121.840 Welles, Sumner/142b: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Italy (Phillips)

66. For Welles: United Press reports from Rome that German peace proposals said to have been given you and termed “far from satisfying the desires of the Allies” are 11 in number. Matthews in New York Times says the 11-point proposals are the terms of Hitler’s original peace proposals as they were understood in high Vatican circles, that you discussed with Pope Pius the German peace proposals “which the Pontiff had heard from Ribbentrop and Mr. Welles from Herr Hitler. On the Pope’s side there was unwavering insistence that injustice be rectified and on the Under Secretary’s side there was the reserve necessitated by the fact that he has no power to commit the United States or President Roosevelt, and the knowledge he had gained in London and Paris that the Allies would not accept such a peace.”

In view of the interpretations and rumors about your tour, it is suggested that you issue immediately the following statement: “In order to lay the flood of rumor about my mission I want to state categorically that I have not conveyed any peace proposals or plans to or from any belligerent, nor am I bringing back to the President any such proposals. My mission has been solely one of gathering information for the President and Secretary Hull as to present conditions in Europe.”