Sunday, August 28, 2016
ADSS 1.191 Montini & Tardini; notes: Italian neutrality
ADSS 1.191 Giovanni Montini, Domenico Tardini, Secretariat of State, notes.
Reference: AES 6388/39
Location and date: Vatican, 05-06.09.1939
Summary statement: Italian neutrality uncertain. Pope sent Tacchi Venturi to Mussolini to plead for neutrality.
This morning Don Clemente Principe Aldobrandini (1) told me in confidence that he has had occasion to see Minister Ciano and he has learned that Italian neutrality is still very uncertain. Minister Ciano and the Under Secretaries of War, Navy and Air (2) are in favour of neutrality, while the Head of Government and Minister X, are in favour of going to war on Germany’s side. (3) The news of the first German successes against Poland has reawakened the Duce’s bellicose spirits, after he had been restrained with difficulty by Minister Ciano, who hoped to be able to let the “Rex” and other two transatlantic ships sail in three days’ time (the sailing of the “Rex” is also announced by the shipping company), and in this way puts an obstacle to the start of hostilities.
The article that appeared in Popolo d’Italia on Monday evening, 4 September, is considered to have been written by Mussolini or certainly inspired by him.
Handwritten note by Domenico Tardini:
After this note – sent by Monsignor Montini – the Holy Father (today at 0900hrs) asked Fr Tacchi Venturi to come and see him and instructed him to see Mussolini and to congratulate him – in the name of His Holiness – for all he has done for peace and to advise him to continue in the same manner, keeping Italy out of the conflict. (4)
(1) Don Clemente Principe Aldobrandini (1891-1967), Duke of Sarsina and Carpineto. The Aldobrandini family were leading members of the Black Nobility and would have been mostly likely well known to the Pacelli family.
(2) Ubaldo Soddu (1883-1949) Under Secretary of War 1939-40, Domenico Cavagnari (1876-1966) Under Secretary of the Navy 1934-40, Giuseppe Valle (1886-1975) Under Secretary of the Air Force 1933-39. All three were removed from their positions by Mussolini for various “failures” chief of which appeared to be a lack of belief in the Duce’s vision for a new Roman Empire.
(3) Not identified.
(4) Tacchi Venturi, Diary entry for 06.09.1939: “… at five minutes past eight in the morning I went to Castel Gandolfo, having been called there buy the Holy Father. I returned at 09.45hrs”. “At 17.45hrs audience with Ciano”.