Tuesday, February 17, 2015

ADSS 10.429 Cicognani (USA) to Sec State - Hungarian suffering

Reference: Telegram 2544 (AES 190/45)

Location and date: Washington DC, 02.01.1945 @ 18.14 (Rec’d Rome 03.01.1945 @ 13.00)

Summary statement: North American gov’t is doing everything it can to help relieve the suffering of the Hungarians.

Language: Italian


Further to my telegram number 2508 (1), the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (2) has replied to me as follows:

“The Department of State shares with the Holy See the same thoughts towards possible measures taken to reduce the suffering civilians caused by military operations.  Given that the Hungarian theatre of the war is a place where the United States of America does not have a representative, we do not have any means of directly controlling the emerging news.  But I assure your Excellency that the Foreign Ministry and the representatives of this Government abroad will do their best to alleviate the suffering of the civilians in Hungary and in other places.” (3)

(1) ADSS 10.413.

(2) Edward Stettinius (1900-1949), Secretary of State 1944-45.

(3) Cicognani was asked to try again (Telegram 2076 of 03.01.1945, AES 1057/45): “so that every avenue is tried in order to get civilians evacuated out of Budapest”.  Cicognani was responsible for communication “without delay, in the name of the August Pontiff, to ask the President to intervene, if possible, on behalf of the unarmed civilians exposed to the danger of death.” 

Cicognani (Telegram 2544, 04.01.1945, AES 1058/45) replied: “I have made an immediate appeal”. 

A similar telegram was addressed to Cesare Orsenigo, Nuncio in Germany (Telegram 1128, AES 7056/45) on 03.01.1945 that he should propose “with great urgency this humanitarian project to the [German] Government in order that it be investigated and implemented and save many lives.  As is known evacuations in similar situations were implemented in some cities on the French Atlantic coast.” 

Orsenigo replied on 12.01.1945 (Telegram 407, AES 1059/45): “As I reported in Telegram 1128 of 03.1.1945, the Foreign Ministry pointed out that an identical proposal was made by the International Red Cross to which the German Government has already responded.”

Meanwhile President Roosevelt replied to Cicognani with much the same terms already communicated in documents 10.413 and 429.  (Telegram of Cicognani number 2571 of 31.01.1945, AES 1061/45). 

Finally on 26.02.1945 Cicognani (Report 544/45, AES 2126/45) sent this confidential reply of Joseph Clark Grew (1880-1965), acting Secretary of the Department of State:

“The American ambassador in Moscow has reported that Mr Molotov, when presented with the concerns of the Holy See and the President with regard to the civilian population of Budapest, expressed his full sympathy on the issue but noted that the Germans did not want to discuss affairs of the kind. Mr Molotov believed that the fact that Soviet forces were now occupying three quarters of the city, while the Germans were making stubborn efforts to remain in the rest of the city, any agreement along the lines suggested appeared to late, as he would have drawn the attention of his government to the same problem.”

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