The Apostolic Delegate in the United States ( Cicognani ) to the Secretary of State

No. 171/44;

My Dear Mr. Secretary: According to a communication which has just come to me from the Cardinal Secretary of State, the Allied Military Police, on June 5th, placed under arrest Mr. Louis Wemmer and Mr. Albrecht von Kessel, respectively Minister Plenipotentiary and Counsellor of the German Embassy to the Holy See. Notwithstanding the repeated requests and remonstrances of the Holy See, [Page 1321] these diplomats have not yet been released.72 His Eminence instructs me to bring this matter to the attention of the United States Government and to stress the gravity of this infraction of international law and the need of the prompt release of the above-mentioned officials.

I would add, for your confidential information, that the German Embassy to the Holy See has already lodged vigorous protests with the office of the Cardinal Secretary of State for this violation of diplomatic immunity,73 and the German Government has likewise remonstrated with the Apostolic Nunciature in Berlin, asking the urgent intervention of the Holy See in order to secure the immediate liberation of the diplomats in question.

With assurances of my sentiments of high personal regard and with every best wish I am

Sincerely yours,

A. G. Cicognani
  1. In Note 80176, June 5, 1944 (not printed) the Papal Secretariat of State had requested that the American Chargé (Tittmann) intervene with Allied authorities for the release of Ludwig Wemmer who had been arrested at 7:45 a.m. The following day a similar protest was lodged in Note 80309 (not printed) against the arrest of the German Counselor, Albrecht von Kessel. The Papal Secretary of State (Cardinal Maglione) stated that he could not believe that members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See could receive treatment contrary to their diplomatic status, respect for which the Holy See could not fail to defend.
  2. The Swiss Legation, representing German interests in Washington, lodged official protests with the Department of State in memoranda dated June 20 and July 14, 1944; neither printed.