Monday, September 19, 2016
ADSS 1.219 Tardini to Osborne: Holy See and Poland - August 1939 - summary
ADSS 1.219 Domenico Tardini, Secretariat of State, to D’Arcy Osborne, UK Minister to the Holy See
Reference: AES 8223/39
Location and date: Vatican, 16.11.1939
Summary statement: Details of the approaches of the Holy See to the Polish government. Jozef Beck’s reply.
Language: Italian and French
I have the pleasure of sending to Your Excellency the enclosed note regarding document No. 72 (p. 124) of the book: Documents concerning German-Polish relations and the outbreak of hostilities between Great Britain and Germany on September 3, 1939 (1).
As Your Excellency can see from the note, M. Beck (2) did not send the communication suggested by Mr H Kennard (3) to the Holy See.
On 26 August the Cardinal Secretary of State communicated to the Nuncio (4) in Poland the following proposition, suggested to the Holy See by a responsible source: “that the Polish Government should declare its willingness utterly to reprove all ill treatment of Germans on Polish territory in return for a similar German undertaking with regard to Poles on German soil.” (5)
The Warsaw Nuncio received this telegram at 22.00 the same evening.
On 27 august the Nuncio replied as follows (19.00):
1. The Foreign Minister, M. Beck, fears that a declaration such as that being asked for would merely be used buy the German Government as an admission by the Polish Government of the alleged ill-treatment of the Germans in Poland.
2. He suggests rather that the Holy See should invite the two Governments to bring to an end the unrest being caused by the minorities question in their respective countries. (6)
(1) Documents concerning German-Polish relations and the outbreak of hostilities between Great Britain and Germany on September 3, 1939, HMSO, London.
(2) Jozef Beck (1894-1944), Polish Foreign Minister 1932-39.
(3) Howard Kennard (1878-1955), UK Ambassador to Poland 1937-39.
(4) Filippo Cortesi (1876-1947), Nuncio to Poland 1936-47.
(5) ADSS 1.133
(6) ADSS 1.136