to von Bergen on this subject.
I replied that I was not aware that Cardinal Kaspar had been detained in prison.
(1) Fritz Menhausen (1885-1958), Counsellor to the German Embassy to the Holy See 1936-45.
(2) Cesare Orsenigo (1873-1946), Nuncio to Germany 1930-45.
(3) Karel Kaspar (1870-1941), Abp Prague 1931-41. Kaspar was repeatedly arrested and harassed by the German occupation forces for refusing to implement anti-Catholic decrees.
(4) Konstantin von Neurath (1873-1956), Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, 1939-43.