740.00116 European War 1939/527½: Telegram

The Minister in Switzerland ( Harrison ) to the Secretary of State

3576. From Tittmann.1 No. 128, July 30. In recent reports to the Department (my despatches Nos. 79, 85, 86, 87, and 88,2 and my letter to Dunn of July 173), I have called attention to the opinion that the failure of the Holy See to protest publicly against Nazi atrocities is endangering its moral prestige and is undermining faith both in; the church and in the Holy Father himself. I have on a number of occasions informally reminded the Vatican of this danger and so have certain of my colleagues but without result. The answer is invariably that the Pope in his speeches has already condemned offenses against morality in wartime and that to be specific now would only make matters worse.

Yesterday the Brazilian Ambassador to the Holy See4 called on me to inquire whether I would be prepared to join in a concerted (not collective but rather simultaneous) démarche to persuade the Pope to condemn publicly and in specific terms the Nazi, atrocities in German-occupied areas. Monsieur Accioly said that he had already received the necessary instructions from his Government for him to take part in such a démarche and was endeavoring to enlist the cooperation of the representatives of Great Britain, Poland, Belgium, Yugoslavia and as many Latin American countries as possible. The Belgian Ambassador has already agreed and the British Minister and Polish Ambassador are telegraphing for instructions. The Polish Ambassador tells me furthermore that he is under the impression that his Government may have recently made soundings in the above sense among certain Allied Governments.

While I doubt very much that the Pope can be moved to take the [Page 773] desired action I cannot see that the démarche could do any harm and I believe it would serve to reinforce the individual reminders that have heretofore been made.

If the Department feels that it is desirable that I take part in such a démarche I would appreciate receiving instructions at an early date. [Tittmann.]

  1. Harold H. Tittmann, Assistant to Myron C. Taylor, President Roosevelt’s Personal Representative to Pope Pius XII. Mr. Tittmann was in charge of affairs while Mr. Taylor was in the United States.
  2. None printed.
  3. Not printed; James Clement Dunn was Adviser on Political Relations.
  4. Hildebrando Pompeu Accioly.