Saturday, October 24, 2015
ADSS 1.127 Tardini notes: telegram for Poland under draft
ADSS 1.127 Domenico Tardini, notes.
Reference: AES 6817/39
Location and date: Vatican, 26.08.1939
Summary statement: Telegram to Poland being drafted. Mussolini is trying to stop Hitler moving to war.
09.00. The Holy Father gave me the text of the despatch to be sent in code to Warsaw. (“if Poland made some concession regarding Danzig, a way to east the tension could be opened …”) (1)
11.30. The Italian Ambassador calls. (2) He tells me that the Foreign Minister (3) is doing his utmost to induce Mussolini to make Hitler understand the difficulty of following him in a war. The Ambassador mentions a telegram prepared yesterday by Ciano, which at first Mussolini did not want to sign. Then – the Ambassador infers from the improved news appearing in the newspapers – he signed it. Attolico (4) then, would take up from there. The Ambassador admits that the present difficulties to unhitch oneself now, because for one thing Italy would remain isolated and in a difficult position. He insists that one must work on Poland (5). I assured him that the Holy See is doing everything possible.
(1) ADSS 1.128.
(2) Bonifacio Pignatti (1877-1957), Italian Ambassador to the Holy See 1935-39.
(3) Galeazzo Ciano (1903-1944), Italian Foreign Minister 1936-43.
(4) Bernardo Attolico (1880-1942), Italian Ambassador to Germany 1935-39. Later Italian Ambassador to the Holy See 1940-42.
(5) See DDI, Series 8, Volume 13. The day before Attolico had urged Ciano to pressure Mussolini to intervene with Hitler. “Situation is … very grave … Only a direct personal action by the Duce on the Fuhrer can bring results.” N236, p 157. Attolico had already telegraphed that, if Poland did not give in, war was inevitable. DDI, series 8, Volume 13, n214, p 139.