500.CC/9–1844: Telegram

The Secretary of State to Mr. Myron C. Taylor, Personal Representative of President Roosevelt to Pope Pius XII

39. While the Department is not in a position to give a definitive answer to the questions raised in your No. 320, September 18, 5 p.m., the following observations are offered for your guidance and confidential information.

Admission to membership would be determined by the international organization and would probably require consent of the major powers including the Soviet Union. Original members not maintaining diplomatic relations with the Vatican State would in some instances probably oppose its admission and the question would be likely to raise political controversy in the United States. For these reasons it would seem undesirable that the question of membership of the Vatican State be raised now.

As a diminutive state the Vatican would not be capable of fulfilling all the responsibilities of membership in an organization whose primary purpose is the maintenance of international peace and security. In a number of cases diminutive states were refused admission to the League on this ground. Membership in the organization would not seem to be consonant with the provisions of Article 24 of the Lateran Treaty,10 particularly as regards spiritual status and participation in possible use of armed force. Non-membership would not preclude participation of the Vatican State in social and humanitarian activities of the organization nor impair its traditional role in promotion of peace by its moral influence.

Protection of the integrity of the Vatican as an independent state would not be increased by membership. Attack upon it could be dealt with by the organization under its powers with respect to threats to or breaches of the peace. Security action by the organization as so far contemplated would not be dependent on membership of the state threatened or attacked nor upon membership of the violating state.

  1. Signed at Rome, February 11, 1929; for text, see Treaty between the Holy See and Italy establishing the Vatican State, with Financial Convention, British and Foreign State Papers, vol. cxxx, pp. 791, 799.