File No. 763.72119/1326
The Ambassador in Italy ( Page ) to the Secretary of State
[Received (February 17?), 3 p.m.]
1423. In conversation with Baron Sonnino this morning he expressed great satisfaction at coming of our military commission. Spoke of strong moral support our sending troops Italy would have.
Talked informally of Vatican position on peace moves and on clause 15 of the secret treaty just published here.1 He says he hears the Vatican has taken some sort of steps to try and get Germany to take some action, at least, regarding Belgium which will affect President Wilson’s views. The Vatican has just printed the secret treaty with interpellations and discriminations [declarations?] on clause 15 in the British House of Commons and Italian Chamber and with notes substantially charging falsehood in denials of existence of pact to exclude Vatican from action touching peace. Sonnino expressed view which he has always held that the admission of the Vatican to peace council would raise very embarrassing questions and that internationalization of Vatican would produce troublesome results and diminish spiritual power of Pope. He is evidently very desirous President’s view should prevail with us and in my judgment his views on this point are sound. He declares that Italy did not expel the Central Empires’ representatives at the Vatican; they left on their own accord after the Royal Italian Government had given its assent to their remaining. He mentioned that the approaching Socialist conference in London will ask that internationalist Socialism shall be represented at the peace council board and he expressed a hope that only the governments of belligerents would be represented. Any other arrangement will, he thinks, produce endless confusion.