339. Telegram From the Secretary of State to the Department of State1

Dulte 8. Eyes only Hoover from Secretary. Secretary wanted you to have following on a personal basis. No further distribution.

“I was received by His Holiness at 12:30.2 He expressed satisfaction at seeing me and awareness of heavy load of responsibility I was carrying. He inquired about President and expressed concern at President’s illness.3 He said President had great influence which was very much needed in world. I expressed my happiness His Holiness had since recovered from illness and recalled concern which President had had when Pope was so ill.4 I was now able to tell Pope I thought President was in good way to recovery.

Pope expressed very vigorously his fear there was tendency now to blur over difference between Bolsheviks and those who believed in true democracy, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] I expressed awareness of that danger and indicated my talks here had, I hoped, done something to stem that trend. I explained we conceived “spirit of Geneva”5 was designed to exclude resort to war as means of settling our differences but it did not mean differences no longer existed.

I asked Pope whether he was familiar with President’s speech at Philadelphia, emphasizing peace was designed to give opportunity to redress from evils and injustices that now prevail.6 Pope said he was familiar with that talk and very much agreed with it. He said of course we wanted peace and he had often spoken out for peace. Pope said when he talked about peace, he never excluded necessity for adequate means of defense.

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I said I myself tried always to couple notion of peace with that of justice. Pope emphatically agreed with concept of a just peace with love and charity and justice, and this was kind of peace we should seek.

[1 paragraph (7½ lines of source text) not declassified]

I inquired about conditions in satellite countries—Poland, Hungary, etc. Pope said conditions there were very bad. He also said they were bad in Yugoslavia. I said I shared Pope’s view with respect to internal conditions in Yugoslavia. I said United States assistance to Yugoslavia did not imply moral approval of what Tito stood for within Yugoslavia. However, there had been break with Moscow, and that was all-important first step which we felt we could properly encourage. Question of internal reform was second stage.

[1 paragraph (5½ lines of source text) not declassified]

On several occasions His Holiness said “I hope I am not talking too frankly.” I said that was certainly not case and what I had hoped to gain from audience was just such frank expression of Pope’s views.

Following interview, at which only two of us were present, we went into outer room where photographs were taken.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 110.11–DU/10–2555. Confidential. Secretary Dulles was in Paris, October 23–26, to attend a meeting of the North Atlantic Council. He went to Geneva on October 26 and participated in the meetings of the Foreign Ministers of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and the Soviet Union, October 27–November 16.
  2. In Dulte 2 from Paris, October 2, Secretary Dulles reported that his conversation with Pope Pius XII took place at Castel Gandolfo, Italy, on October 23. (Department of State, Central Files, 110.11–DU/10–2355) A copy of Dulles’ memorandum of this conversation, October 23, is in the Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, General Memoranda of Conversation. This meeting with the Pope occurred at the conclusion of the Secretary’s 2-day visit to Italy; see Documents 88 ff.
  3. President Eisenhower suffered a heart attack on September 24.
  4. The Pope had been seriously ill as a result of gastric trouble in late 1954.
  5. Reference is to the feeling of détente that followed the meetings of the Heads of Government (Summit Conference) of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and the Soviet Union at Geneva, July 18–23.
  6. For text of the President’s speech before the American Bar Association at Philadelphia, August 24, see Department of State Bulletin, September 5, 1955, pp. 375–378.