Sunday, April 19, 2015

ADSS 1.27 Osborne to Domenico Tardini: British reply to conference project

ADSS 1.27 D’Arcy Osborne, UK Minister to Domenico Tardini, Sec State.

Reference: AES 2386/39

Location and date: Rome, 06.05.1939.  Rec’d 18.30.

Summary statement: First British reply to conference project.

Language: English


1. The preliminary reaction of Mr Chamberlain and Lord Halifax is one of warm appreciation of the courage and faith displayed in the Pope’s initiative.

2. It is understood that the purpose underlying the suggested conference is to afford an opportunity for discussion of the questions of Danzig and Franco-Italian relations.  In these matters His Majesty’s Government are not immediately concerned as principals, and would therefore desire, before returning an official reply to the Vatican, to have an opportunity of exchanging views with the French and Polish Governments.  Lord Halifax would be glad to know whether these Governments have already been approached buy the Vatican and whether His Majesty’s Government are therefore at liberty to consult them.

3. He would also be interested to learn whether His Holiness had any ideas of suggestions as to where the suggested conference should meet, who would preside over it, and whether there were any question of its being held in Rome under Vatican auspices, i.e. presumably, in the Vatican City.

4. Lord Halifax also ventures to express the hope that His Holiness, when the project takes final shape, will have due regard to the position and feelings of the President of the United States.

5. A principle difficulty foreseen by Lord Halifax lies in the possible reactions of those who might detect in the proposed conference an introduction to what they would fear would prove to be another Munich Conference, and he hopes that, when the project matures, His Holiness will have particular regard to this danger. (1)

(1) This memo substantially reproduces Lord Halifax’s dispatch of 05.05.1939 to Orsborne.  Cf DBFP, Series 3, Volume 5, n380, pp435-36.

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