No. 931
Pope Pius XII to President Eisenhower1

Your Excellency: It was with pleasure that We received the letter which, in date of May 18th,2 You directed to Us through the personal good offices of the Honorable Myron Taylor.

The delicate references that You have made to the fifteenth anniversary of Our elevation to the Supreme Pontificate and to the recent illness, with which God was pleased to visit Us, come as a manifestation of sentiments in Our regard, which We in a special way appreciate.

We would, therefore, convey to You, Mr. President, the expression of Our gratitude for Your good wishes. Such sentiments on the part of Your Excellency are all the more welcome, in that they [Page 2014] have served to mitigate in Our mind the unfortunate impression caused in these latter years by certain occurrences. We make mention of them in view of the opportunity offered to disclose Our mind by the very courteous letter of Your Excellency and We are, moreover, well aware that the responsibility was not Yours for the circumstances to which We allude.

It is not so much the manner We wish to mention, with which some years ago the bureau of the Personal Representative of the President of the United States was closed, without the slightest notification being given to Us, but rather principally the campaign of injurious attacks against this Apostolic See, especially at the moment when an Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador was designated to be accredited to Us. We would have expected, on that occasion, that qualified persons would have recalled certain elements of public opinion to a due respect by noting the absolute correctness of the Holy See, from whom there was not the slightest suggestion of interference in the matter. And when, furthermore, We would have recently wished that it should have been permitted to Our Secretariat of State to be able to continue to treat with the State Department the already long-protracted question of some war damages, it was not without surprise that We learned of the refusal interposed by the same State Department to the mere acceptance of a Memorandum replying to their own formal communication. We do, however, feel assured, Mr. President, of Your comprehension and it suffices to have made this brief reference to such occurrences.

We have appreciated Your mention of the contribution of this Apostolic See to the maintenance of peace in the world. It is indeed to the high purpose of this peace, as Your Excellency well knows, that We have always directed Our aspirations; and just as We left nothing undone to avoid the outbreak of the second World War, so after the awful conflict have We made every effort to favor the creation of an effectively peaceful coexistence of peoples, founded on the basis of divine law and of moral values. To the establishment of such an international order a great part of Our activity has been dedicated and to collaboration in this effort We have repeatedly invited all Godfearing men of good will.

Your Excellency has not failed in making public declaration of Your will to labour for the attainment of peace, and in this latest letter You re-affirm Your noble intention. We formulate Our best wishes for You in this lofty undertaking, Mr. President, while We invoke upon You the guidance and comforting strength of Almighty God.

  1. The source text was attached to a memorandum of July 8, not printed, from President Eisenhower to John Foster Dulles, in which the President stated that the letter from the Pope had just been forwarded to him by Myron Taylor. He also asked the Secretary of State whether he thought any reply was indicated to the paragraph beginning, “It is not so much the manner”. In his reply of July 9, Dulles said that he had discussed the President’s question with Smith and Murphy, both of whom he noted were Catholics, and that they had suggested that the best thing was for one of them to speak informally about the matter with the Apostolic Delegate in Washington. A handwritten notation in the margin reads, “Pres. concurs.” (124.65A/7–854)
  2. Supra.