865.413/31

The Irish Minister ( Brennan ) to the Secretary of State

The Minister of Ireland presents his compliments to the Honorable the Secretary of State and has the honour to request that the following [Page 1286] message, received from Prime Minister de Valera, be transmitted to President Roosevelt. The message is also being sent to the Heads of State of the other belligerent powers concerned:

“As Head of the Government of a State whose citizens in a great majority belong to the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church, I think it my duty to express on their behalf the deep distress which they feel—a distress shared by three hundred million Catholics throughout the whole world, at the danger now threatening the city of Rome, and at the absence of any measures by the belligerent powers to ensure its safety. It is clear to all that if the city is to be militarily defended by one side, and by the other attacked, its destruction is inevitable.

“The destruction of this holy city, which for almost two thousand years has been the seat of the sovereign authority of the Catholic Church, and contains the great central temples of Catholic religion and the great central seminaries and libraries of Christian faith, would be a major calamity for the human race, robbing man for all time of the noblest memorials of his supreme religious and cultural heritage, whose origins teach of our Divine Saviour, Jesus Christ. Millions of Catholics would risk their lives to save these memorials, symbols of eternal things which alone give meaning to human life.

“I request you to listen to the voice of millions from every land praying the belligerents to seek, through appropriate intermediary channels, an agreement by which Rome may be saved.

“Future generations will forget the military considerations which may now seem to dictate the occupation or possession of Rome; but should the city be destroyed, the fact of its destruction will be remembered forever. So, too, should the city by agreement be spared, future generations will remember with enduring gratitude those States and their leaders who will have preserved for the ennoblement of mankind this great centre of Christian faith and civilization.”