Truman Library, Myron C. Taylor papers

No. 929
Pope Pius XII to President Truman1

Your Excellency: We wish to express Our satisfaction at the gracious letter of May 14th, 1952,2 which Your Excellency, with [Page 2011] kind thoughtfulness, chose to address to Us and to consign to Us through the hands of the Honourable Myron C. Taylor.

In the said communication, Your Excellency reviewed in its most salient points, the origin, activities and termination of the relations which have existed between Us and the President of the United States of America.

As soon as you succeeded to the lamented President Roosevelt in the government of the Nation, Your Excellency entrusted to Mr. Taylor the charge of continuing that Mission which had been happily inaugurated six years previously, for the purpose chiefly of promoting peace among peoples and of alleviating the sufferings of the victims of the war.

We are grateful for that decision and for the messages of Your Excellency as likewise for the contacts had with the Honourable Myron C. Taylor.

Your Excellency’s letter refers to the “furore” of opposition to the relations between the Holy See and the United States of America, especially when Your Excellency manifested the intention of giving an official and permanent character to these same relations.

If opposition of such a nature cannot but be deplored, nevertheless it is difficult to believe that it represents the feelings of the majority of the American people, whose open-mindedness is disposed to much broader and more serene views.

It is scarcely necessary to point out once again that the relations of States with the Holy See are directed to the concord and happiness of peoples.

Such relations do not prejudice the liberty and the independence of the Church and of the State; rather they favour that reciprocal [Page 2012] respect and that mutual collaboration which are a source of peace, of prosperity and of well-being for all.

Therefore, there is not, nor can there be any plausible reason which militates against normal relations of Nations with the Holy See.

In fact, such relations have been entered into even by countries in which the principle of the “separation of Church and State” is maintained.

In this regard it may be recalled that in December 1941, following upon a suggestion of Mr. Harold H. Tittmann that his status be regularized by being invested with a diplomatic character appearing as such, the State Department at Washington communicated to the Holy See that Mr. Tittmann had been named by President Roosevelt as the Chargé d’Affaires of the United States of America. With the above qualification Mr. Tittmann continued to represent the United States of America for some years during the period which preceded the cessation of hostilities.

Nor are there lacking Nations which, though not having a Catholic majority nor even calling themselves Christian, nevertheless have a permanent diplomatic representation to the Holy See.

As Your Excellency is aware, the Holy See, following its traditional practice, has abstained and abstains from using any pressure for the establishment of diplomatic relations with the United States of America, leaving it to the competent organs to pursue their deliberations in perfect freedom.

We are gratified to have this opportunity of conveying once again the expression of Our appreciation of the work of the Honourable Myron C. Taylor and of the merits which he earned in the accomplishment of his Mission.

Invoking divine favours on Your Excellency’s person and work and on your great and noble country, We renew to you the sentiments of Our highest esteem and consideration.

  1. The source text was an enclosure to a letter of transmittal, dated July 15, from Monsignor Tardini to Taylor. (Truman Library, Myron C. Taylor papers) Taylor presented the letter to President Truman during a visit to the White House on Aug. 13. In a letter to Taylor of Aug. 14, Truman indicated that he favored the publication of another volume on U.S. correspondence and association with the Vatican. Truman also stated his belief that Pope Pius XII was “one of the greatest statesmen who has been in the Vatican during the past two hundred years” and that he was “really making a contribution to the peace of the world.” (Truman Library, Myron C. Taylor papers)

    Another copy of this letter was attached to a memorandum from President Truman’s Secretary, Matthew J. Connelly, to Dean Acheson, dated Aug. 18, in which Connelly asked, on behalf of the President, whether a reply was needed. He also requested that an appropriate draft be submitted if it was decided that a reply was needed. (711.11 TR/8–1852) Replying to Connelly in a memorandum of Aug. 21, Bruce said that, although the letter from the Pope did not require a reply since it did not invite one, he felt that the President, as a matter of courtesy, should acknowledge its receipt without addressing himself to any points of substance. Bruce also attached to the memorandum a very brief draft letter of reply along these lines. (711.11 TR/8–1852) No record was found in Department of State files or at the Truman Library that the President sent a letter of reply.

  2. Document 927.