Sunday, August 16, 2015
ADSS 1.100 Osborne to Maglione: Message from Lord Halifax
Volume and Document Number: ADSS 1.100 D’Arcy Osborne, UK Minister to Holy See, to Luigi Maglione, Sec State.
Reference: British Legation 38/72/39; AES 5388/39 (BDFP Series 3, Volume 7, n23, pp23-24)
Location and date: Rome 17.08.1939
Summary statement: Osborne conveys a message from For Sec Lord Halifax.
Lord Halifax has instructed me to speak to you on the subject of the Secret Memorandum enclosed.
Regarding its first paragraph I must explain that I had expressed to Lord Halifax my personal conviction that your Eminence, with His Holiness’ authority, would always be ready to act in the interests of peace if an opportune occasion would present itself. (1) I think I was right?
In the second and third paragraphs Lord Halifax gives his ideas on the possible actions which would be open to the Holy See. But, in expressing these ideas, he has no intention of recommending an initiative on the part of the Hoy See. He limits himself to considering the question from an academic point of view.
The remaining part of the Memorandum contains information which Lord Halifax authorises me to impart to your Eminence on the recent conversation between Herr Hitler and Monsieur Burckhardt (2) and he orders me to insist with you on the point that this information be considered as absolutely secret because we must at any prince not compromise Monsieur Burckardt’s position.
(1) On 12 August, following an interview with Cardinal Maglione, Osborne telegraphed Lord Halifax to say that the Cardinal did not reject the idea that the Vatican may be used as an intermediary for an exchange of views. See DBFP, Series 3, Volume 6, n639, p675.
(2) Karl Jacob Burckhardt (1891-1974), League of Nations High Commissioner in Danzig 1937-39.