Friday, June 5, 2015

ADSS 1.42 Orsenigo to Maglione: vague responses from German gov't

ADSS 1.42 Cesare Orsenigo, Germany, to Luigi Maglione, Sec State

Reference: Report 27.282 (AES 2597/39)

Location and date: Berlin, 13.05.1939

Summary statement: Orsenigo’s conversations with Weizsäcker and vague reply regarding the Pope’s initiative.  Press attacks against Poland. Relations with the Church.

Language: Italian


I hasten to complete my coded message Number 325 of yesterday to your Eminence, I which I reported the conversation I had with Dr Weizsäcker, Secretary of State at the Foreign Office. (1)

From the whole conversation, during which very little new information was conveyed to me, I think one must deduct that its only purpose was to delay, with a veiled gesture of courtesy, the true reply which is still awaited.  Besides I detected a certain effort to convince me of the moderation of the German claims to Poland which he, however, did not state, and at the same time to show me the covetous aspirations of certain Polish circles, that – at least according to certain newspapers of that country – set their eyes even on Königsberg, and dream of field battle, naturally victorious at the gates of Berlin.

I listened to all this with great calm and then – in order to underline that a further and more precise reply was expected – I thanked the Secretary of State for the invitation that he would send to me for another talk with von Ribbentrop, expressing my best wishes for the Minster’s prompt recovery.

The German Press still keeps absolute silence about the conversation of the Apostolic Nuncio at Berchtesgaden; Dr Weizsäcker pointed this out to me, criticising at the same time the loquacity of the American and especially of the British newspapers which, according to him, were the first out with the news of the Pope’s initiative and, with a comment more biased than sincere, expressed his regrets that such a noble initiative had been exposed to the comments of the public before it had been crowned with success.

The German newspapers – even today – persist with the anti-Polish propaganda, reporting oppressions against the Germans living in Poland; I enclose a few clippings.

Dr Weizsäcker then spoke, with an intonation which seemed new to me, about the outstanding issues between State and Catholic Church, hoping for a pacifying clarification in the near future.  The same expressions of hope are a times voiced by other members of the Government; there is, however, an opposing current which seems to become more fierce, probably to counteract this new tendency of the moderate wing.  The Holy Father’s initiative on behalf of peace has, also in this respect, influenced public opinion favourably. (2)

(1) See ADSS 1.40.
(2) The original report carries a notation by Domenico Tardini: 21.05.1939 – handed to me by the Holy Father.

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