Thursday, October 6, 2016
ADSS 1.245 Francesco Borgongini Duca (1), Italy, to Luigi Maglione, Sec State
Reference: AES 759/40
Location and date: Rome, 27.01.1940
Summary statement: Italian Foreign Minister, assured the nuncio that Italy will not go to war; various matters.
At the end I asked him ex abrupto if the news of a military intervention of Italy next February was true. The Minister promptly and without thinking about the words replied: “Rest assured Italy will not go to war” and added this reservation: “At least as long as it depends on me …” (2).
(1) Francesco Borgongini Duca (1884-1954), Nuncio to Italy 1929-53.
(2) Galeazzo Ciano (1903-1944), Italian Foreign Minister 1936-43.
ADSS 1.244 Luigi Maglione, Sec State, to Paolo Giobbe, Netherlands
Reference: Telegram 16 (AES 496/40)
Location and date: Vatican, 15.01.1940
Summary statement: Rumours of an imminent German offensive against Holland or the Maginot Line (France).
Received coded telegram 25 (1). In answer to enquiry from Diplomat here reply was given that there are rumours of an offensive taking place towards the middle of February or even before either against Maginot Line or Holland. It has been added that it is not possible to check the substance of such rumours. Your Excellency, in giving this reply to Foreign Minister (2), should request him to handle subject with greatest circumspection.
The Diplomat referred to in Monsignor Giobbe’s telegram must be the Belgian Ambassador (3). Following instructions from his Government, he inquired on 12.01.1940 and received the exact same reply reproduced in today’s telegram to Monsignor Giobbe.
(1) ADSS 1.243
(2) Eelco van Kleffens (1894-1984), Dutch Minister for Foreign Affairs 1939-46.
(3) Adriaan van Nieuwenhuys (1877-1952), Belgian Ambassador to the Holy See 1939-46.
ADSS 1.243 Paolo Giobbe, Netherlands, to Luigi Maglione, Sec State.
Reference: Telegram 25 (AES 496/40)
Location and date: The Hagues, 14.01.1940
Summary statement: Holland fears German invasion.
Minister Foreign Affairs (1) here informs me that he has received communication from Diplomat to Holy See that the Vatican is aware of an imminent invasion of Dutch territory by German troops. Dutch government would be obliged if you could obtain prompt confirmation of news of other information (2).
(1) Eelco Nikolaus van Kleffens (1894-1983), Dutch Foreign Minister 1939-46.
(2) ADSS 1.239
ADSS 1.242 Luigi Maglione, Sec State, notes
Reference: AES Germany 774
Location and date: Vatican, 10.01.1940
Summary statement: Hungarian ambassador reported UK and French gov’ts are anxious over Holy See and secret dealings with Germany.
I received the visit of His Excellency the Minister of Hungary (1). He tells me that Great Britain and France are anxious because the Holy See is dealing secretly with the Germans. To my query he replies he was informed about his by the French Ambassador to the Holy See (2).
(1) Gabriel Apor (1889-1969) Hungarian Ambassador to the Holy See, 1939-44.
(2) Added by hand: “Sent note immediately to the Holy Father who called the British Minister in the next day.” There were secret negotiations in progress for the visit of German Foreign Minister, Joachim Ribbentrop, to the Holy See. See ADSS 1.254 n1.
ADSS 1.241 Luigi Maglione, Sec State, to Clemente Micara, Belgium
Reference: Telegram 23 (AES 495/40)
Location and date: Vatican, 09.01.1940
Summary statement: German invasion of Holland expected for mid-February.
Following coded telegram 64 (1) I inform Your Excellency that news from sources which seem reliable (2), give mid-February or even before as highly probable date of offensive against Holland.
Your Excellency is requested to use this information very cautiously and eventually in turn request extreme caution.
(1) ADSS 1.239
(2) See for example Llwellyn Woodward (1962) British Foreign Policy in the Second World War, HSMO, London, p34.