The Chargé in Germany (Gordon) to the Acting Secretary of State

No. 2522

Sir: In continuation of despatch No. 2508 of June 30, 1933,82 I have the honor to report that the initialing of a Concordat between the Holy See and the Reich was announced on the evening of June 8 in an official communiqué which reads in translation as follows:

“The Reich Concordat was initialed at 6 o’clock this evening by Vice Chancellor von Papen and Cardinal-Secretary of State Pacelli.”

Simultaneously, Chancellor Hitler issued the following decree:

“The conclusion of the Concordat between the Holy See and the German Reich Government seems to me to furnish sufficient guaranty that the Reich citizens of Roman Catholic faith will from now on place themselves unreservedly in the service of the new National Socialist state.

“I therefore decree:

  • “1. The dissolution of those Catholic organizations which are recognized by the present treaty and whose dissolution took place without instruction from the Reich Government is to be immediately rescinded.
  • “2. All compulsory measures against priests and other leaders of those Catholic organizations are to be repealed. A repetition of such measures is in future not permitted and will be punished in accordance with the existing laws.

“I am happy in the conviction that an epoch has now been concluded in which unfortunately all too often religious and political interests came into apparently inextricable conflict.

“The treaty concluded between the Reich and the Catholic Church will serve, in this field as well, the establishment of that peace which all need.

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“I entertain the strong hope that the settlement of the questions affecting the Protestant faith will shortly happily complete this act of pacification.

Signed Adolf Hitler.”

The Department will note the convenient distinction made concerning anti-Catholic action undertaken “without instruction from the Reich Government.”

The text of the agreement—the first Concordat between the Holy See and the entire Reich as such—is to be published here at the time of signature, which is expected to take place in two or three weeks.

Respectfully yours,

George A. Gordon
  1. Not printed.