The Secretary of State to the Irish Minister ( Brennan )
The Secretary of State presents his compliments to the Honorable the Minister of Ireland and has the honor to refer to his note of March 15, 1944 containing a message from the Irish Prime Minister to the President of the United States. The message was delivered to the President and he has requested that the following reply be made to Mr. de Valera:
“I have received through your Minister your recent communication concerning the danger which now threatens the city of Rome. I share your concern for the preservation of that ancient monument of our common civilization and faith.
“It is well known that American military authorities in Italy are committed to a policy of avoiding damage to religious shrines and historical monuments to the extent humanly possible in modern warfare. This applies to the city of Rome as well as to other parts of Italy where the forces of the United Nations are engaged in active fighting. We have tried scrupulously—often at considerable sacrifice—to spare religious and cultural monuments and we shall continue to do so.
“However, in addressing an appeal to the Government of the United States to preserve Rome from destruction, you are, of course, aware that the Germans, occupying the Italian capital by force, are using to the limit of its capacities the communication network and other facilities of Rome to further a purely German military operation. If the German forces were not entrenched in Rome, no question would arise concerning the city’s preservation.
“I note that you have sent a similar communication to the German Government. The fate of Rome rests in that quarter.”