Saturday, December 19, 2015

ADSS 1.143 & 148 Tardini notes: Pius XII sends Tacchi Venturi to see Mussolini

ADSS 1.143 Tardini, notes.

Reference: AES 6078/39

Location and date: Vatican, 28.08.1939

Summary statement: The Pope authorises Fr Tacchi Venturi to see Mussolini again.

Language: Italian


His Holiness gives permission to send Fr Tacchi Venturi (1) in his name to Mussolini to exhort him to o the utmost for the preservation of peace and, at least, to keep Italy out of the conflict. (2)

(1) Pietro Tacchi Venturi (1861-1956), Jesuit with close contact with Mussolini.

(2) ADSS 1.148.

ADSS 1.148 Domenico Tardini, notes

Reference: AES 6826/39

Location and date: Vatican, 29.08.1939

Summary statement: Tacchi Venturi’s meeting with Mussolini.  Mussolini suggested: return Danzig to Reich; negotiations for use of Danzig and the Corridor and the status of minorities.

Language: Italian


At 12.10hrs, His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State has instructed Fr Tacchi Venturi to go to Mussolini (1) and say to him:
1. that the Holy Father was very pleased about his efforts for keeping peace;
2. that he begged him to intensify his efforts in consideration of the increasing danger.
His Eminence has added a few considerations of his own about the situation in which Italy would find herself – so exposed from the sea – in the case of conflict with France and England.

At 17.00hrs Mussolini received Fr Tacchi Venturi (2). The Head of the Government was very please with the task entrusted to Fr Tacchi Venturi.  He reaffirmed that it is necessary to work for peace, observing also that a war could verily be the end of the present civilisation.  Germany is now stronger than she was in 1914 (when it was necessary to call on the entire world to overthrow her) and it would therefore be very difficult to conquer her.  He thinks there is still a way to solve the present difficulties, that is the one written by himself o the attached sheet.  Mussolini would beg the Holy Father to send a message to the Polish President through the Nuncio to tell him that His Holiness, having addressed himself to all the Heads of State in his speech by radio in the shadow of a danger growing graver every moment, and prompted by his great love for Poland, thinks it opportune to address himself personally to the President of the Polish Republic to suggest examination of the said proposal.  Mussolini thinks that Hitler should and would accept this solution.  Should he not accept he would have everybody against him and Poland would be in a very strong position. (3)

Enclosed: Note written personally by Mussolini.

Appendix. Mussolini’s personal note.
Poland does not oppose the return of Danzig to the Reich and asks to deal directly with Germany:
a) on the facilities for the Polish traffic in the port of Danzig.
b) on the Corridor
c) on the respective minorities.

(1) Tacchi Venturi’s Diary records his interview with Cardinal Maglione occurring at Noon.
(2) Ibid. Tacchi Venturi gave the time of his meeting with Mussolini at 17.00.
(3) Mussolini had known since mid-August at the latest of Germany’s intention to take not only Danzig and the Corridor, but the whole of Poland. Mussolini was also aware of Italy’s treaty obligations with Germany as part of the Axis and while relieved that Italy would not be drawn into a war with Poland, was equally aware that any reneging of the Axis agreements cold well draw a dangerous response from Hitler, the more powerful partner.

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