740.0011 European War 1939/33218

The Apostolic Delegate at Washington ( Cicognani ) to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: Following my previous letters on this subject I wish to say that I have been informed by the Cardinal Secretary of State4 that in the course of another aerial bombardment bombs fell for the third time, and in large number, on the Papal Villa at Castelgandolfo killing many and causing grave material damage.

The building of the Propaganda College, in which many civilians from the neighborhood, women and children, sought temporary refuge, was also hit. This edifice, which belongs to the Holy See, not only adjoins the Papal Villa but is in part actually built on extraterritorial property. Precisely this section of the building was struck [Page 1275] and completely destroyed by bombs. Unfortunately the victims are numerous.

At the present time, due to the charity of the Holy Father, fifteen thousand homeless civilians, who were in abject misery, are living in the Villa or its environs. His Holiness even opened his official apartments to receive these poor people. All this places what has happened in a much more serious light.

The Osservatore Romano felt obliged to publish this sad news together with the necessary condemnation of the Holy See.

Again, the Holy See insistently requests that orders be issued to respect the extraterritoriality of Vatican properties.

With sentiments of esteem and highest personal regard, I remain

Yours very sincerely,

A. G. Cicognani

Archbishop of Laodicea
  1. Luigi Cardinal Maglione.