ADSS 1.277 Giovanni Montini, Secretariat of State, notes.
Sunday, July 30, 2017
ADSS 1.277 Notes of Giovanni Montini, Secretariat of State: news from France
Reference: AES 3316/40
Location and date: Vatican, 08.04.1940
Summary statement: French Ambassador, Charles-Roux (1), has given assurance of the good intentions of the French government to the Holy See; but he has noticed a change in the Italian attitude; France prepared to negotiate. Internal situation in France.
His Excellency Charles-Roux, French Ambassador to the Holy See, returning to Rome after a short stay in Paris, says that he has see the Prime Minister, M Reynaud (2), who had assured him about the keeping of good relations with the Holy See and about ecclesiastical affairs.
He brings news about Cardinal Verdier who has had an operation and must shortly have a second one. His condition however is good and there is no cause for alarm (3).
Regarding the political situation he also noticed a stiffening of tone in the Italian
Press; and he mentions particularly, the Regime Fascista which published a violent leader against France (02.04.1940) and the Popolo d’Italia, no less insulting but with more authority (05.04.1940). He states that France is still ready to negotiate and to make a distinction between Fascism and Nazism, while Italy seems hostile to any discussion: Italy must already be planning to obtain from a vanquished or exhausted France those advantages which it is unable to obtain now through negotiations. To my remark that the proofs of the good intentions of France towards Italy are not well know to Italian public opinion, the Ambassador agrees that France would do well to clarify these good intentions.
On the Government position: the Radicals are convinced that they have made a mistake in overthrowing their leader, Daladier. It would be more logical, in fact, for the Socialists to join forces now with the other parties in an effort to get rid of Communism. He believes that the Socialists will be more loyal to the nation’s interests than to the interest of their Party (5).
(1) Francois Charles-Roux (1879-1961), French Ambassador to the Holy See 1932-40.
(2) Paul Reynaud (1878-1966), French Prime Minister, March-June 1940.
(3) Jean Verdier (1864-1940), Cardinal Archbishop of Paris 1929-40. Verdier died the following day, 09.04.1940.
(4) Edouard Daladier (1884-1970), French Prime Minister and Foreign Minister 1938-40.
(5) Compare this with the message of Raffaele Guariglia (1889-1970) Italian Ambassador in Paris 1937-40. See DDI, Series 9, Volume 4, n47, pp 33-34.