Wednesday, July 8, 2015
ADSS 1.62 Borgongini Duca to Maglione: Ciano - Germany will not attack Poland
ADSS 1.62 Francesco Borgongini Duca, Italy, to Luigi Maglione, Sec State
Reference: Report 6967 (AES 3819/39)
Location and date: Rome, 14.06.1939
Summary statement: Interview with Italian Foreign Minister who affirmed that Germany would not attack Poland.
Yesterday evening the Minister for Foreign Affairs, who greeted me even more courteously than usual, received me at Palazzo Chigi. (1)
Before I could start to speak he asked me to convey to the Holy Father his feelings of admiration and devotion. He always thought that His Holiness Pius XII would be a great Pope and he sees this feeling confirmed every day. The audience granted to soldiers’ returning from Spain (2), and other pontifical actions (the Minister did not specify them) made a very good impression him and are settling many issues. “Even in Germany I could see during the last few days that relations between Reich and Church are improving. I myself, although without an instructions from you or from my Chief (3), tried to carry out a persuasive action with the Heads, there, especially with Himmler, the Police Chief, who shows understanding for the tact and prudence of the Holy Father.
“Himmler’s newspaper Schwarz Corp [sic] since the accession of the Holy Father, has no longer attacked the Church”.
Regarding the international situation, the Minister asked me to let the Holy Father know that in his opinion there is no danger of war in the next six months, as Germany had no intention of attacking Poland (this he affirmed in the most explicit manner) and in six months things can be settled so as to maintain a peaceful state even for years.
The only danger, according to his opinion, came from Poland, who, afraid of being attacked, could commit a folly at any moment, with irreparable consequences for all. He added: “Poland listens to the Pope; therefore His Holiness should try to persuade Poland to act wisely.”
I have repeated his words, I think, almost ad litteram.
The rest of the document concerned matters related to the city of Rome.
(1) Galeazzo Ciano (1903-1944), Italian Foreign Minister 1936-43. Palazzo Chigi (1562) was the official residence of the Foreign Minister 1916-61. Today it is the official residence of the Prime Minister.
(2) On Sunday 11.06.1939 the Pope granted an audience to a Spanish military mission, accompanied by General Gambara. L’Osservatore Romano 12-13 June 1939.