701.6266A/2–746: Telegram

Mr. Franklin C. Gowen, Assistant to the Personal Representative of President Truman to Pope Pius XII, to the Secretary of State


17. Department’s 2, January 18.47 Re German ex-Diplomats now Vatican Montini48 discussed matter with me today expressing opinion it would be well if we could officially inform Holy See that on return to Germany they will be permitted to reside in localities indicated Vatican’s note December 22 (my despatch 485, December 25)49 under Allied supervision and pending interrogation. He said that suicide in Germany of Kocher, German ex-Minister to Switzerland, has greatly alarmed these Germans and made matters more difficult. He said unless they can be officially assured prior to repatriation that family units will not be separated and that they will be permitted to reside places indicated and allowed seek gainful employment their anxiety and nervousness especially regarding ultimate fate women and children would continue to make it still more difficult for Vatican to induce them to depart. He repeated these Germans are destitute, in poor [Page 808] health generally and fearful lest they be delivered to Soviet authorities. He feels that in view peculiar attending circumstances which unavoidably place Vatican in difficult position these assurances would seem plausible and if forthcoming might bring about desired repatriation not as a concession but as speedy and practical solution to have Germans leave Vatican but believes this cannot now be accomplished unless foregoing general conditions can be met if possible. Please instruct.

Sent to Department as Amvat 17 repeated to Murphy as Amvat 2.

  1. Not printed, but see letter of January 19 to the Apostolic Delegate in the United States, p. 804.
  2. Msgr. Giovanni Batista Montini, Papal Under Secretary of State.
  3. Neither the despatch nor enclosed Vatican note printed. The Vatican in its note indicated that the repatriated Germans “would like to be authorized to cross into the different zones of Western Germany”. (701.6266a/12–2545)