Sunday, August 28, 2016

ADSS 1.193 Tacchi Venturi to Pius XII: Italian neutrality

ADSS 1.193 Pietro Tacchi Venturi to Pius XII

Reference: AES 6368/39

Location and date: Rome, 07.09.1939

Summary statement: Declaration of 01.09.1939 is a formal statement of Italian neutrality; cannot see what would make Italy abandon it.

Language: Italian


Statements made to me by Ciano on 6 September 1939, to be communicated to His Holiness in the name of the Duce. (1)

1. The declaration made by the Council of Ministers on Friday last, 1 September, is equivalent to a true and proper declaration of neutrality.

2. this declaration remains firm and it is Mussolini’s intention that is should remain thus until the end of the conflict which could possibly be in a few weeks, that is, after the end of the war against Poland.

3. It is not humanly possible to foresee the events which could force Italy, notwithstanding the present resolve to remain neutral, to adopt another policy instead.

The Minister assured me also that he would keep on standing by neutrality, as he has done so far; he confirmed it was true that the Signor Starace (2) and X are for Italian participation in the war; he expressed his feelings of filial devotion to the Holy Father and he assured me that today he would speak to his father-in-law to obtain the release of Professor X.

(1) Tacchi Venturi, Agenda: “6 September, at 17.45hrs audience with Ciano”.  Ciano wrote in his diary, under the same date, “Tacchi Venturi brings the Pope’s wish for peace, and the maintenance of Italy’s neutrality”. Diario, p160.

(2) Achille Starace (1889-1945), Secretary of the National Fascist Party 1931-39.  He was widely regarded as l’oca – a goose, and even described as un cretino – a cretin, by Mussolini.

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