740.0011 European War 1939/31287

The Apostolic Delegate (Cicognani) to the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

No 492/42

My Dear Mr. Welles, His Eminence, the Cardinal Secretary of State, 1 has just informed me that, continuing its previous efforts2 to spare Rome the destruction occasioned by aerial bombardment, the Holy See has made representations to the present military government of Italy in order to have Rome recognized as an open city.

Subsequently to these representations, the new Italian government advised the Cardinal Secretary in writing, on July 31st, that it has decided to declare Rome an open city. It has furthermore requested His Eminence to ascertain the essential conditions which will be imposed by the Allies before the aforesaid declaration will be accepted. I shall be honored to transmit the reply of the United States government to this inquiry.3

With sentiments of esteem [etc.]

A. G. Cicognani

Archbishop of Laodicea
Apostolic Delegate
  1. For earlier papers concerning the protection of Rome and the Vatican City, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. ii, pp. 910938.
  2. Welles informed Cicognani on August 4, 1943, that the questions involved in this letter had been “submitted immediately to the consideration of the highest appropriate authorities of this Government”. (740.0011 European War 1939/31287)