Monday, January 25, 2016

ADSS 1.172 Papee to Maglione: Germany has invaded Poland

ADSS 1.172 Casimir Papee, Polish Ambassador to the Holy See, to Luigi Maglione, Sec State.

Reference: AES 6073/39

Location and date: Rome, 01.09.1939

Summary statement: Germany has attacked Poland

Language: French


Although Poland in agreement with Britain and France has taken part in the British initiative to safeguard the Peace by negotiations, the armies on German soil have penetrated Polish territory, while squadrons of German planes have carried out bombardment of several localities. (1)

Note of Cardinal Maglione (2)

At 13.30hrs on 1 September, the Polish Ambassador made the above official verbal communication to me adding that at 11.00hrs he had been informed by his colleague from Paris that last night [sic] the Germans had started air raids, bombing Gdynia and all the big Polish cities: Warsaw, Krakow, Bielsk, etc., except Vilna.  He assured me that the frontier crossings and aggressions attributed to Polish soldiers are non-existent.

(1) Germany launched its invasion of Poland at 04.45hrs.  Warsaw was bombed at 09.00hrs.  The extent of the invasion became clearer as the hours passed. 

(2) Maglione’s note was written at the bottom of Papee’s note along with his signature.

ADSS 1.171 Maglione, notes: request to publish Pope's peace appeal of 31.08.1939

ADSS 1.171 Luigi Maglione, Sec State, notes.

Reference: AES 6142/39

Location and date: Vatican, 01.09.1939

Summary statement: Charles-Roux, (France), D’Arcy Osborne, (UK) ask that the papal appeal of 31.08.1939 be published.  Osborne hints that the UK may declare war.

Language: Italian


Today at 12.30hrs the French Ambassador, M. Charles-Roux, called on me and asked if yesterday’s appeal to the Governments would be published. (1)

Having answered in the affirmative, the Ambassador suggested that the Holy See should comment on it, explicitly condemning the German attitude.  I replied that the document and the facts speak for themselves. (2)

At 17.45hrs the British Minister made the same request to me and I replied in the same way.

The British Minister told me also that the House of Commons would be in session toady and, in all probability, the declaration of war against Germany would be announced.

Having mentioned the Italian proclamation of neutrality – hoped for and predicted by me – I took the opportunity of suggesting that he should let his Government know that it is not advisable to prod Italy; not to get her involved.  He fully agreed and mentioned that he and the Ambassador to the Quirinal had already spoken in this sense to London.

Before taking his leave, he wanted to repeat that the Holy See had done “admirable work of conciliation” and in truth had done everything that could be done. (3)

(1) The Appeal of 31.08.1939 was published in L’Osservatore Romano on 01.09.1939.
(2) Charles-Roux in Huit Ans au Vatican p 334, said that the visit to Cardinal Maglione was about midday; to his renewed request for a protest the Cardinal replied, “The facts speak for themselves.” (Ibid) L’Osservatore Romano for 02.09.1939 said that Nazi aggression knew neither delay, ultimatum or declaration of war.
(3) D’Arcy Osborne (1884-1964), British Minister to the Holy See 1936-47, mentioned that he had personally requested this interview with Cardinal Maglione. DBFP, Series 3, Volume 7, n687, p495.

ADSS 1.170 Cortesi to Maglione: done as instructed

ADSS 1.170 Filippo Cortesi, Poland, to Luigi Maglione, Sec State.

Reference: Telegram number 37, (AES 6052/39)

Location and date: Warsaw, 31.08.1939

Summary statement: Instructions followed.

Language: Italian


Immediately coded message Number 47 (1) received passed on communication to Government with full statement as to motives and feeling Holy See.

Under-Secretary Foreign affairs in Minister’s absence took careful note, promising reply tomorrow (2).

(1) ADSS 1.166.

(2) Miroslaw Arciszewski (1892-1963), Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs 1938-39.

ADSS 1.169 Valeri to Maglione: war does not seem inevitable

Volume and Document Number: ADSS 1.169 Valerio Valeri, France, to Luigi Maglione, Sec State.

Reference: Telegram number 139, (AES 5879/39)

Location and date: Paris, 31.08.1939

Summary statement: Reply from London to Berlin has lessened pessimism.

Language: Italian


Following London reply to Berlin, official circles appear today less pessimistic regarding solution of conflict.

ADSS 1.168 Tardini notes: Germany is ready for war

ADSS 1.168 Domenico Tardini, notes.

Reference: AES 6833/39

Location and date: Vatican, 31.08.1939

Summary statement: France Ambassador believes the Italian gov’t has decided to go to war.  Romanian Ambassador says German General Staff are in favour of war after the German-Soviet pact.

Language: Italian


The French Ambassador (1) assures me that, according to news in his possession, the Italian Government has by now decided to enter the war on the German side.  The Rumanian Ambassador (2) informs me that, since the Russian-German Pact, the German General Staff are in favour of going to war, while before they were against it.  He, however, cannot positively guarantee this news, which was given to him as certain.

(1) Francois Charles-Roux (1879-1961) French Ambassador to the Holy See 1932-40.

(2) Nicholas Petrusco Comnene (1881-1958), Rumanian Ambassador to the Holy See 1939-40.