Editorial Note

On August 7 Under Secretary of State Webb discussed the question of representation at the Holy See with President Truman. The President felt the problem should continue to be studied and wanted to keep it before him for consideration and further talks with Secretary Acheson. On August 28 Secretary Acheson discussed the question with the President, stating that representatives of Protestant denominations wanted to see him about the problem. President Truman agreed that the [Page 1797] Secretary should see the representatives, but not argue the pros and cons of the question, “but merely to explore what was in their minds and give them the assurance that their point of view had been fully understood.” Memoranda of the two discussions with the President are in the Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversations: Lot 65 D 238: August 1950.

In a handwritten note dated September 1, 1950, drafted presumably by George M. Elsey, Administrative Assistant to the President, the following statement concerning representation was recorded: “Pres said informally in staff meeting he would not act on an emissary to the Vatican until after Nov. elections, & that he would refer the whole matter to the Congress then!” Under the date November 10, 1950, a second handwritten notation read: “On Williamsburg [Presidential yacht], Pres said he would handle this by nominating (to Senate) a Minister to the Vatican—& let Senate argue it out.” A copy of the paper containing these handwritten notes can be found in the George M. Elsey Papers at the Harry S. Truman Library.