Saturday, October 13, 2012

ADSS 7.53 Maglione notes on meeting with Osborne & Tittmann

As the year wore on and the diplomats inside the Vatican kept trying to elicit a positive response from Cardinal Maglione on the subject of a papal protest, both Osborne and Tittmann remained adamant that the pope should not be distracted by fears of Allied bombing of Italian cities.  Maglione tried equally as hard to elicit a promise of some sort for the protection of Rome and other Italian cities.  At the end, the Cardinal writes as though lamenting, that despite the expressions of Jewish gratitude for all the pope has done, Osborne still insisted the pope speak publicly against the extermination of the Jews.

ADSS 7.53 
Cardinal Maglione, notes

Reference: A.E.S. 6409/42
Location and date: Vatican, 14.12.1942

Summary statement:  Maglione communicates to Osborne that the Italian embassy announced the departure from Rome of the Italian military Supreme Command; he awaits an answer concerning the Germans. Osborne observes that the Pope is too preoccupied about the bombing of Italian cities. The Pope should protest against the massacre of the Jews.

Language: Italian


This morning I spoke with the English Minister (1) and, after, the Charge d’affaires of the USA (2) and I said to them: “Yesterday the Italian Ambassador communicated to me orally, but officially, that the Supreme Commander, Mussolini, and Military HQ have left Rome.(3)

 “I then asked Ambassador Guariglia if there are any German military leaders in Rome: if this is the case, I think they should also leave Rome. “Guariglia responded saying he would carry my question and suggestion to the Italian Government”.

I added; “In waiting for a response on this point I also ask you to bring the foregoing to the attention of your Governments”. (4)

The English Minister made the observation that his communications with the government were slow: it would be therefore good to entrust the Apostolic Delegate of London to inform the English Government. (I answered that I proposed to do this).

The English Minister then added that, although the Supreme Commander Mussolini and the General Staff are leaving Rome, the ministries will remain.

I answered that it would be dealt with, in the event, of civil offices, not military.

To Rome, I added, there are no, as far as I know war factories… ”.

“But there are the barracks, the troops…”

“In a city of one and a half million inhabitants it will be necessary to have troops in order to maintain public order!”

“The police are not enough?”

“I do not believe so.”

At this point the Minister delivered the attached letter to me, where it repeats the news that the policy of the English government expressed 19.01.1942 has not changed. (5)

I answered: If its Government had the evil intention to bomb Rome, I would try and find many excuses. But I believe in the good will of the Government of London and hope that it will take into consideration our valid reasons.

The Minister has pointed to the impression that the Holy See worries in a particular manner about Italian cities, when it speaks about bombing, because they are Italian.

I observed: firstly there are the most special reasons for Rome.  I reminded him of these (and I have not failed to repeat that if Rome was bombed, Holy See will protest); secondly, The Holy See has intervened against the bombing of civilian populations of Italian cities, because such bombings have happened.  The Minister must not forget that the Holy Father spoke against the bombing of unarmed populations on other occasions: when the English cities were bombed and all understood that the bombing of the English cities did not indeed escape the severe words of the Holy Father. (6)

The minister recognised the justice of my observation [about the Pope speaking against bombing cities] and then exclaimed:  But why does the Holy See not intervene against the terrible massacres of the Jews?  

I recalled that the Holy Father had already spoken in his messages that the right to life, to a peaceful existence and sharing of the goods of the earth belong to all people of every race and confession.  

And one cannot ignore how much the Holy Father has done to help the poor Jews.  They know this and frequently thank the Holy See. 

The minister insisted on this point:  he would have the Holy See intervene to stop the massacre of the Jews.

Cross References:

(1) Sir Francis D’Arcy Osborne
(2) Harold Tittmann
(3) ADSS 7.52
(4) Tittmann referred the cardinal to the note of the United States government passed by him via the Minister in Bern.  See FRUS 1942.3 p796.
(5) ADSS 5.208 – concerning bombing of Rome
(6) Cf Homily 24.11.1940, ADSS 4.177, 191; Christmas Address 24.12.1941, ADSS 5.172

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