Sunday, May 10, 2015

ADSS 1.36 Notes of Maglione: conversation with Italian ambassador on meeting with Ribbentrop

ADSS 1.36 Cardinal Maglione, Sec State, notes

Reference: AES 2769/39 Personal note

Location and date: Vatican, 09.05.1939

Summary statement: Conversation between Maglione and Bonifacio Pignatti, Italian ambassador to the Holy See (1) about meeting in Milan between Ciano and Ribbentrop.

Language: Italian


The Italian Ambassador, on instructions given to him by Count Ciano immediately after his return from Milan where met von Ribbentrop (2) has given me the following information:

During the Milan meeting the Foreign Ministers of Italy and Germany have examined – with the greatest interest – the approach of the Holy See to the two Axis Powers, Great Britain, France and Poland, on behalf of peace.  The two Ministers, in joint appreciation of the intentions shown by the Holy Father in proposing a Conference of the above-mentioned five Powers, have observed the improvement which has taken place in the international situation and believe that a Conference of the five Powers would not be premature and, in any case, not necessary at present. (3)

Count Pignatti added that the Holy See’s step has, in his view, attained its aim in clarifying and improving the situation. 

He then informed me that von Ribbentrop expressed to Count Ciano the same appreciation regarding the relations between the Holy See and Germany that he had already expressed to His Excellency Monsignor Orsenigo during the conversation between the Nuncio and Hitler. (4)

(1) Bonifacio Pignatti Morano di Custoza (1877-1957), Italian Ambassador to the Holy See 1935-39.
(2) On 07.05.1939 Domenico Tardini (1888-1961), Secretariat of State – Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs (Vatican “Foreign Office”), informed the Pope regarding the Milan meeting in the following note: “07.05.1939. A radio broadcast (5.00pm) announces that Count Ciano and von Ribbentrop have examined in Milan the general situation and have decided to strengthen the Axis with a political and military pact to help the peace”.   Sent to His Holiness.  Returned by him 08.05.1939.
(3) According to the official report of the Milan meetings on 06-07.05.1939 between Ciano and Ribbentrop the following decision was reached regarding the Pope’s project for a conference: “It was arranged to thank the Pope for his initiative and to request him at this time to desist from appealing to the five Powers.  As stated by Count Ciano, the Duce has rejected any discussion about the Italian-French question before a conference”. (DGFP, Series D, Volume 6, n341, p374.
(4) See ADSS 1.29.

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