Monday, July 17, 2017
ADSS 1.272 Maglione - notes on Italian situation
ADSS 1.272 Luigi Maglione, Sec State, notes
Reference: AES 2822/40
Location and date: Vatican, 20.03.1940
Summary statement: Dino Alfieri, Italian ambassador, reported on the meeting between Mussolini and Hitler; respective positions remain unchanged.
The Italian Ambassador informs me that the conversation between Hitler and Mussolini at the Brenner Pass (the meeting was requested by Hitler and lasted two and a half hours) has not modified their respective points of view (1).
The conversation consisted mainly in a “tour of the political horizon”. Hitler again mentioned the forthcoming offensive, and declared ghimself once again certain of victory.
The subject of peace was not mentioned (2).
Count Ciano remained under the impression that Hitler was less intransigent than usual.
Count Ciano himself asked the Ambassador to tell me that he remains firm in his well know policy.
He must, naturally, act with prudence on account of the Duce’s temperament and personality.
But he is no more worried than before.
(1) Dino Alfieri (1886-1966) Italian Ambassador to the Holy See 1939-40 wrote a report to Italian Foreign Minister, Galeazzo Ciano, that evening giving an account of the meeting with Maglione. His impression was that the Vatican was preoccupied by the event without exaggerating its importance. See DDI, Series 9, Volume 3, n596, p522.
(2) See DDI, Series 9, Volume 3, nn503-07; DGFP, Series D, Volume 9, n1. In these documents Hitler speaks about the war he intended to wage against the Western Powers, but he did not insist on Italy’s immediate entry into war. Ciano wrote in his diary: “As far as we are concerned the meeting has not substantially changed our position”. Diario, Volume 1, p 239.