Sunday, July 19, 2015

ADSS 1.75 Cicognani to Maglione: resumption of peace initiatives in Washington

ADSS 1.75 Amleto Cicognani, Apostolic Delegate USA, to Luigi Maglione, Sec State

Reference: Report 366/39 (AES 4632/39)

Location and date: Washington, 27.06.1939

Summary statement: Resumption of peace initiatives in Washington.

Language: Italian


I take the occasion of my visit to Rome to hand to your Eminence this documented Report, which I could not have safely sent by post, about the exchange of views on the endeavours made by the Holy See and by the President of the United States of America on behalf of the peace of the World, an exchange which has taken place through this Apostolic Delegation by means of coded telegrams.

On 14 April 1939 Monsignor Ready, Secretary General of the National Catholic Welfare Conference (1), gave me the message coming from Under Secretary of State, Welles (2), on behalf of the President of this Republic (3), who asked for the Holy Father’s support for the appeal for peace made by the President himself to Hitler and Mussolini; I passed this message to your Eminence with coded dispatch No. 267 of 15 April. (4)  I have the honour to enclose a copy of the Memorandum left with me by Monsignor Ready covering his conversation with Mr Welles (enclosed). (5)

As soon as I received your Eminence’s reply contained in the coded dispatch No. 135 of 18 April, I asked Monsignor Ready to communicate its contents to the President. (6) The Under Secretary of State replied to Monsignor Ready with the letter of 20 April which is also enclosed. (7)

In observance of the instructions given to me by your Eminence with the telegram of 10 May (8), I instructed the Reverend Howard J. Carroll, Vice-Secretary of the NCWC (9), who was in charge during the absence of Monsignor Ready, to communicate orally to Mr Welles the Holy See’s message, which I asked Fr. Carroll to read (enclosed) (10), but did not leave with him.  Mr Welles received Fr. Carroll on 16 May, and I have the honour to send to your Eminence the report of that interview (enclosed) (11).

Mr Welles expressed some reservations on the statement that the international European situation seemed to have become less tense; he evidently was referring to the request of territorial concessions made by the German and Italian Governments which had at that moment caused a crisis and which, although they had not in fact provoked an armed conflict still remained in their substance as an element and a constant threat in the European situation, and could finally lead to the dreaded conflict.  In addition, the reply given by Hitler and Mussolini to President Roosevelt’s message, and the comments, which have appeared in the press of the two Nations on this subject, could not fail to keep the Washington Government in a state of anxiety, which had motivated the said message.

My telegram No. 277 of 19 May (12), regarding the news coming from Rome that the Vatican had exchanged messages with the Washington Government on the international political situation was prompted by a request for information on the subject made by the Washington correspondent of the London Daily Mail to the News Service of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, and by an American newspaper to Count Fumasoni Biondi, Stefani News Agency Correspondent in Washington; following the denial given by both the State Department and this Apostolic Delegation, the news, as far as I know, was not published by the Press here.

(1) Michael Joseph Ready (1893-1957), Secretary of the National Catholic Welfare Conference (USA) 1931- 44
(2) Benjamin Sumner-Welles (1892-1962), Undersecretary of State 1937- 43
(3) Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945), President of the USA 1932- 45
(4) ADSS 1.10
(5) ADSS 1.9
(6) ADSS 1.13
(7) ADSS 1.14
(8) ADSS 1.38
(9) Howard Joseph Carroll (1902-1960), Assistant General Secretary of National Catholic Welfare Council, 1938-1944; General Secretary 1944-1957.
(10) ADSS 1.44
(11) ADSS 1.45

(12) ADSS 1.49

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